Political veterans vie for commissioner’s seat
Two veteran Harrison County commissioners, Republican Jim Heitkemper and Democrat Terry Miller, square off for the District 3 county commissioner seat. Miller was unopposed in the May Primary, while Heitkemper defeated Jim Klinstiver. However, less than two weeks after the election, Klinstiver passed away and Heitkemper was chosen during a caucus to complete Klinstiver’s term. While commissioners represent their respective districts, they are elected by countywide vote.
Below are the candidates’ responses to a questionnaire sent to them by this newspaper.
Name and residency: Terry L. Miller, Elizabeth
Family: Married to former Tana Simpson 48 years; son, Travis (Alison); daughter, Desley Snyder (Gary); daughter, Noelle, senior at South Central High School; grandchildren, Trent and Claire Miller, Hunter and Kathryn Snyder
Education: 1968 graduate of South Central High School; veteran, U.S. Air Force 1970-1974; served a machinist apprenticeship with the L&N Railroad
Occupation: Retired; work part time at Elizabeth Water Utility and Simpson Farms
Political experience: County commissioner 1989-2002 and 2006-2010; Democrat county chairman 1993-1997; Taylor Township precinct chair
Contact information for voters: Cell, 812-972-4780; home, 812-969-2398; Facebook, Terry Miller For Commissioner 2018
Why are you seeking the office (in 100 words or less)? I am seeking the office of county commissioner because I have a fundamental belief that county government can be ran in an honest and fair manner that will benefit all citizens of the county. I will listen to the concerns of all individuals involved and try to make the best decision to address any problems. With the resources that Harrison County has at its disposal, it is disturbing to see how the county is spending our tax money.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponent (in 100 words or less)? The first thing that comes to mind is my independence. I’ll work for the people who reside in the county. I’m the candidate who is not controlled by a political party and other politicians. I have a record of always knowing issues inside and out. I’ll always vote for what is right and not be influenced by other politicians or individuals who are only interested in personal gain and getting re-elected. I’ve taken stands that seemed to be unpopular with some but have proven to be right over time. I’ll continue to work in this manner with taxpayers in mind.
What do you think are the top two issues facing District 3 and what would you do to rectify them (in 150 words or less)? Commissioners conduct business for the entire county but represent their district. No. 1: Roads and bridges need to be constantly maintained. Brush needs to be trimmed back and roads mowed for safety. No. 2: The way tax money is being spent is a county issue. There is a $235,000 firehouse that’s sat empty for the last two years in Taylor Township because the county wouldn’t listen to people who knew the area better than them. Recently, Harrison County has purchased 186 acres of land for the construction of two boat ramps. The cost of the land alone was $1.475 million. Who knows how much the final tab will be on these two projects, not counting extra people required to maintain these properties when finished. Spending is out of control in many areas of county government these days. I will do everything in my power to control this type of spending.
Name and residency: Jim Heitkemper, Elizabeth
Family: My wife, Sara, and I have been married 14 years. I have four adult children, and she has three adult children. We have 11 grandchildren.
Education: St. Mary’s in Lanesville, Floyd Central High School, economic development course from Ball State, Leadership Harrison County Class of 2000. Like many of you, I am a graduate of the “school of hard knocks.”
Occupation: Small businessman, owner and founder of Heitkemper Siding and Trim, and a farmer (cattle and grain).
Political experience: Served one term as county commissioner from 2003 to 2006 and two terms as an at-large member of the county council from 2009 to 2016. After several years out of office, I was chosen to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Jim Klinstiver, as commissioner for District 3. I have previously served on the Planning & Zoning Board, the Board of Zoning Appeals, Family & Children Board and the River Hills Community Development Board. I am a member of the Farm Bureau and the National Rifle Association.
Contact information for voters: [email protected], Facebook — Jim Heitkemper, 812-969-2123
Why are you seeking the office (in 100 words or less)? I love Harrison County. It’s a beautiful area and it’s a pleasure to work with people and serve the public. I believe I have the drive to solve problems, common sense and conservative values we need in county government. We need these traits in public service at every level of government. I’ll speak up for all areas of our county so one area is not prioritized above others and all parts of our county receive the attention and care they deserve. I understand how important it is that county government work together to get things done to benefit the public.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponent (in 100 words or less)? Teamwork is important in county government. Harrison County is a better place when we work together. Being the middle child of eight, I learned early how to work well with everyone and stand up for what I believe is right. I can’t stand injustice and will work to fix it. I am no stranger to hard work. My parents raised me to be diligent and hard working. Since I was a kid, I’ve always worked, farmed and ran a very successful home improvement business for over 30 years. I believe in the core conservative values that have made America great.
What do you think are the top two issues facing District 3 and what would you do to rectify them (in 150 words or less)? First, the county has many irons in the fire, including finishing Corydon-New Middletown Road and road projects north of the Lanesville interchange. It’s important to see these projects to conclusion before starting anything new. The ball started rolling on these many years, even decades, ago. Work on Corydon-New Middletown Road began and the Connector Road was planned before I was elected, yet they are only now nearing completion. Neither project was possible without federal and state money, for example over $10 million for the Connector Road alone. Second, I believe we need to better prioritize road funding. Right now, we use formulas to determine which roads are fixed. This prevents favoritism, like how roads of those with family connections were prioritized in old days. But formulas lack the human element of listening to the public. We need to focus resources wisely while still listening to the people.