4 vie for 3 spots in GOP council race
Four Republicans are seeking to advance to the General Election in November as three candidates for county council at-large. They are incumbents Gary Byrne, Jennie Engleman Capelle and Donnie Hussung along with former county councilman Richard Gerdon, who was a Democrat the previous time he served. The three top vote getters will face the three Democrat candidates: Rikki Megnin, Graylin Porter and John Resner. Below are Byrne, Capelle, Gerdon and Hussung’s responses to a questionnaire sent to them by this newspaper.
Name and residency: Gary Byrne, Georgetown
Family: Married to Angie for 37 years. We have three sons: Ryan, age 33 (wife Daisy Legei), Jordan, age 30 (wife Jordan Marie Corum) and Tyler, age 27. Richard and Nicholas Cashman have lived with us for the last five years after the loss of their parents. We also have four wonderful grandchildren: Rick, Avery, Henry and Temple.
Education/Occupation/Political experience: I graduated from North Harrison in 1979. Business owner of Byrne Satellite Systems since 1983. We handle residential and commercial sales and installation of satellite, surveillance, security, phone and networking systems. I also farm, raising cattle and hay. I was elected to the North Harrison Community School Corp. Board of Education in 2006 and 2012. I currently serve on the Harrison County Council at-large after being elected in 2016. I also serve on the Harrison County Economic Development Board, Harrison County Youth Advocacy Board and the Byrneville Cemetery Board. I served on the North Harrison Cal Ripken Baseball Board and was president for eight years. I coached boys’ basketball and baseball at North Harrison for 10 years. I am a member of the Farm Bureau and the National Rifle Association.
Contact information for voters: Phone 812-951-2950, cell 812-267-3808 and email [email protected]
Why are you seeking the office (100 words or less)? I am running for office to serve the community. My goal is to bring a common sense, limited government, and conservative approach to county government. People running for office often say they are conservative but once elected spend in ways that do not follow conservative beliefs. I will oppose crony capitalism and let free market principles work. I believe the best economic development is through low property taxes, and I view funding for existing road improvements and law enforcement services as top priorities.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents (150 words or less)? Of the three existing county council members running at large, I am the only one who opposed the new Lanesville road project costing taxpayers over $5 million and forcing residents to sell their property. The county took land owners’ property by eminent domain. I am the only council member at-large to publicly oppose eminent domain at Lanesville, as well as the new Watson Road project. I understand the importance of spending within a budget. I have opposed the overspending of riverboat money for the last three years. I have voted no to what I believe is unnecessary and overspending in many cases when the majority votes yes. I have a history of being conservative when spending taxpayer dollars while being on the school board and county council. I believe I am the most conservative candidate running for council and would appreciate the opportunity to be re-elected.
Name and residency: Jennie Capelle, Corydon, Harrison Township
Family: Husband Dan Capelle, married 25 years. Two daughters, Sidney and Macey. Daughter of Dick and Vicki Engleman.
Education/Occupation/Political experience: Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Master of Education, Building Level Administration Licensure; current director of College & Career Readiness for South Harrison Schools, past eight years high school administrator, four years elementary teacher. Prior to career in education, worked at Ford Motor Co. while attending college. Member of Corydon United Methodist Church and Corydon Rotary Club.
Why are you seeking the office (100 words or less)? I want to make Harrison County a place where families want to grow their family trees. I have a passion for the youth in our county. I have been a school teacher and administrator in Harrison County for the past 13 years. I want to be on the county council to make Harrison County a place where our children will someday choose to live and have successful careers. I am seeking re-election to the county council to serve our community.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents (150 words or less)? I was born and raised in Harrison County and can’t imagine raising my family any other place. Harrison County should be a place where families want to, and can, grow their family trees. I want to do my part to make Harrison County a place where people want to live, work, play and learn. I am a conservative and believe it is important that our elected officials are smart with our tax dollars. Public funds should be spent wisely and in ways that make a better future for our entire county. I have supported property tax relief, funding for countywide high-speed internet and increased road funding. I believe in public service and would be honored to serve again.
Name and residency: Richard Gerdon, Corydon
Family: Wife, Rilla Gilham Gerdon, of 42 years; sons, Brian (former Erin Reed) and Kevin (former Candace Saulman); six grandchildren, Porter, Emma, Isaac, Ava, Violet and Sawyer
Education/Occupation/Political experience: Graduate of Corydon Central High School/VP of Credit Administration at First Savings Bank in Corydon/8 years (2009-2016) as county councilman
Contact information for voters: 812-736-1139, [email protected]
Why are you seeking the office (100 words or less)? To work hard to prepare the county financially for loss of casino revenue or other unforeseen economic down-turns which translates into a lot less spending and a lot more saving.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents (150 words or less)? All of the candidates have something special that they can bring to the council. For me, it is 8 years of prior council experience. I understand the county’s economic structure and budget process and worked to complete large projects such as the government center and relocating the highway garage. I expect to retire at the end of the year, which will allow time to devote to the office. I have a proven record of listening to and working well with the public and all the departments of county government.
Name and residency: Donald (Donnie) J. Hussung, Lanesville
Family: Daughter, Erica Hussung; son, Corey T. Hussung (Bekah Hussung); son, Cody T. Hussung (Kacee Hussung); five grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and my dog, Edgar
Education/Occupation/Political experience: 1974 graduate of LHS; attended IUS and American Institute of Banking, officer with First Harrison Bank; 23 years on the Lanesville Community School Board, 16 as chair, former member of the Lanesville Town Council
Contact information for voters: 812-972-3201, email [email protected]
Why are you seeking the office (100 words or less)? As a former Jaycee, I still believe that part of their creed that says “service to humanity is the best work of life.” Community involvement is one more way to serve humanity. I feel that unless you are part of a solution, you shouldn’t complain about the problem. I believe that the experiences I’ve had contributed positively to the communities I have served, and I hope once again those experiences continue to allow me to make Harrison County the best place in Indiana to live, work and play.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents (150 words or less)? A wise man once told me the Lord gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. I believe we should listen a bit more than we speak. I commit to all residents of Harrison County to listen to all aspects of an issue and use what I hear to make the best decision for the county. I believe the resources we have should be invested in projects and concerns that will produce future benefits for the county. I have served for the past three years and have had the honor to serve as chair this past year. I have the experience and temperament needed to continue to help lead Harrison County forward, and I ask the voters of Harrison County to once again vote for me.