Caucus appoints Smiley to Milford Town Council

Kosciusko County Republican Central Committee Secretary Austin Rovenstine (R) swears in James Smiley to the Milford Town Council Tuesday. Photo by Jackie Gorski, Times-Union.
By Jackie Gorski

MILFORD — James Smiley was appointed to the Milford Town Council by a Republican caucus at Milford Town Hall on Tuesday night.

The position became vacant after Robert Cockburn resigned from the council effective Dec. 31.

Wednesday, Smiley went up against Joseph Shetler. Precinct committee members were Stephen Tucker, John Beer and Dr. Bruce Lamb.

Before voting occurred, Smiley and Shetler were given three minutes to speak to the caucus.

Smiley said his life changed on Sept. 25, 1999, when he was given a choice between alcohol and his wife and kids. He chose his wife and children. He turned his life over to God the next day and, “He showed me the way to sobriety and forgiveness.”

He taught his children that a good work ethic gets rewards. Smiley’s son started mowing lawns and Smiley taught both children how to budget.

“We think that’s the most important thing that’s overlooked” in people’s lives — what a budget is, he said. He believes “in being very conservative (about) money brought in for rainy days.”

He cares about Milford. One of the issues of concern he brought up was some town employees quitting recently with another employee thinking of quitting, he said. Smiley said he talked to those employees and the town has to wonder why the issue is occurring.

Smiley said he loves the town and wants to see it prosper. He thinks handling taxpayer money is the most important job of the town and the town should be very conservative with that money. He built his business on faith and honoring God and “it’s an honor every day.”

Shetler said, after some time praying about whether to file for the position, he said he thought he would be a good asset for the town. His involvement with the town started about 50 years ago.

He started a heating and cooling business. He was also the building commissioner for the town. After trying to close the business down, he and his wife did missionary work in Jamaica. After moving back from Jamaica, they moved into town.

Shetler said he loves being involved in the town. He serves on the board of the Milford Food Pantry.

He asked what brings growth to Milford. He said he believes it’s a welcoming community. He said the street department does a great job.

He said he sees his role on the council as listening to people. He didn’t want to change a lot of things if they weren’t broken.

After being elected to the council, Smiley said he wanted to make the area better for his kids. His priorities now that he is on the council is first to listen because “this is all new to me.” He said he will voice his opinion if it needs to be voiced.

“If I don’t agree, I will stand by what I’m about. A lot of people know what I’m about and that’s what I plan on doing,” he said.