Mitchell Lauded For Her Knowledge, Work & Integrity At Reception

Kosciusko County northern district county commissioner candidate Sue Ann Mitchell (C) poses for a group photo with her family Monday night at a reception at the Zimmer Biomet Center Lake Pavilion. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union

It is because of Sue Ann Mitchell’s institutional knowledge, hard work and integrity that voters should elect her as the next northern district county commissioner, Indiana Sen. Ryan Mishler told the crowd at Mitchell’s reception Monday evening.

Mitchell, who currently serves as a Kosciusko County Councilwoman, is running in the Republican May primary for the commissioner seat. Incumbent Brad Jackson chose not to seek re-election this year. Mitchell’s opponents include Nathan Scherer and Marcia Baumgartner.

“When they asked me about doing something for Sue Ann, the first thing that came to my mind was ‘the person that knows everything in this county,’” Mishler said. “So what irritated me was when I see, ‘Oh, she’s been there too long. It’s time for somebody else,’ or ‘too old.’ I hate hearing those things. I just finished my 20th year in the legislature and I’m working more hours now than when I first started. So it’s not how long you’re in that position, it’s how hard you work. You can be in a position for 30 years and work just as hard as you did day one.”


Kosciusko County northern district county commissioner candidate Sue Ann Mitchell (R) speaks with Indiana Sen. Ryan Mishler (R-Bremen) Monday night at her reception at the Zimmer Biomet Center Lake Pavilion. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union

He said the thing that he liked about Mitchell is that she’s held every position in county government and she can give answers to questions about every single office.

“So, that’s called institutional knowledge. So, do we need young people? Yes, absolutely. …. But, you also have to have institutional knowledge to work with the new young people,” Mishler said.
He said people should be rewarded for their hard work and not be penalized or be spoken poorly about.

“So, I was very irritated when I saw some articles about being there too long because this woman knows more about county government than probably all of us combined. So that’s why I’m standing here,” Mishler stated.
He also spoke about how the second thing that comes to his mind when he thinks about Mitchell is integrity.

“Sue Ann doesn’t own a business. She has nothing to gain personally by doing this. She’s doing it because it’s her service, and that’s what we need more of. Because I will tell you, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to integrity. We all need a little improvement there. But this woman does not benefit from this job at all. It’s all about her service to the community,” Mishler said.

Jean Northenor, who said she’s known Mitchell since the mid-1970s, laid down three challenges.

“There is nobody in the political world in this county that can equal Sue Ann, and if anybody wants to challenge me with a name, I’d be glad to do it because there isn’t anybody. She knows that courthouse inside and out. And not only knows it, but she cares,” Northenor stated.  

Many of Sue Ann Mitchell’s accolades are displayed on a table Monday night at her reception at the Zimmer Biomet Center Lake Pavilion. Mitchell, a current Kosciusko County Councilwoman, is running for the northern district county commissioner seat as incumbent Brad Jackson chose not to seek re-election. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union

She also challenged anyone to find someone in Kosciusko County who cares more and does care more about county government than Mitchell.

“In my humble opinion, the county commissioners could use that. I think there is a place for Sue Ann in that board. Somebody who knows the courthouse, knows all of those offices and knows the reason, the absolute reason, for doing something as a commissioner,” Northenor stated.

The third challenge from her was, “I challenge, if anybody here wants to show me a name of a person who has done more for less in county government than Sue Ann Mitchell.”
In her comments, Mitchell shared her “thoughts and vision” on why she believes she is the best candidate for the northern district county commissioner.

“This is not something I decided easily. This is evident by the fact I changed my application when I changed from running for the council – withdrew – and changed to running for the commissioners position,” she said. “There were several issues that caused me to make that change, and it was not done without a great deal of thought. I have nothing to gain personally from serving as a commissioner, other than the satisfaction of trying to provide good government. I have no conflicts of interest that would put money in my pocket as I would not be transacting any personal business with the county.”

She talked about the different roles of the county council and commissioners, noting that the council is the fiscal body for county government.

The commissioners have a big job with lots to do as they are the legislative body for the county, setting policy, addressing land and zoning issues and enacting resolutions and ordinances as needed. The commissioners maintain all county buildings and are responsible for county roads and bridges.

“They are responsible for the budgets to accomplish all of those things they are responsible for,” she said.

Mitchell shared her own personal history and how it got her to where she is today.

She was born and raised in Anderson, graduating from Anderson High School.

At one time Anderson had three high schools. General Motors had a plant there and it was a booming town.

From the time she was 8 years old, Mitchell’s family had a trailer at Pinkerton’s Landing, which was a primitive campground on Dewart Lake.

When she was 19, her father died at age 54. Her mother had never worked outside the home so Mitchell became the “head of the household” and got a job in the office at GM, where her father had worked.

While employed with GM, she married her first husband, who died at 27. Mitchell was 24.
In 1970, she moved to North Webster, remarried and started a family. Everyone thought she had lost her mind for leaving GM, but she said it turned out to be the best decision she’s ever made. She introduced her children, stepchildren, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“I love the North Webster community. I learned the value of community service from my late husband Dick Mitchell, who died in January 2012. He was the inspiration to me and my children to give back to the community,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell served 15 years as an EMT on the ambulance as a volunteer, and public service was instilled into her family as they grew up.

She started with the Lady Lions in 1973, chairing events for many years. She currently serves on the North Webster Community Center Board of Directors as treasurer. Mitchell also discussed the many other community organizations she’s served with.
“I hope that history shows you my commitment to my community,” she said.

Positions she’s held in government over the years include deputy assessor for seven years, township assessor for 14, county assessor for four years, county auditor for eight years, treasurer for eight years and is finishing up her eighth year on the county council.

“I want to make something clear: I have never quit an elected term before serving my full commitment that I pledged to do when I took the oath of office,” Mitchell stated.
She’s comfortable that she can sit at the commissioners table and bring a great deal of knowledge and expertise on day one with no learning curve.

“I know there’s more to attending a meeting than just showing up. You have to go prepared. I understand … how to do the necessary research required to make good decisions for our county. I have a proven record of doing the necessary research and the issues to vote to do the right thing,” Mitchell said.

Other things she discussed during her comments were her accomplishments that benefitted the county financially, the awards she’s received and her priorities, with economic development always being a priority for her.

She reminded everyone that while she’s running for northern district county commissioner, every voter in the county votes on the position.

“I’m here because of principles and my belief that Kosciusko County deserves a transparent, honest and straightforward commissioner, and that is what I pledge to you,” she said.