Mitchell, Truex Newly Elected to County Seats

Kosciusko Republicans decided in Tuesday’s election to keep a couple of familiar faces on the board of county commissioners and county council while adding two new ones to the council.
There were no Democrats running in the May primary yesterday, though the political party could still name candidates for council or commissioners before the November general election.
Six Republicans sought the three county council at-large seats, with incumbent Bob Sanders (7,552 votes), county Treasurer Sue Ann Mitchell (7,952) and former Builders Association Executive Director Joni Truex (6,561) winning. The other candidates were 17-year-old Evan McKinley (4,492), county administrator Ron Robinson (6,058) and political activist Tressa Nichols (5,897).
Mitchell and Truex replace Larry Teghtmeyer and Jon Fussle, neither of whom sought re-election.
Brad Jackson, northern district county commissioner, received 8,205 votes to edge out challenger Marcia A. Baumgartner, who had 6,976 votes, to keep his seat.
With her 7,952 votes, Mitchell received the highest percentage of votes in the council race at 20.65 percent.
“I am just amazed and so appreciative. I’ve loved working for the county all these years and I look forward to continuing that in another role. I hope I do a good job on the county council,” she said in a telephone interview Tuesday night.
She said the council’s primary responsibility is the county’s budget, and the budget process will be changing a little bit. In the future, instead of deciding on a budget and sending it to the Department of Local Government Finance and letting them decide where to cut it, the county will have to cut it themselves, she said. The county will need to take a really good look at it.
The county also will have to address its roads and do the best job with them it can for the taxpayers.
As for working with the other councilmen, Mitchell said she’s very comfortable with all of them, having worked with them all but Jon Garber and Doug Heinisch, who were not on the council when she was auditor and served as the council’s secretary.
“Thank you to the voters. I’m so appreciative of all the support,” Mitchell said. “I want to commend all the other candidates.”
She said McKinley, 17, is young but worked hard to be the good candidate that he was. Nichols also was a good candidate, and she said she was sorry to see that Robinson was not selected to the council, but he’s been very important to the county.
“I look forward to working with Bob and Joni,” Mitchell concluded.
Truex received the third most votes with 6,561, or 17.04 percent.
“I am humbled and honored to have won the election. I think everyone who ran in the race worked hard. We had some very strong candidates. I will do my best to represent Kosciusko County and work hard,” she said last night.
Before taking her seat on the council in January, Truex said she intends to attend all this year’s council meetings and learn all she can between now and then.
“I would like to meet all the office holders one on one and learn how their office operates,” she said.
Being good friends with Mitchell, Truex said, “I am absolutely thrilled Sue Ann won. Of all the people in Kosciusko County, she has so much knowledge and experience that I can learn from.”
She also said she was glad to see Sanders keep his seat on the council as he has been a good president and will provide continuity to the council.
“It’s important to have people with experience on the council to help me get up to speed and help me learn all I can to fill the duties and expectations,” Truex stated.
Sanders was at the county courthouse last night as the results came in.
“I’ve done a good job and I’m glad the people out there feel like I have or they wouldn’t have voted me back in,” he said.
Looking down the road, Sanders said the council has a lot ahead of it.
“The infrastructure of our county buildings – that’s going to be needing taken care of. We’ve got the roads, we’re working on those. We’ve got some money coming in, figuring out how we’re going to use that money in the best place that it can be used. And there are the things we don’t even know about yet,” he said.
Jackson said Baumgartner ran a really good and effective campaign for the county commissioners northern district chair. He said she kept it clean and was a formidable opponent.
“I’m honored and humbled that they (the voters) want to keep me,” he said Tuesday night. “I take the job very seriously.”
He said he will continue to be a good steward of the taxpayer dollars the county receives because every dollar the government gets comes from taxpayers. “I’m very well aware of that,” he said.
Winning county-level uncontested races were Republicans Ann Torpy, clerk of the circuit court; Rhonda J. Helser, county treasurer; Anthony Ciriello, county coroner; Michael Kissinger, county surveyor; and Ronald Truex, county commissioner middle district.