10/16/12 Miller’s Senior Living Community held a Candidates Night at their facility to give their residents, staff and the community a chance to meet candidates running for the upcoming November election. It also gives those interested a chance to here the candidate’s platforms. Republican and Democrat candidates from United States Senator through the local school board were invited to attend. Because of illness and other commitments many of the national and state candidates were unable to attend.
Local candidates attending included: County Treasurer, Debbie VanDeMark (R) unopposed; County Coroner, William C. Cleavenger (R), unopposed; County Surveyor, Larry C. Fisher (R) unopposed; County Council At Large, Rex A. Gilliland (R) and Steven A. Harper (R); and Plymouth School Board, Gary Cook – District 3/City of Plymouth. Usually during Candidates Night speeches are limited to 5 minutes the speakers alternate between Republican and Democrat. Since so many of those attending were unopposed the candidates were not timed and they spoke more about what the duties of their office entails and they were able to speak about what drew them to running for office.
Debbie VanDeMark is running unopposed for her second term of County Treasure. She explained that in her office she does more than just collect property tax. She also collects inheritance tax, innkeeper’s tax, alcohol and beverage permits, and mobile home tax. She also helps people understand why they are paying taxes and where the money actually goes. 40,000 property tax bills are mailed out of the County Treasurer’s office each year.
William C. Cleavenger is closing up his first term as County Coroner. He believes the office of County Coroner is probably the most difficult office to campaign for because it deals with death and unpleasantness. The State of Indiana has 92 counties, thus there are 92 coroners. The coroner’s duties include: taking care of the deceased and any property found on the deceased, determining the cause and manner of death and signing a death certificate. The state of Indiana is the only state that requires a coroner’s training program and he is very proud of that fact. Cleavenger believes the most important quality a coroner can possess is that of compassion. It is his goal to be the most compassionate coroner he can possibly be.
Larry C. Fisher has been the County Surveyor since 1985. He is a registered land surveyor and a graduate of Purdue University. Fisher pointed out that the County Surveyor’s Office does no private surveying. They survey for the county only. However, 90% of the work involved in with the surveyor’s office is to do with drainage. As County Surveyor, Fisher oversees 650 miles of regulated drainage.
Rex A. Gilliland is a retired police officer and he is proud to be running for re-election of County Council at Large. He pointed out that Marshall County is in good financial shape and he believes that is because there is a great amount of communication between the different elected officials. Marshall County has a surplus of money and each of these elected officials is conscientious in the ways they spend money.
“Life is good in Marshall County,” stated Gilliland. “I would welcome your vote for me on November 6th!”
Steve Harper is also running for County Council at Large (on the ballot you will vote for three). Although this is his first attempt at running for office he is no stranger to politics. He has been President of the election board so he knows the political process. He has been attending the County Council meetings to become familiar with what happens at the meetings. Harper is a real estate appraiser and he deals with numbers on a full time basis. He believes with his knowledge he will be a “good fit” on the county Council.
Gary Cook retired police officer and former State Representative and former Plymouth Mayor would like to “make an investment in our kids and our school corporation.” Cook is running for a seat on the Plymouth School Board from District 3. Cook believes he has great life experience from his different work fields and as a father of three successful Plymouth High School graduates. He believes it never hurts to have “new blood” on a board and he assured the audience he would appreciate their votes in the upcoming election.
The evening concluded with a question and answer period followed by light refreshments. Citizens are encouraged to vote on November 6th.
Photo: County Treasurer candidate Debbie VanDeMark (far right) visits with Miller’s resident Rita Nye and Director of Marketing Anna Corbett during Miller’s Candidates Night.