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(Editor's Note: The Daily Democrat will provide additional coverage of the candidate forum in upcoming editions.)
Fifteen men and one woman who are candidates for state, county, and township offices in the November 2 election in Adams County addressed the public Thursday night in a forum held at Riverside Center.
Some 40 to 50 people attended the forum provided by the Decatur Rotary Club, Adams Memorial Hospital, and First Bank of Berne.
The two state legislative candidates, Sen. Travis Holdman and Rep. Matt Lehman, and Brad Alberson, who is seeking the Union Township trustee post, were the only ones running for those offices who spoke. Holdman and Alberson, who are Republicans, have opponents, but Lehman, also of the GOP, is unopposed.
Holdman, of Wells County, serving Senate District 19, was the opening speaker, saying that serving for two and a half years has been "an outstanding experience for me" and that he still feels he has "big shoes to fill" in replacing the late Sen. David Ford.
Holdman said he looks forward to serving four more years.
Lehman, a Berne resident whose first two-year term ends on December 31, said, "It is truly a privilege and an honor to serve" in the Indiana General Assembly. He spent 14 years on the Adams County Council before going to the state House of Representatives.
Lehman said the state is facing "an interesting time" and added that state officials must continue to "move the economy forward by focusing on creating jobs."
However, he made the point that "government cannot create jobs, but can create the environment" that leads to the creation of jobs by the private sector.
The Berne man described Indiana as "an island" of solvency in the Midwest and said the state is in good enough shape so that there will not be a tax increase in 2011.
Alberson cited his "integrity and work ethic" and said he first became a leader while serving in the U.S. Navy. He was named a fire team leader aboard a ship.
He told the audience that he spent 14 years in the automotive field in engineering and management, including working with budgets, and now is an insurance agent with offices in Decatur and Bluffton.
Alberson called himself "a Christian conservative American" and stated that, if elected, he will push for Union Township residents to have "low-cost access to the library system."