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Tony Mellencamp of Berne has announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for one of three at-large seats on the Adams County Council. The filing period began Wednesday and runs through Feb. 7.
Mellencamp is a 1978 graduate of Jennings County High School and attended Milligan College inTennessee, majoring in psychology and sociology. He moved to Berne in 1987 and took a position at the Berne Tri-Weekly News. In 1997, he and his wife opened East of Chicago Pizza Co., which they continue to operate in Berne. They also owned Tree's Drive-In, Berne, from 2000-2004.
"Having been involved in various groups and organizations, both local and countywide through the years, I feel it is time to offer what I have learned to provide guidance and leadership at a county level," Mellencamp said in announcing his candidacy.
"There are many difficult decisions ahead for the county, such as learning to deal with less tax revenues, maintaining and/or rebuilding county-owned buildings, operating on a leaner budget as well as providing good economic development opportunities throughout the entire county," he said.
"At the county level we must come to the realization that all municipal governments are becoming the scapegoats for the state. The state has less and less revenues, so it keeps more of the money, which in the past, had been given to the county, yet the county is expected to do the same work with less, thus forcing county governments to either raise taxes or drastically cut budgets. That means everything must be on the table and looked over with a fine tooth comb in order to operate all county functions and services."
Mellencamp said his experience on the South Adams school board has prepared him for the county office.
"I understand very well what it means to operate with less funding and make difficult decisions in order to maintain services. Having been board president during the process required in the building of a new school, I also know how to work with state officials to facilitate what needs to be done in our Adams County communities," he said.
"If chosen to serve the citizens of Adams County, I would make decisions based on the best information provided and explain the reasoning for my position on every vote. I have learned how to listen to consituents throughout my public service career. I would welcome the opportunity to help move Adams County forward during these tough economic times."
He has coached various sports, including girl's tennis at Adams Central, where he was named ACAC coach of the year in 1996.
Mellencamp was elected to the Monroe Township Advisory Board in 1998 and was also elected as vice president of the initial South Adams Elementary Parent Teacher Organization. He followed that with a term as its president before running for the South Adams school board in 2002. He is now in his third term on that board.
He said he has also been involved on the executive boards of the Adams County chapter of the American Red Cross, Adams County Emergency Management Agency, and the Berne Chamber of Commerce, where he continues to serve on the membership committee. He was fund drive chairman for the Berne Community Chest as well as the Adams County United Way, having also served on its executive board at its conception as a county agency in 1991.
He was part of the local city ordinance planning committee in Berne last year. He currently serves as the secretary for the Adams County Republican Party.
Mellencamp is a past president of the Adams County Men's Bowling Association, past president of the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities Parent Organization, and a member of the National Federation of Independent Business since 1997. He was recently reappointed to the Berne Board of Zoning Appeals, having served on that board since 2001.
He married Kaye Haines Mellencamp in 1989. They have two children, Blake, a freshman at the Ball State University Honors College, and Shelby, a sophomore at South Adams High School.
The Mellencamps reside in Berne and are members of the First Mennonite Church there.