The decision by long-time Republican Kenyon Sprunger not to seek re-election to the Adams County Council this year assures that at least one new member will join that body in 2013. If county Democrats have their way, there will be as many as three new faces on the council.
Surviving a crowded May primary and advancing on to the November general election were incumbent Republican councilmen Randy Colclasure and Dennis Bluhm. Joining them on the ballot will be fellow Republican Tony Mellencamp.
Emerging in May for the Democrats were Judy Affolder, John Minch and Dennis Hain.
DENNIS BLUHM, a Republican, resides at 4322 W 500 N, Decatur. He was elected in 2008 as an at-large member of the Adams County Council, served as a member of the Adams Central school board from 1980-2000, and is a former member of the Decatur Parks and Recreation Board.
Asked prior to the primary election to list his top priorities if re-elected, Bluhm said he would seek to establish a joint county council/county commissioners’ three- to five-year plan for the construction of a new superior court, a new county jail, and to set practical goals for the necessity and maintenance of existing facilities and grounds.
Bluhm said the county council “must guarantee its commitment to continue a focus on economic development, consolidations of services, and cost-savings initiatives in cross-training and staffing, and a critical review of all our spending on a continuous basis.”
Bluhm believes the county council “can be an agent of change” and said his experience will serve the council well.
JUDY AFFOLDER, a Democrat, is a former Adams County Assessor and also served as the French Township Clerk and Deputy Assessor from 1983-1998. She resides at 3625 S 500 W, Berne.
She earlier this year listed her priorities, if elected, as being a conservative “watchdog” of the county’s assets and encouraging “real communication and interaction with county employees and the public, as well.”
County Council members comprise the fiscal body of county government, Affolder said, “and as such have limitations, as with each elected position, on the scope of their actual power and influence. My first priority is to be a conservative ‘watchdog’ of the county’s assets — aware of funding and spending limitations — and yet one that seeks to provide for ‘needed’ updates and acquisition “necessities.”
She said key decisions affecting Adams County should be made locally, “and not by Big Brother in Indianapolis.”
TONY MELLENCAMP, a Republican, resides at 855 W. Main St., Berne. He is the owner of East of Chicago Pizza in Berne and currently is serving his third term on the South Adams School board. He was elected in 1998 to the Monroe Township advisory board.
Mellencamp’s top priority would be “furthering economic development by cooperating with all entities to not only entice more business, but continue the great work being done in our communities to provide tourism, jobs and infrastructure to enable it to happen throughout the entire county.”
He would also attempt to bring cities and county autorities closely together” to become a team which can work together to help all achieve goals. There should be no us against them mentality as we all face the same issues and problems. By working together and understanding roles — issues can be resolved more efficiently and with less headaches. We are one big community that needs to work together.”
JOHN MINCH, a Democrat, is a former two-term mayor of Berne. He resides at resides at 756 W. Main St.
His top goals as outlined earlier this year are to “firmly establish cooperative efforts among all entities of county government, to provide sound fiscal policies and to promote economic development by supporting our present industrial, agricultural and business endeavors while continuing to seek new opportunities for economic growth.”
Minch said that after serving the citizens of Berne for two terms of mayor, and having interacted with county officials, “I believe that my experience as a municipal administrator will allow me to assess the needs of Adams County and contribute to the decision-making process and help to establish sound fiscal policies.”
Minch said his goal “is to keep Adams County Number One: First in education, first in business, first in industry and first in quality of life.”
RANDY COLCLASURE, a Republican, resides at 416 Patterson St., Decatur. He is currently completing his third term as a member of the county council.
Colclasure is seeking re-election “because there are tremendous challenges before us as a county. County Council has lost a lot of experience in the past few elections, as well as losing Kenyon Sprunger after this year. We are losing our county auditor so this board cannot afford losing any more experience at this time, especially with the mandates forced upon the County from the State. I am an accountant, so working on county budgets is right up my alley.”
Colclasure said he believes the council, during his 12 years on the panel, “has been very responsible with your tax dollars.”
DENNIS HAIN, a Democrat, resides at 237 N. 2nd St., Decatur. He is the owner of Decatur Computer Repair and is making his first run at elected office.
Hain said his top priorities are to maintain fiscal responsibility “and use my business experience to help Adams County.”
Hain said he is running for a seat on the Adams County Council “to make a difference in our community and to help ensure the success of Adams County.”
Hain says his experience as a small business owner will be beneficial to the council.