Baumann eyes commissioner seat

     Former Adams County commissioner Steve Baumann has announced his candidacy for the District 1 seat on the board of commissioners. His candidacy sets up a Republican primary in May against incumbent commissioner Kim Fruechte, who had previously filed for re-election.
    Baumann served as county commissioner from 1997 through 2008. He lost a primary race to Fruechte in 2008.
    "In my time in office, working with the other two commissioners, we were able to see Adams Memorial Hospital become a reality," Baumann said in his campaign statement. "The work-release center was constructed behind the current jail, and the large building was built at the highway garage to store our equipment indoors. Work was done on the Service Complex, courthouse and superior court buildings. The solid waste transfer station became a reality, and recycling buildings were set up and are still used today in Decatur and Berne."
    Baumann said that during his tenure as commissioner, "I  helped start the programs that turned miles of stone roads into chip and seal roads. We were able to resurface many roads that were already asphalt. In 1997, school buses were being rerouted due to bridges no being able to take their weight. Working with Adams County Engineer Tim Barkey, an unprecedented bridge replacement program was started that is still in effect today. One such bridge was the raising and replacement of the Piqua Road bridge, which flooded for many years.
    "All of these projects," Baumann said, "were accomplished with only one tax increase. The CEDIT tax was increased to support the hospital construction."
    Baumann said the main function of a county commissioner "is to lead and make good sound decisions as the executive branch of county government. As a proven leader, I feel I am the best qualified and look forward to filling that position."
    Baumann is an Adams County native and resides with his wife Donna north of Decatur on Winchester Road. He is a member of Zion Lutheran Church and serves on its board of elders.
    He worked at International Harvester in Fort Wayne for 16 years and is now employed at Thunderbird Products, where for the last 27 years he has served in various leadership positions. He is a graduate of Decatur High School and holds a degree in supervision from Purdue University.
    Baumann is a member of the Adams County Shrine Club and is past master of the Masonic Lodge.
    "As a past commissioner, I had the opportunity to work with many residents from our county. I would like that opportunity again. It is not only the rural residents who pay county taxes, but also the individuals who live in cities and towns. We are all county residents. Leadership, roads and bridges are the commissioners' main purpose," Baumann said.