By Amanda Browning Daily News
---- — WESTPORT – In all, 21 candidates for public office in Decatur County and Indiana gathered for an informal “Meet the Candidates Night” Thursday at Westport Christian Church (WCC) to meet local voters.
The event was organized by WCC Pastor Mike Bartlett. Bartlett told the Daily News he believes that Westport is often overlooked when candidates are campaigning for votes.
In an effort to help educate the Westport community about the candidates running for office and the things they hope to change if elected, Bartlett organized the event to give each candidate a few minutes to speak about themselves.
“I believe in education and exercising our rights,” Bartlett said. “It saddens me how many people in America choose not to vote.”
Bartlett welcomed all the candidates and voters and thanked everyone for attending.
Each candidate was given three minutes to introduce themselves and to speak about what they can do for Decatur County and Indiana.
Nate Harter (R), running for Decatur County Prosecutor, spoke about his desire to offer tougher plea deals to criminals and to communicate more clearly so people can see the call they made to the police means something. Harter also wants to work with lawmakers if elected to draft legislation to fix loopholes in the law.
“I want to be able to say, ‘Offer them those tough deals, and if they don’t take them, nail them to the wall,” Harter said.
Chris Tebbe (D), also running for Decatur County Prosecutor, echoed Harter’s sentiments about tougher plea deals for criminals, stating that he wants to “make sure those who can’t follow the law go where they need to go.” Tebbe said Decatur County is home to him and he wants to advocate for the victims of crime here so all families can be safe and have a place to call home.
Incumbent Decatur County Sheriff Greg Allen (D) also wants to keep families safe. He said it takes time to learn how to be an effective sheriff and he is confident he knows the job well enough to do better in his second term if re-elected. Allen said he genuinely cares for the people of Decatur County and is seeking a second term because he wants to continue serving them.
“You do this for the people,” Allen said. “You don’t do it for yourself.”
Deputy Steve Snyder (R) is challenging Allen for the position of Decatur County Sheriff. Snyder said he would bring transparency to the department if elected. He would also like to see more community action groups because citizens can help solve many crimes by reporting what they witness. Snyder believes his experience with real estate will help with the administrative side of the office as well.
“I want to be your sheriff in the prime of my career, not when I’m looking to retire,” Snyder said.
Faith Koors (D) is running for Decatur County Clerk. Koors is already an employee of the Clerk’s Office and said she has a lot of experience and good ideas to bring to the office. Adina Roberts (R) is opposing Koors and said she got into politics at age 18; she believes she also has a significant amount of experience to bring to the office, as well as inside knowledge of how other county offices work, giving her insight to improve the clerk’s efficiency.
Judge Matthew Bailey (R) is running unopposed for re-election as Decatur County Superior Court Judge, a position he has held for the last six years. Bailey said he loves his job and looks forward to going to work every day. He said when he took the office, he was aiming to make it more efficient, a goal he said he has accomplished by adding an additional seven and a half hours of court time per week without costing any extra taxpayer money.
Doreen Greiwe (R) is running unopposed for re-election as Decatur County Assessor. Greiwe said she loves her job and welcomes questions about assessments her office makes, adding that someone in her office is always available to talk.
State Representative Randy Frye (R) is seeking re-election to the office and is running unopposed within his own party. Frye said his district, 67, is the second largest in the state.
“And I love every inch of it,” Frye said. “If you want to choose between candidates, the one who doesn’t love the people they serve is automatically disqualified.”
Bill McDonald (R) and Chip Perfect (R) are both running for State Senate District 43, which includes most of Decatur County. McDonald spoke about supporting conservative Republican values and family values, saying, “I believe in freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.” Perfect echoed the opinion about conservative values, saying he would hit the ground running if elected, focusing on making opportunities for the area’s young people.
Jerome Buening (R) is running for re-election to his position as Decatur County Commissioner for District 2. Buening wants to continue preparing Decatur County for current and future growth. Betty Whipple Louden (R) is running against Buening for the position and promised to work hard, be honest and communicate well with county residents if elected.
Kenny Hooten (R), County Council District 1, said he feels responsible to protect the taxpayers of the county. Danny Peters (R), County Council District 2, said he is seeking a second term and added that the council spends the budget money “like it’s our own.” Larry Meyer (R), County Council District 4, said the council has some good things going and he would like to keep it that way.
James Stuart (R) is running for Washington Township Trustee and said he has experienced what it’s like to be sitting on the other side of that table, which gives him a passion for helping people. He said he knows the area and wants to advocate for the people of the township.
Sandcreek Township, where Westport is located, had four nominees for office in attendance at Thursday’s event. Cheryl Laws Asher (R) said she has 36 years of experience in the community and will work to help struggling people get by if elected. Dan Wenning (R) said his business experience will help him if elected, adding that he knows the importance of helping people. Gail Snyder (D) said she has significant experience with nearly every county office and thinks that taxpayers need to come first. Incumbent Sandi Gatewood (D) said she was overwhelmed when she took the office but is well accustomed to the job now, loves it and wants to continue.
As the speeches came to a close, candidates mingled among the crowd to answer any questions voters may have had.
Bartlett closed the event by saying, “I want Westport to affect the county, Decatur County to affect the state and Indiana to affect the country.”
Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004; firstname.lastname@example.org