Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Ten Candidates Participate at WSCH Candidate Night October 17th

Ten Candidates Participate at WSCH Candidate Night October 17th

[NOTE: There will be no comments on these presentation notes. I have tried to get as many of the candidates comments posted as possible, so as to give a fair representation of their presentations. LOCAL county races are at number 5 and 6]

Ten candidates chose to either give brief 5-minute presentations or else to answer a series questions prepared on issues pertinent to each office.
Tom Snape moderated for WSCH and the live audience consisted of about 40 people, including about 10 officeholders who were not running for office this term. Mark Neff, Mike Rozow, and Tom DeVille helped organize the event.

1.The only 9th district candidate to show was Eric Schansburg- the Libertarian running against Sodrel and Hill. He answered questions on immigration fences and security, thought that 2010 was too long a time to wait to get our troops home, and was strongly in favor of Social Security reform and payroll tax reform. He didn’t get specific on US 50 or I-74 corridor issues.

2.Lane Siekman- Democrat vs. Johnny Nugent- Republican- State Senator

Siekman wanted to get rid of property taxes and said the only way to do that was to go cold turkey. He referred to Hometown Matters to get the cities and towns to come up with taxes as needed. He stated he was a product of public education via Rising Sun HS, Ball state and then Law School. He referenced major cutbacks in funding and how it was necessary for teachers to be allowed to teach. Economic Development is a buzz word- he’s for jobs and serves as Chamber President in Ohio County. Economy needs to be addressed on a REGIONAL basis. We have two boats here that are our biggest economic assets. They can help give money to support local business. He is against eminent domain abuse and wants to protect against it.

Nugent said that property taxes were at the forefront of the legislative session and gave his usual comment about wanting to “rip property taxes out by the roots so it can never grow back again.” He talked about the option of a local option income tax. He said the real way to control taxes was to LIMIT SPENDING! When it comes to schools he said each budget has increased over the previous budget. He thinks school administrators need to answer as to how they are spending money. There are always more “wants.”
On economic Development Nugent went along with the Daniels program for growing jobs and the economy of Indiana. Said we were dying on the vine and now he is pleased to be part of the team bringing changes. He noted that change is hard - as he gets older- including not even liking to have the furniture moved around at home. He noted 18,000 new jobs announced since Daniels began. In terms of school graduation rates, he said he wasn’t sure which study was correct, if any were at all.

3.Bob Bischoff - Democrat vs. Bill Ullrich - Republican- State Representative

Bischoff gave his family history (wife Ardis Linkmeyer from Aurora and 3 children living in Indy plus grandkids) and noted he had 26 years as Rep and 2 years filling a senate vacancy for a total of 28 years in INDY.
He said his greatest accomplishment was retaining the $70 million that the state wanted to capture from our riverboat revenue. He went on in detail about what was tied to that revenue that we use. He said 2 years ago he coauthored the bill to create the first state dept. of Ag. He helped get a 4-year degree program at IVY Tech and also regional sharing of tuition between colleges, a new superior court, and grants for our local fire depts. and rights to hunt and fish in IN.

Ullrich- stated his name and “I approve this message.” He gave his family history including being married for 45 years and being nephew of another state official and son of the owner of Ullrich Photography in Aurora. Ullrich gave his resume including, jobs, public service, Council office, and military service. His motto is No Games No Strings No Bull and he went on to explain his philosophy of each of those three terms. He stressed that he has no special interest backing, that he will be accessible to the public, and that everyone has a right to be heard as long as they are respectful. At this critical juncture in state government he thought it was time for a change. He referenced following the constitution, and ended with “No one can do it all, but together we can do a lot.”

4.Lanning- Democrat vs. Knollman Republican for D-55 Representative (covering North east parts of the county)

was the only one who showed up. He attended Connorsville HS and IU and worked for Ford. Lanning went on about the Honda plant and spinoffs and that we could take advantage of the fact that they don’t like to be within 55 miles of their main plants so we can put a lot of people to work in this area. Everyone agrees property taxes should be eliminated. He will work with the people, be accessible, and call you back in a timely manner. He ended with his slogan- “Help is on the way.”

5.Frank Linkmeyer- Democrat vs. Ralph Thompson Republican for D-3 Commissioner

Linkmeyer- gave an extended resume and background including his wife, Judy, children, two brothers Larry and Bob and sister, Ardis Bischoff. He volunteered for military duty in 1962 but was turned down because of a disability. He started Links Fence Company, which his son –Steve- runs. He retired from Seagrams in 1995 and developed 3 subdivisions all within ¼ mile of Aurora or Lawrenceburg city limits and well within the master plan recommended areas.
After the primary he was approached by Democrats AND MEMBERS OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY to run. It seemed like people were anti- this and anti- that and people wanted to stop or at least slow down the county growth. But this county has to grow. He wants to prioritize needs of the county and not run it by politics.
Economic development means kids can stay and work here. We have a great opportunity with Honda spinoffs down I-74. But we shouldn’t take away ALL the rural atmosphere. We can’t tell a farmer what to do with his land.
I have a great respect for volunteers, fire dept, Planning and zoning boards, etc. Hopefully with Commissioners Fox and Hughes I can help make this a great county.

Thompson- I have been an engineer for 30 years in both private and public sector work and I bring all that experience with me. For more detailed information on my platform check my website at For tonight I plan to deal with 4 issues:
1. The government should be open to the people. The citizens own the government and with the right of free speech every citizen should have the right to be heard. I am for open government.
2. I am FOR smart development and smart growth. Development needs to be done at a pace and place we can handle so we can support it. We need to get a balance in development. Some land uses pay for themselves and some cost the government. We need Industry and Agriculture to balance the residential growth and help balance the tax base. We DON’T need empty box warehouses or storage units. We need to work with the Comp Plan to preserve our rural atmosphere.
3. US 50 is a mish mash and the solutions seem to be a patchwork rather than a comprehensive view. We need ALL THE BUSINESSES on US 50 to be involved, because they have a stake in what is going on. There is thru traffic and local traffic on US50 and we need to step back and look at these two opposing functions to solve the problems.
4. Enforced sewer hook-ups have hurt lifelong and retired residents in the county. They say we have massive septic tank failures, but Purdue University says otherwise – we have a LOW failure rate. Recent editorial showed LMH sewer rate increases being called for because they have to pay for increased lines and maintenance. The editorial also talked about how LMH sends letters saying they can provide service to development and then the ratepayers are subsidizing the development, some of those ratepayers are subsidizing a development they didn’t want.

6. Joan Seitz- Democrat vs. Gary R. Hensley, Sr.- Republican for Assessor.

Seitz gave her history as Assessor since 1976 and has a staff of 6. One has been there 30 years and the least experienced has been there 6 years. She detailed the problems with assessment since the 1999 ruling by Judge Fisher. In 1989 she had the first aerials done in the county. Her office handles 28,600 parcels of land.
She activated the state numbering system for parcels and the public can view anyone’s assessment as public record at

Hensley- gave his website (but the last part was garbled at the microphone.) He wants fair and equal taxation enhanced through reliable market data and software. He cited the late assessments and the schools having to borrow dollars. He said Dearborn County was the only county not in compliance.
He’s a certified Level 2 appraiser and works in 3 counties. He said Seitz has not convened the tax appeals board to his knowledge. And that the county has the lowest number of certified workers in the assessor’s office. He thinks market data experience makes him a better candidate. It’s time for a change.

Seitz chose to use her 2 minute rebuttal time: Dearborn County pushed 4 years of reassessment into about 1 year. This is not a market value state yet; it is still done on cost.

Broadcast ended at 8 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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