The evening began with a 3-minute presentation by all of the candidates present. Those included:
District 2 U.S. Representative – Brendan Mullen (D)
District 3 U.S. Representative – Kevin Boyd (D)
District 22 State Representative Rebecca Kubacki (R) and John Bonitati (D)
District 12 Indiana State Senator – Carlin Yoder (R)
Indiana Attorney General – Kay Fleming (D)
Kosciusko County Treasurer – Sue Ann Mitchell
Kosciusko County Commissioners – Ron Truex and Brad Jackson
Kosciusko County Council at-large – Jonathan Fussle (R) and Robert Sanders
Kosciusko County Surveyor – Richard Kemper
Mark Dobson, executive director of the WK Chamber, moderated the evening, which opened with each candidate giving a 3-minute speech about themselves and the issues they want to be known for.
John Bonitati, Democratic candidate for District 22 State Representative, began the evening noting, “One of the great things we have in the United States is our public education system.” He noted the importance of controlling spending but being mindful of where budgets are cut. Those are problems, he said, “that our starting to hurt our students and our education (system) … While it’s important to balance our budget, we need not to hurt those who are most vulnerable.”
Kevin Boyd, candidate for District 3 U.S. Representative, told the crowd, “I’m running because I believe we need to have a Congress that works.” Saying that Congress has been dysfunctional for “several years,” he noted, “We need to find people who can work together; people who can learn to cooperate. … I believe in a high quality public education for all. We need to get federal government out of the planning for local school districts and bring good quality jobs to the third district. We need living wage jobs to help our middle class thrive and help the American economy get thriving again.”
Democratic candidate for Indiana Attorney General, Kay Fleming, said she decided to run for office because she was tired of seeing so many horror stories of children being harmed while under the protection of the Department of Child Services. She cited issues with the state’s sex offender registry explaining that simply, there is no uniformity in how each county maintains the directory. “And I have issues with protection,” she said. “We need to prosecute more fraud cases in Indiana … Until we prosecute, there’s really no reason for those people to stop what they are doing.”
Kosciusko County Council at-large candidate Jon Fussle said he ran for the seat because he saw a need “for more leadership at a local level in the county.” While noting he wants to continue the county’s long-term fiscal responsibility, “I also want to evoke change at the local level.” Fussel Using the platform … continue long-term fiscal responsibility … to evoke change at the local level. Picking up trash is one of the issues we are passionate about. I want to make a difference. I want to make this community better than it was when I found it.
Richard Kemper, Kosciusko County’s current surveyor who is running opposed for what will be his sixth term in office, said he is proud of the accomplishments of his office and pleased to work with the supportive county commissioners and county council. While electing not to make a speech about himself, Kemper instead said, “I urge all candidates this year to please speak from your heart; speak the truth. It’s a critical time for our country … mean what (you) say.”
Rebecca Kubaki, incumbent District 22 State Representative, said, “When I ran for office I vowed to become a very important part of the community … I want to do all I can to make the community better, I feel that’s my responsibility..” She briefly addressed the issues involving public schools and vowed to continue to work for education. The other goals she said she has are to provide care for the elderly, jobs for single moms and programs to focus on education.
Kosciusko County Treasurer Sue Ann Mitchell, who is running unopposed, noted that she has dedicated 36 years to local government and said, “There are great challenges ahead,” but she also has “great vision for the office.”
Brendan Mullen said he decided to run for a federal office “ … because I was tired of seeing people not working for our friends and families.” Speaking on his military career and his success with founding and operating a small business he concluded, “I can’t wait to be your voice on the federal scale working for you guys.”
Robert Sanders, at-large member of the Kosciusko County Council, is finishing his second term on the council and simply said, “We watch over the budget of the county and I think we do a pretty good job of it.”
Ron Truex is the current middle district representative of the Kosciusko County Commissioners running unopposed. He addressed the crowd saying, “One of the things I think is important is that I was born here, raised here, educated here in this very building when it was new … I’ve been involved in local business here and it’s been a real pleasure serving you. When we look at what taxpayers need, want, deserve, it’s to make the county a place where people want to be, live and raise their families. We do that by keeping tax rate low, not spending money we don’t have … I’m looking forward to serving you for another four years.”
Northern district county commissioner Brad Jackson, who is also running unopposed, simply said he will begin his fifth term in the office and, as a local business owner, will continue to treat county business as his own business by making it fiscally responsible.
The final candidate present for the Meet the Candidates event was Carlin Yoder, District 12 Indiana State Senator incumbent. “My commitment to you is to continue doing those things (that) make Indiana successful. You get attacked when you stand up to make a difference, but in the end it’s always worth it.”