Judy Snipes and Bob Sanders were named the 2013 Republican Hall of Fame, Woman of the Year and Man of the Year at the annual dinner Thursday night.
Dwayne Sawyer, who is in his fourth week as auditor of the state of Indiana, was the keynote speaker for the event. This was Sawyer’s first dinner to speak out as he visits counties around the state.
Snipes, of Warsaw, was introduced as being a strong, hard-working woman who is always available when somebody needs something. Jean Northenor, who introduced the recipients, noted she loved it when Snipes was the voice residents heard when calling the courthouse.
“Who did you get? This sweet lady ready to help you in any way,” Northenor said of Snipes. “If you did not know who you wanted to talk to, she’d talk you through it … get them for you. The kindest voice you’d probably ever want to hear if you had problem with county government … she also shares a birthday with another great Republican, Abraham Lincoln.”
Sanders, also of Warsaw, was described as a respectable businessman, “in most cases,” joked Northenor, adding he is well known around the courthouse. She recalled him coming around as a “smart aleck kid, knowing everything.”
She noted Sanders has served several years on the county council and is currently chairman of the council.
Both Snipes and Sanders were speechless at receiving the honors and could only say “thank you” to everyone.
State Rep. Dave Wolkins (R-Winona Lake) introduced the state’s newest member of a state office. Saywer, Wolkins stated, brings extensive experience to the state auditor’s office, with experience developing financial and accounting software systems and handling multi-million dollar local government budgets.
Sawyer has been a sought-after expert in the fields of financial systems, information technology and project management having worked in key positions at companies such as Roche Diagnostics, Dow AgroSciences and Eli Lilly and Company.
“He is the product of grass roots organization,” said Wolkins, noting Sawyer’s experience within the Republican party as precinct committeeman, secretary of the Fourth District Republican Committee, member of the executive committee of Hendrick’s County and other offices.
The Purdue University graduate is also active in his community and served as an appointee of Gov. Mike Pence on the Indiana Commission on the Social Status of Black Males.
Sawyer, having no problems pronouncing Kosciusko County, noted it was an honor and privilege. He shared a few things about himself, answered a few questions as to who is Dwayne Sawyer is and w hat kind of guy is he.
Noting his childhood was spent trailing is father, who was in the U.S. Air Force, he lived in Ohio, Nebraska, California, New York and Japan. His professional and adult life has been in Indiana.
Using his computer technology degree, he had the opportunity to work for many companies, such as Dow Agri Science, and smaller computer consulting firms. He pointed out the largest department in his state office is information technology, fitting nicely for him.
He spoke of how his journey to the office began over a year ago when he approached a few individuals and planted a seed to run for Tim Berry’s office in 2014. His friends and mentors “believed I was qualified.” With his political experience and technical experience, he felt well qualified to do the job of state auditor. When Berry announced he would take the state Republican chairman’s position, “Everything changed,” Sawyer said.
Because he had discussed the possibility of running in 2014, he was put on the list of candidates, meeting with the governor’s team and the governor himself. He related the experience of sitting in the governor’s office, hanging on every word, every syllable that was said, thinking he had the job, then wondering if he did. “He finally said, ‘I want to offer you this job.’ I teared up,” Sawyer recalled. “I was so relieved. So many emotions, he chose me from the many great men and women.
“The past four weeks have truly been an awesome experience for me, to help keep Indiana the fiscal envy of the nation.” While he talked about going out and winning the election, he said, however, it is more about serving. “I am here to serve. I have been and will always be.”
But Sawyer noted he has to win the election in order to serve, to make a better life for all Hoosiers, including his three children (ages 7, 9 and 10) and the opportunity they have in front of them, the challenges, hopes and dreams. “We hold the key to the future, the decisions we make today will have a great impact on their future.”
Sawyer said he joined the Republican party for what it stood for. “There truly is only one party, the Republican party, that is committed to responsible budgeting, spending no more than it takes in and making sure for the future generations are not burdened by our spending.”
Sawyer concluded by noting Indiana’s best days lay ahead and he will do his part to get the state there.