“I’m just so excited. It’s going to be so different,” stated Jane Hunsberger of Milford, after being elected the to the Jefferson Township Advisory Board Monday evening.
Hunsberger and Merle Holden had filed their candidacies to fill the remaining term left by the resignation of John Beer on Dec. 6. Beer resigned after moving from Jefferson Township to Van Buren Township. The seat is up for election this year.
Hunsbrger was elected by the three Jefferson Township precinct committeemen: Fred Lechlitner, Greg Jackson and Holden, during a township Republican Caucus.
“I want to thank John Beer for his dedication and service to the community. It’s a thankless job,” stated Randy Girod, county Republican chairman. “I wish him well in all his future endeavors.”
Girod also expressed appreciation to “everyone for caring about this township, for a position that pays $475 a year. I think it’s wonderful there are so many people who care about our government, our community (and are) willing to come forward to seek this position.”
Each of the candidates were given a 3 minute opportunity to address the precinct committeemen, prior to the casting of paper ballots.
Hunsberger has lived in Jefferson East, Precinct 3, for 36 years. “In my spare time I enjoy reading, scrapbooking, bike riding and (I am) very involved with my church.” She and her husband, Keith, own their own business, also located in the township. She is the bookkeeper for the business and cleans homes on the side which she enjoys. “I do love it and meeting people.”
Hunsberger looked into the position before filing her candidacy. “I have learned the board works with contracts to two fire departments. One of our employees is even on the Milford Volunteer Fire Department. My prior job before becoming a business owner, I worked for 10 years in human resources. I believe this job helped in working with people in many unknown circumstances and a lot of organizational duties, which would be a good asset for this position.
“This position is of an interest to me in as the research I have done. I have already learned of many duties that are performed, like Jefferson Township has only three taxing units (Jefferson East, West and Nappanee Jefferson West that is annexed by Nappanee), how this board meets to set salaries and wages of all employes of the township, contract to two fire departments, cemetery and Multi-Township EMS. They meet in January to elect a chairman and secretary, organize a board of finance, elect an investment officer, approve the annual report that is prepared by the trustee and how even two members do constitute a quorum.
“I know there is a lot more this position entails and I believe my prior life experiences and desire to learn would make me a good candidate.” She also stated, she and her husband have two grown children, adding she feels it now puts her in a position to reach out and be involved in other activities.
Her opponent, Holden, has lived and had an insurance office in the township since February 1973. He has also been a precinct committeeman for around 30 years and has organized the township election board during that time, finding an inspector, a judge and two clerks, many times serving as the inspector himself.
“Because there are three voting precincts and two different school districts within Jefferson Township, elections can be very complicated. But over the years we really have not had any major problems.
“Having a highly visible office can be a real benefit to the voters in Jefferson Township who might want to stop in and inquire about different areas involving the township.”
Holden is a graduate of Indiana University and St. Francis College with a master’s of science degree with an additional 30 hours of graduate work in administration at Indiana University. He has also had many courses in government and law.
In addition to the insurance business, Holden is an ordained pastor, currently serving at New Life Lutheran Church, Waterloo. For the past 23 years he has owned the Mottville, Mich., Speedway. “I understand business and taxes. Among the duties of the advisory board are the adoption of the annual budget, serving as a board of finance and approving township contracts.
“Over the years I have seen Jefferson Township gradually change from totally rural to becoming more populated with the Paddlebrook addition and now a brand new addition starting next spring. I believe that township government is basic grass roots government and I am interested in serving the township to the best of my ability.”
Holden’s wife, Judith, is a Nappanee native, and former high school English teacher.
Following the caucus, Girod reminded those present of the election for township offices in 2014 noting that filing starts Jan. 8 and will go to Feb. 7. He encouraged Beth Krull, township trustee who was present, to seek re-election and encouraged others present to seek a position if so interested. “These are elections not coronations. Competition is a good thing.”
Hubert Krull and State Representative Rebecca Kubacki were appointed as vote counters.