TIPPECANOE TOWNSHIP — There are three candidates running for Tippecanoe Township Trustee. The two Republicans are Tippecanoe Township Board President Chris Francis and incumbent Tippecanoe Township Trustee Steve Ward, who face off in the May 8 primary to run against Democrat Rebecca Burton Nov. 6.
There are five Republican candidates in the primary for three township board slots. The primary will determine the winners.
Chris Francis is a lifelong North Webster resident, a graduate of Wawasee High School and Indiana University. He and his wife LeAnne have four children. Employed by the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department in various positions since 2004, he is also a substitute teacher with Wawasee schools. He has served on the North Webster Fire Department since 1999 and is deputy chief.
Francis is current president of the Tippecanoe Township Board and has served on the board twice since 2012. He is running as a Republican candidate. During his tenure he has been part of the board’s decisions on ambulance, fire apparatus, and extrication equipment purchases and the fire/EMS merger and staffing additions for the fire department.
He noted, “As trustee, I will settle the tension that exists between the township trustee and fire department, where I have consistently mediated issues with the staff.”
Other issues he mentioned include upgrades to township cemeteries, oversight of township finances, restoration of public faith in the trustee office and to secure funding for local ambulance service while maintaining a low tax rate.
Steve Ward is the current Tippecanoe Township Trustee serving his second four-year term. He wants to improve on the already substantial changes he has helped to make.
He hired the first full time fire chief and partnered with the town of North Webster to hire the first full time firefighter. He was part of the merge of the fire and EMS departments. New equipment and trucks were purchased and tornado sirens put in place.
Ward wants to continue to maintain up to date, needed equipment while striving to keep taxes low and affordable.
With the township debt free, all allocated money is in place to continue beautification of the local cemeteries as well as up to date equipment. His goal is to keep taxes low, maintain local fire and EMS coverage and continue his open door policy.
Ward and his wife Sue have owned and operated Sue’s Creations for almost 37 years and been very involved in the community. Ward has held most offices in the North Webster Lions Club and has been a member for more than 30 years.
Rebecca Burton is the Democratic candidate for Tippecanoe Township Trustee. She looks forward to serve the community and to be there for those who live here and need somewhere to turn for assistance.
One of the trustee’s duties is to help people who run into hard times. By making people aware of the resources the township has and giving them the opportunity to use them, she hopes to assist people back on their feet.
She feels the North Webster Fire and EMS departments are essential for community safety. She will support them in their efforts.
The township trustee is also responsible for maintaining cemeteries. Noting the township is beautiful, she wants to contribute to keeping it that way.
Rebecca is a 2012 graduate of Grace College. She was born and raised in Baltimore and has been an official Hoosier since her marriage in 2011. She is a wife, mother and full time employee and is actively engaged in politics. She became involved because it is a tangible way for her to help others and fight for human rights.
Township Advisory Board
Jeffrey D. Anglemyer
He did not respond to several requests for information.
Edwin (Ed) Clayton
Ed Clayton is running for a position on the Tippecanoe Township Advisory board. He is a life long resident of North Webster and has served as chamber of commerce president as well as volunteering with the North Webster Youth League, Kosciusko County 4-H organization and the Wawasee FFA Chapter. He co-owns Clayton Garden Center with wife, Judy, and believes strongly in supporting local businesses.
Clayton has observed the workings of the township and his objectives for serving on the board are to continue the maintenance of equipment and personnel to keep improving the quality of the emergency medical and fire services of the township to better citizens’ safety. Also as a life long resident and small business owner, he feels he understands the diversity of the community and the people who live and work here.
Amanda L. Meerzo
Amanda Meerzo is running for the Tippecanoe Township Board because she feels she possesses the necessary experience and abilities that it will take to be an effective member.
When electing her to the advisory board, you will be choosing someone that promises to have the best interest of the township’s residents in mind when making the important financial decisions that will have direct impact on the citizens of the community.
Additionally, Meerzo will make it a priority to develop and maintain a positive professional relationship with the local fire and EMS departments.
She and her husband Jamel own Mohawk Pier & Life and have four children. She has a college degree in business management and notes owning a local business and being North Webster-Tippecanoe Township Chamber of Commerce vice president gives her insight into helping the residents of Tippecanoe Township.
James M. (Jim) Rhodes
Jim Rhodes has served previously on the Tippecanoe Township Board, gaining knowledge he thinks will be useful again.
The sole purpose of a township board member is to oversee the finances of the township.
The biggest challenges he sees facing the township are to continue to provide EMS service with the current system in place and to make sure the cemeteries are taken care of while keeping tax rates down.
Rhodes believes in fiscal restraint. He commented he had a good mentor in Dick Mitchell and often asks what would Mitchell do. Mitchell believed as Rhodes does if an expense was essential for the operations, approve it, but think of the taxpayers first and not spend tax money foolishly.
Rhodes entire working life has been in Tippecanoe Township with Crystal Flash Petroleum and currently with Jackson Oil and Solvents.
James M. (Jim) Smith
Jim Smith states he will be fully committed when implementing a plan that will provide financial stability for Tippecanoe Township as a board member. He promises to work diligently to ensure there is a solid working relationship between the fire department and the board.
He will be open to any suggestions and/or ideas that will help keep the township’s cemeteries maintained and looking beautiful.
He feels he will have the best interests of the township’s residents in mind when making decisions on budgeting, taxes and any township related contracts.
Smith has been a deputy sheriff with the Kosciusko Sheriff’s Department since 2011 and served five years with the Syracuse Police Department. He spent 12 years in the U.S. Army and serves as president of the North Webster-Tippecanoe Township Chamber of Commerce. He has also served on both the North Webster and Leesburg fire departments.