KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — Two candidates are vying for Kosciusko County Commissioner for the southern district. The Republican incumbent is Robert M. (Bob) Conley. The second candidate is a Democrat, J. Todd Weingart.
Conley was born in Warsaw. He lived on a farm near Pierceton. As a child, he learned to get along with siblings, how to work, stay on task and get things done as a young man. He attended National Barber College, Indianapolis, and owns his own barbershop in Warsaw. He operated a barbershop in Mentone for 21 years.
He and wife, Sue, have three children, including Nelson, who works with his dad at the barbershop. He has five grandchildren.
He has been a member of the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Reserve for 43 years, serving as captain in charge of 25 officers. He’s served as elder at Redeemer Lutheran Church and on the board of education. He’s currently president of the Kosciusko County Board of County Commissioners, serving on the tech review committee, Area Planning Commission, Warsaw Community Development Corporation and Kosciusko County Solid Waste board of directors.
J. Todd Weingart
In 1993, he, wife, Pamela, and two children moved permanently to Warsaw. He continued to work in Chicago, in the financial markets, where he built his own business, eventually employing 53 people with a $15 million revenue stream. After many successful years, he sold that business, and started a much smaller boutique firm until he decided to retire. He went back to work in Chicago after his old clearing firm asked him to come back as a registered general principle, branch manager and trading floor supervisor, a position he still has today.
What are the two main issues commissioners need to address and why?
1. Conley: “Kosciusko County roads are always a priority. Using the tax dollars entrusted to us to their fullest is a priority with the highway department personnel. Scott Tillman and his crew work tirelessly in all kinds of weather to do a good job and keep our roads repaired.
Secondly, keeping our communities safe. The sheriff and his deputies have, in recent days, implemented programs and X-ray devices into the jail environment to keep the officers safe, and also a program that can be taken advantage of by as many as 85 percent of the inmates, who have an issue with illegal use of opioids and other drugs.”
Weingart: “One of my main issues is the unfair distribution of regressive taxes and government overreach. Two examples of this are the wheel tax and mandatory sewer connection. Although I understand the need for the wheel tax, I feel it can be distributed more fairly.
The second example of unfair taxes and overreach is the mandatory connection to the Tippecanoe/Chapman Sewer District. Whether to hook up to the sewers or not should be a choice.
My second main issue is about the traffic and road conditions throughout Kosciusko County. Since moving here 25 years ago, I’ve seen this town grow and traffic and road conditions worsen.”
Why are you qualified and why run for the role as Kosciusko County Commissioner?
Conley: “As you can see, I have been and will continue to be engaged in our community as a businessman, deputy sheriff, husband, father and grandfather. I have what is referred to as some skin in the game, look at the record for the last 12 years as a commissioner, we have used best practices to guard the residents tax dollars and get the most bang for your buck; the fiduciary responsibility entrusted to us is not taken lightly. When elected to another term. I will continue to safeguard our county to the best of my God given ability.”
Weingart: “I am running because I feel I can make a positive impact on moving Kosciusko County forward. It’s time to stop saying, ‘This is the way we have always done it’ and get a new perspective on the needs of our citizens. For too long, we have had the same people in office. I feel that we are not planning for the future but always reacting to problems as they come along. I am curious in how to make life better for everyone. I have fresh ideas.”