WARSAW — A self-proclaimed keyboard warrior who worked on dozens of campaigns years ago in Alaska has taken steps to run as an independent candidate for Warsaw City Council on the fall ballot.
One week after Primary Election Day, 39-year-old Chris Plack announced plans on Tuesday, May 14, to run for District 2 city council seat and will face Republican nominee Josh Finch on Nov. 5.
Plack’s addition to the race adds another dimension to the fall ballot where Republicans will face more challenges this year — four to be exact — than they have in several decades.
Plack said he’s been kicking around the idea of running for office for a long time, but decided to put his name on the ballot after watching some of the antics in the mayoral primary battle between incumbent Republican Joe Thallemer and GOP challenger Ron Shoemaker, a city councilman who currently represents District 2.
Plack established a campaign page on Facebook several weeks ago but declined to say which seat he might run for.
While Shoemaker ran a positive campaign, some of his supporters used Facebook to regularly attack Thallemer with a long list of claims, including that he was a hacker and a racist.
“I didn’t like the tenor of that campaign. For me, I didn’t want that representing our community,” Plack said Tuesday.
He said his campaign now takes on a bigger purpose.
“This is an opportunity to fulfill a dream, to get involved in our community and to make a positive impact. As cliche as all that sounds, those are really all my motivations,” Plack said.
Plack grew up in Alaska and graduated from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, where he studied English literature. He was a high school teacher for several years in Alaska and was active in Republican politics. He said he worked behind the scenes at different levels for more than three dozen campaigns over the years, including a volunteer role in former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s gubernatorial campaign.
He moved to Warsaw in 2008 after a lengthy online friendship developed into more with his future wife, Jamie. They have two children and live on Fort Wayne Street. He works as the general manager for 24/7 Cars, a car dealership in Larwill.
After learning that Plack was considering a run, Kosciusko County Republican Chairman Mike Ragan tried to dissuade Plack. Two days before the primary, though, Plack made it clear he planned to run. “I’ll fight for my family and for yours. That’s it. That’s why I’m running independent and will approach all issues as an independent. You deserve a civil servant that answers only to the voters,” Plack wrote on Facebook.
He describes himself as a fiscal conservative. Plack played down the existence of partisan politics on the local level.
“We’re talking about small-town government. There’s nothing partisan about a pothole,” Plack said. “It’s a blessing to run as an independent because I get to talk to — without any kind of incumbrance — I get to talk to Democrats, I get to talk to Independents and talk to Republicans and truly try to govern from a center.”
Some of Plack’s top concerns include traffic, economic development and fighting drug abuse, namely opioid addiction.
He said he’d like to see government play a bigger role in working with groups to combat drug abuse. “Government’s role needs to be to help motivate those people, to get those people involved. Take the resources and power of government and help our non-profits to get those people back on their feet,” he said.
He said he believes the city needs to support the orthopedic industry in several ways, but mainly by setting the stage to increase the amount of affordable housing needed to entice applicants to consider moving and working in the area.
Plack was attacked on social media over his arrest five years ago for drunk driving. The episode resulted in the loss of his job and the family’s home on the south side of town but Plack said it helped change his life for the better.