By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — Two incumbents and one newcomer have won nominations for three Kosciusko County Council at-large seats in the Republican primary.
Kathy Groninger, Mentone; and incumbents Sue Ann Mitchell, Warsaw; and Joni Truex, Warsaw, were the top vote-getters in the four-way race. Incumbent Kimberly Cates, Syracuse, finished fourth.
Groninger received the most votes at 5,839, with Mitchell bringing in 5,804 votes. Truex received 5,181 votes and Cates received 5,022 votes.
“I’m honored, surprised, excited and thrilled,” said Groninger outside of Kosciusko County GOP headquarters after results were announced.
She does not currently face an opponent in the fall election.
Groninger said she plans to attend monthly county council meetings and learn as much as possible before the fall election.
“I feel blessed to even win, let alone be the top vote-getter,” said Groninger. “I intend to work really hard.”
Groninger is married to Cary Groninger, an incumbent county commissioner who also won his party’s nomination Tuesday night.
Kathy Groninger said she views the expansion of broadband Internet in the County as one of the most important issues.
“I live out in the country, so I know what it’s like to have really bad Internet,” said Groninger. “But for the schools and to attract new businesses into the county … having that Internet availability is really important.”
Groninger came to Kosciusko County 27 years ago after having earned a Bachelor of Science degree from DePauw University and a law degree from IU School of Law, Indianapolis. Early in her legal career, Groninger worked in the area of general practice with an emphasis on family and criminal law. Currently, she manages a small business involving real estate development.
Sue Ann Mitchell moved to Kosciusko County in 1970. Since 1976, she has served the county in various elected positions in county government. Currently, she serves as president of the Indiana County Council Association, secretary for the North Webster Community Center and treasurer for the North Webster Lady Lions.
Joni Truex was elected to county council in 2016. She holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Indiana Tech has a triple major in business management, human resources and marketing. Since 2001, Truex has taught courses at Ivy Tech Community College in business, marketing, human resources and economics. She also works part-time for Kyle Wurtzel, Northwestern Mutual financial advisor.
Cates was appointed by a GOP caucus to serve out the remaining term of former Council President Bob Sanders, who passed away in 2017.
In an interview with InkFreeNews staff prior to the primary election, both Mitchell and Truex said the impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 budget is an issue they both plan to address.
“We cannot tax our way out of the issues,” said Mitchell.
“The conservative practices the council has demonstrated will serve as the solid foundation needed to weather the possible impact coming in the next few years due to lost tax revenue from the economic slowdown we are experiencing,” said Truex.