WARSAW – Democrats in Kosciusko County have fielded another candidate for the general election.
Noemi Ponce signed paperwork Tuesday morning, June 16, after Kosciusko County Democrats slated her to run for one of three at-large seats on county council.
She’ll challenge three Republican women, including two incumbents, for one of three seats on council.
Ponce is a 36-year-old mother of two and teaches Spanish for Warsaw Community Schools. She previously worked for Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation.
She said she was enthused by the groundswell movement in recent weeks that has been felt in Warsaw and across the county as many Americans call for police reforms amid reports of more black people being killed in police custody.
She’s attended at least two of the local protests and spoke about racial injustices that she’s experienced.
“I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to turn that outrage into action. I’m here for the community. My heart and my mind are telling me this is what I should do,” Ponce said.
She said she seeks to listen to the community and be an advocate for education and a voice on immigration issues.
Ponce is likely the first person of color to run for county council and takes pride in stepping up as a Mexican American.
Ponce was joined by Lauro Zuniga, 28, of Cromwell.
Zuniga works as a community advocate and political consultant. He previously worked in the White House as an intern in the office of Management and Administration during the Obama era.
Zuniga said he wants to continue to see a surge in the number of people of color and women running for office.
“I think that’s phenomenal,” he said. “I think we definitely need those different perspectives at the table where decisions are made, especially given COVID and given the protests happening right now, it’s imperative that communities around the nation have these different voices.”
Ponce is the second candidate slated to run for county-level seats in the past two weeks.
Travis McConnell will run as a Democrat against Republican incumbent Cary Groninger for the middle district commissioner seat.
Brian Smith, the chairman of the Kosciusko County Democratic Party, said he has another candidate lined up to file to run.
Editor’s note: The spelling of Lauro Zuniga was incorrect and has been updated.