WARSAW — Vicki Morton, Syracuse, and Terry Bartley, Warsaw, are seeking the position of Kosciusko County Democratic Central Committee party chairman during the county party’s reorganization caucus.
Brian Smith is the current party chair and will not be seeking re-election.
The position of county chair, vice chair, secretary and treasurer will be elected by county precinct and vice precinct chairmen on Saturday, March 6. These are four-year terms.
Jama Owens Brown, Syracuse, current secretary, and Roxanne Coffelt, Warsaw, current treasurer, are running for re-election.
Brandon Allen, Sidney, will be seeking the vice chair position.
Morton, who serves as the current vice chair of the Kosciusko County Democrats, declared her candidacy for county chair after Smith announced he would not seek a second term.
Morton believes her experience as vice chair for the past four years has helped to prepare her for the job of county chair. She has coordinated the Democratic poll workers throughout the county, planned events and assisted the campaigns of various county and state candidates.
In addition to her political activities, Vicki and her husband, Bill, are very active in the local community serving as volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters, CASA and Junior Achievement. Morton is a former board member of Cardinal Services in Warsaw and currently serves on various committees at Cardinal Services.
Bartley, who served as party chair from 2009 until May 1, 2013, is also seeking the position. Bartley noted he has received a number of phone calls from older members of the party asking him to run again. He has been told by these members they are made not to feel welcome at meetings and are “treated like they don’t know what they are talking about.”
“Many of the long-term precinct committee members were replaced without any notice until it was done. They quit having the JJ dinner. They don’t do anything and many people are concerned about it and feel the party is going in the wrong direction,” said Bartley. “I care about the party. I care about the direction. I care about the people.”
Bartley knows the party is vastly outnumbered when it comes to elections, but “we were decent. We had some hot spots (in smaller communities). You have got to work with what you have and build on it. Many, many people feel (the party) is not doing anything. They’ve just given up. That’s not OK with me.”
He also noted the party’s distance from the unions, which party matriarch H. Dale Tucker had built, and the presence the party had in Warsaw when it had an office open. Bartley also noted he is aware this may not be a fair election as Smith will not provide information on precinct committeemen and vice committeemen to him.
“If it’s a free and fair election and I get beat, that’s what they want. I just want to be on a level playing field.”