By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – Some election candidates announce plans to run and then begin assembling a campaign and strategy.
Jim Smith is not one of those people.
The 40-year-old sheriff’s deputy announced last week his intentions to challenge sheriff Kyle Dukes next year.
Smith announced his intentions on June 3, then attended the Republican Party dinner in North Webster that same night and released a video on his Facebook page.
Announcing his run approximately 334 days before next year’s primary sets the stage for a long campaign, but also might help dissuade others from throwing their hat in the ring.
Smith is pledging a “common sense” approach with a fiscally conservative mindset.
He said he’ll spend the next year getting his message out and listening to voters.
His opening announcement ended with the phrase “More Service, Less Politics.” Asked exactly what that might mean, Smith said it’s simply his approach.
Dukes, a former Indiana State Police trooper, defeated the GOP establishment candidate, incumbent Rocky Goshert, in the 2018 primary. In his first term, Dukes led the charge to create a county-wide drug task force known as NET43 that has led to numerous high-profile drug raids. Dukes also made headlines earlier this year when he said his department will not support any gun buyback programs or confiscation of guns.
Dukes has yet to announce his intentions but said Friday that an announcement is on the horizon.
In brief, Dukes said he’s proud of the work the office has done and the relationships he’s built with other police departments.
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SHE’S BACK! – After what was undoubtedly the worst year of her life, Kimberly Cates is back in a big way.
Cates was edged out in the Republican primary in May of 2020 and then lost her husband, Judge David Cates, when he died unexpectedly in December.
On Monday, she was chosen by a Republican caucus over three other candidates seeking to fill the vacancy on County Council created after Doug Heinisch resigned.
Making it even more unique, Cates is now among four women on council, marking the first time in county history that a majority of the county council are women. She joins Joni Truex, Sue Ann Mitchell and Kathy Groninger.
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BUILDING A REPUTATION – Indiana U.S. Senator Todd Young is starting to establish a reputation as one who is willing to work with Democrats. That was the case when he and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer co-sponsored legislation that creates a new directorate for technology and innovation at the National Science Foundation at a cost of $100 billion over five years.
The bill, approved by the Senate earlier this week, designates $10 billion to the Department of Commerce to establish 10 “technology hubs” around the country to serve as centers for research, development and workforce training.
Business Insider profiled Young, calling him the most important senator that you probably never heard of, which is about the nicest compliment a first-term senator could expect.
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BIG MONEY – Indiana’s Democratic Party is highlighting the amounts of money being made available through the American Rescue Plan and the roadshow arrives in Warsaw on Tuesday, June 15, at Mad Anthony’s Tap Room in Warsaw. The event begins at 6:30 p.m.
Among those expected to speak about the latest stimulus plan are former Third District Congresswoman Jill Long and State Sen. Eddie Melton.
In Kosciusko County, the federal government is sending the county $15.4 million, while the city of Warsaw is set to receive $3.1 million and schools will get as much as $11.8 million.
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DOGGED REPORTING – So what’s the next best thing to winning a Pulitzer prize for reporting? Knowing somebody who did. That’s the case for me after learning Ryan Martin and a group at the Indianapolis Star won a Pulitzer for a story exploring the misuse of police dogs.
I worked with Martin when he was managing editor at the Elkhart Truth. The Elkhart staff knew Martin was a multi-talented guy when he arrived in Elkhart in 2013 and he has since gone on to win numerous awards as an investigative reporter in Indy.
Martin and his team determined that Indianapolis Metropolitan Police K9 dogs have had the highest rate of dog bites among police departments in the largest 20 U.S. cities. You can read the story here.
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Dan Spalding is the editor at InkFreeNews.com.
He covers city government and politics and always welcomes your input.