WARSAW — Ernie Wiggins, Warsaw, was elected Tuesday evening, Aug. 30, at the Republican caucus of Kosciusko County Third District County Council Precinct Committeemen. There were 13 of the 19 eligible precinct committeemen present to cast ballots. He was opposed for the position by Joshua Finch, Warsaw. Kosciusko County Republican Chairman Mike Ragan presided over the caucus.
“I thank you for the trust you’ve given me. I assure you, I’ll do my upmost, to the best of my ability, to represent not only the Republican party but also the town and look forward to serving,” stated Wiggins. He will fill the remaining two years and four months of Brad Tandy’s term on the council. Tandy resigned Aug. 11 after 22 years in office.
Prior to the precinct committeemen casting their votes, each candidate was given three minutes to speak before the caucus.
Finch, who was the first to file for the seat, explained what Warsaw means to him after spending summers as a young boy on Chapman Lake. “As I grew older, I saw this community, this county as a safe haven. Nowhere was life more simple than here. Neighbors were also your friends, they helped when you needed them, I learned that family was what was important in this life and the best place to start to raise a family.” Finch made three promises if elected: to keep an open mind to think forward of all the issues at hand to do the best for the county, even if he did not totally agree; stay eager and willing to learn, not showing complacency once elected; and lastly put his faith above all else. “If elected to serve, I will work diligently to make this something that I can be a part of for many years to come.”
Wiggins, who served as mayor of Warsaw from 1997-2011, stated the resignation of Tandy and Larry Teghtmeyer’s decision not to seek re-election, is a loss of institutional knowledge. “I feel I have the background and experience to help fill this void,” said Wiggins. Prior to being mayor, he served on the Warsaw Common Council from 1984-1997, is a certified public accountant for 30 years, serves on the board of the Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation and on the city’s aviation board. He is a lifetime member of Rotary. “Often I said when I chose to run for mayor, I wanted to make this place to welcome the young people back here, proud to call Warsaw home. I think we’ve done a good job over the years in the county and Warsaw in doing that.”
Wiggins spoke of working with others to create the 911 Communications Center, working as an ambassador with the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns and traveling to other communities working with local officials on concerns, primarily budgets, and of the job as mayor being a good steward with taxpayers money and expenditures.
He noted the challenges facing local government that will “necessitate that our elected officials be good stewards with citizens tax dollars. We need to investigate, implement efficiencies while providing the best possible services for our citizens,” Wiggins said. He noted he can be an asset to this decision making process. “If I’m successful in this position, I assure you that I will listen to all concerns from the citizens of Kosciusko County, Warsaw and Winona Lake with diligence, to the best of my ability.”