By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – With six months to go before primary election day, it appears Republicans will have a spirited race for Kosciusko County Council District 3.
Scott Clay, a marketing manager for NAPA Auto Parts and an ambassador for Kosciusko County Chamber of Commerce, held a campaign kickoff Wednesday, Nov. 10, at the Shrine Building in Warsaw.
Clay joins County Coroner Tony Ciriello in the race for the District 3 seat, which is currently held by Ernie Wiggins, who has announced he will not seek re-election. Filing for the election does not begin until January, but many are eager to get involved with both candidates.
District 3 includes Warsaw and Winona Lake.
While Ciriello is already campaigning on his decades of experience in government and law enforcement, Clay, on the other hand, is stressing his outreach into the community and emphasis on fostering business growth.
Family and friends of Clay are quick to mention his passion and energy.
Many in the crowd of dozens – maybe 70 – were longtime Republican party officials, a mix of elected leaders including Wiggins, State Rep. Curt Nisly, county council member Joni Truex and sheriff’s candidate Jim Smith. Others included business people, some chamber folks, Optimists and plenty of family.
The event included numerous posters about Clay’s background and details on how to vote with a map of the county council districts. He has a campaign committee and uses his marketing background to develop a website and social media. He has a campaign slogan (Involved Today, Impacting Tomorrow), and signs that read Vote Clay In May.
Josh Witt a longtime family friend and an owner of NAPA Auto Parts introduced Clay.
He described Clay as “a go-getter who has the ability to create, cause and make some change.”
Witt recalled how Clay, during the onset of the pandemic, worked to hold a fundraiser, used business connections to acquire masks and distributed them for free in the community.
In his career, Clay also built online stores, some of which generated upward of $80,000 a month, according to his LinkedIn account.
His role as an ambassador for the chamber gets him out into the community often. He’s also an Optimist and has been involved with Kosciusko Community Senior Services.
Earlier this year, he was one of the recipients of KEDCo’s Rising Leader Award.
Clay, 24, was asked about his age and how that plays into running for public office.
He said he’s been setting high goals for years.
“I’ve always been underestimated. People told me not to start a business and I started a business and it was a great thing for me. People told me it might not be a good idea to buy a house and I bought a house and it was one of the best ideas I ever had,” he said.
He said he was encouraged by many to run for office.
“I don’t think my age limits me one bit,” he said.