By Deb Patterson
NORTH WEBSTER — There was a full house at The Owl’s Nest Thursday evening, Nov. 16, to hear Rachael Rhoades kick off her campaign as a candidate for Kosciusko County Council At-Large nomination in 2024.
She was introduced to the guests by District 4 County Councilman and retired state Rep. David Wolkins, Indiana Builders Association Government Affairs Director Carlie Hopper and State Sen. Ryan Mishler. All three shared their support for Rhoades before the crowd gathered at the reception.
Wolkins alluded to the fact the crowd that evening appeared to have been bigger than the recent general election turnout. Wolkins called Rhoades a rock-solid conservative and active in the community. “Most of you have some kind of connection to the Rhoades families … in the county and that’s why you’re here tonight. But you’re going to have an opportunity to meet a real fine lady who will make an excellent county council member.”
Wolkins stated Rhoades has been to every county council meeting he has attended and will do well on the county council.
Hopper, who said Rhoades is a member of the IBA, which is how she came to know her a couple years ago, stated, “When you get to know her, you know that she just wants to know more and more about the industry, the issues and how passionate she would be about the housing industry, but also important is how deeply she cares about the community and her faith and her family, all of which I know are priorities for her.”
Mishler stated after the municipal elections the Republicans didn’t do well, outside of Kosciusko County. He stated the need to bring young people into the party to transition to the next generation. “We’re getting older,” he said. “We need to work hard at bringing young people into the party …”
He reflected back to when he first met Rhoades and was very impressed. “She left an impression. She spoke from the heart and said the right things, but not rehearsed. It was natural.”
When she told him she wanted to run for office, they had a conversation about that and what stood out to Mishler was Rhoades’ priories — faith, family and business. “That’s important to me,” Mishler stated, referring to former Sen. V. Richard Miller, who had told him “if you keep those as your priorities, you will succeed in public service. … So, for a young person to already have those priorities was very impressive to me. This is somebody we need to embrace, bring into the party.”
Mishler encouraged people to get to know her. “I’m running with Rhoades and I hope when you get to know her better, you’re running with Rhoades too.”
Mishler then handed the microphone over to Rhoades.
“I’m humbled to stand before you,” Rhoades stated. “I love our community so much.” She noted as she looked into the crowd she saw faces who have had a big part of her life and who shaped her to who she is today.
“My faith and my family and my business are my core values. That’s the reason I wake up in the morning. The reason that I can serve my community well.” Her family’s business is Cottage Watchmen Security. Joining the family business allowed her to plug into many different association and clubs, also allowing her to build many different relationships, helping her to plug into the community and serve it well.
She listed the associations she is involved with, including the Builders Association of North Central Indiana, IBA, the governmental affairs committee at the state level, Home and Outdoors Shows on a local level, Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce, Syracuse-Wawasee Chamber of Commerce, Akron Chamber of Commerce, the Kosciusko County Republican Women’s Club, Warsaw Breakfast Optimist Club, Salvation Army Board of Directors and the American Legion.
“As a fourth generation farming family, third generation business owner in Pierceton, my family is committed to our community. As a wife, a mother and a business owner, I know the values that make Kosciusko County strong,” she said.
She said she knew the responsibilities the council position holds. “It’s a huge responsibility.”
Rhoades’ platform is to be a dedicated voice for the taxpayers, representing their interests and concerns, to work to ensure the county maintains fiscal responsibility and be a strong advocate for agriculture and business industries.
“I will identify opportunities for growth and development in our area, and I will invest my full energy in enhancing the life of each resident in our county,” she said. She is also passionate about young people and building their future. “I stand in upholding our core values and setting the example through integrity. And I will stand by our youth as they grow in our community, so they know the opportunities they have in workforce and to ensure and be a part of the growth and development so that we can have more affordable housing for them as they graduate and know they have a place to call home here.”
She concluded that she is eager to hear from residents. “Your voice matters to me.”
Hosts for the evening included Mishler, Wolkins, Ernie Wiggins, Robert and Waneta Bishop of Bishop Farms, Larry Coplen of Coplen Construction, Frank Rhoades of Cottage Watchmen, Scott and Cindy Silveus of Silveus Insurance and Indiana Builders Association.