The results are in, and this year’s General Election ended in several new faces in Starke County who will be representing their constituents.
For County Commissioner District 3, Republican Kent Danford beat out Democrat Dan Bridegroom with 4385 votes to Bridegroom’s 3907, sliding control of the county commissioners to Republicans. Democrat Jennifer Davis, Republican Kathy Norem, and Danford will now serve as the county commissioners. Danford said he’s ready to get back into office in January.
“I was here once before and I put my heart and soul into it for four years and I’m back,” said Danford. “I intend on doing the same thing I did before – working hard for every taxpayer in this county, Republican or Democrat, I don’t care. We’re all taxpayers.”
Incumbent Republican Kathy Norem ran unopposed in this election for District 1, and she said she is looking forward to continuing work on the projects in which the commissioners are currently involved.
“We’re involved in the middle of a couple of big projects with the jail being one of them and then there’s also the issue with the hospital. There’s never been a dull moment in the last four years and I suspect there will not be a dull moment going forward either,” stated Norem.
The contested County Council At-Large positions will be filled by Democrat Bob Sims with 4404 votes and Democrat Freddie Baker with 4582 votes. Republican Bryan Cavender also won an at-large seat on the council, and said he looks forward to cutting down on overspending.
“I look forward to working with all of the people on the county council and also working with the commissioners,” added Cavender. “We’re going to try keep everything in check as far as how wisely we spend our money. We want to make sure we don’t overspend what we can afford to do.”
Sims thanked his supporters for their votes and said he is excited to start his term on the council.
“I thought it was a good turnout, I’d like to thank all the people that voted and supported me in the election. I look forward to working with the council – the new council – and all the commissioners on the projects that we have going,” said Sims.
Sims also noted that he looks forward to working on the county jail project in particular, having previously been a sheriff for eight years. He said his term as sheriff will help him make the right decisions regarding the very important project.
Baker said he will make good on his promises, specifically his intent to be the voice for the majority of taxpayers in Starke County.
“There’s a lot of things going on, the jail issue is one in particular, and I want to be a voice for the people. I ran on the premise that what the people in the county choose to do, I’m their elected official, and my vote will reflect the majority of what the people want,” said Baker.
The public question that went to voters from North Judson was approved by more than 78 percent of the voters. The question asked whether or not voters wanted to increase the size of the North Judson Town Board from three members to five, and an overwhelming 480 people voted yes while only 129 voted no, passing the resolution.
For the Knox Community School Board Center Townships 2, 3, and 4, Wendy McIntire received the most votes with 1452. William Kirk Bennett followed just behind with 1429 votes, and Gerald Fletcher grabbed the third seat with 1278 votes.
For the California-Washington Township seat on the Knox School Board, Kurt A. Kemble trumped Nathan Marcum with 1897 votes to Marcum’s 1299.
The school board at-large seats for Oregon-Davis Schools went to Kurt Hayes and Lee Nagai. Hayes returned a 891 vote county and Nagai earned 662.