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Joshua Brown

Political Party: Libertarian

Age: 27

Occupation: Engineer

Education: Mechanical engineering Bachelor of Science degree, Cedarville University

Previous offices held: None

Previously offices sought:  None

Community involvement: Active in church youth and children’s ministries, iGrad mentor, member of the Local Draft Social Fraternity.

Family: Wife, Emily. Two children.

Pam Clark

Political Party: Democratic

Age: 64

Occupation: Consultant and training professional

Education: Master’s degree in social work

Previous offices held: None

Previously offices sought: None

Community involvement: Former director of the Bartholomew County Youth Advocacy Commission, Foundation For Youth and the Bartholomew County Youth Services Center; member of Columbus Behavioral Center Governing Board, Ivy Tech Human Services advisory board, Family Service board of directors, Bartholomew County Democratic Women, and the IU Executive Council; adjunct faculty at IUPUC; former CASA volunteer.

Family: Husband, Bob. One child.

Lynne Fleming

Political Party: Democratic

Age: 63

Occupation: Retired teacher

Education: Master’s degree in education from Indiana University. Post-graduate work at Butler University.

Previous offices held: None

Previously offices sought: None

Community involvement: Past president Delta Kappa Gamma, past president Bartholomew County Democratic Women, past president Columbus Educator’s Association, and BCSC Corporation Continuous Improvement Council member. Also member of several boards at First United Methodist Church, as well as a producer for Columbus Theatre Arts Guild.

Family: Husband, Dan. Three children.

Diane Hawes

Political Party: Democratic

Age: 57.

Occupation: Administrative assistant, Turning Point Domestic Violence Services

Education: Obtaining bachelor’s degree in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Louisville. Associate of science degree in Organizational Leadership and Supervision, Purdue College of Technology. Graduate of Leadership Bartholomew County, Collaboration through Coalition Leadership and the Indiana Association of Realtors Leadership Academy.

Previous offices held: None

Previous offices sought: None

Community involvement: Past and present involvement includes Bartholomew County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Promotion Commission, secretary; member, First Christian Church; USO at Camp Atterbury; United Through Reading program manager; Red Cross, Military Family Readiness; Bartholomew County Search and Rescue; Mill Race Marathon; EMT at Hope Volunteer Fire Department; volunteer for Fraternal Order of Police.

Immediate Family: Husband, T. Craig Hawes. Two adult children.

Bill Lentz

Political Party: Republican

Age: 58

Occupation: Farming

Education: Hauser High School and Purdue University Agricultural Course

Previous elected offices held: Flat Rock-Hawcreek school board, 1992-2008; Bartholomew County Council, 2008-present.

Previous offices sought: Same as above.

Community involvement: Past and present includes Bartholomew County Farm Bureau, 4-H leader for 32 years, board member of the Bartholomew County Heritage Fund and board member of the Hope Area Chamber of Commerce. Past recipient of the Bartholomew County Rural Service Award, board member of Bartholomew County Arts Council, Mill Race Center board, Hope Community Center board, Hawcreek-Flat Rock Endowment Board, Bartholomew County Extension Board and Bartholomew County Family Services Board, member of Bartholomew County Right to Life, Hope Kiwanis Club, Columbus Rotary Club and Community Church of Columbus.

Family: Wife, Shari. Two children.

Matt Miller

Political Party: Republican

Age: 30

Occupation: Business owner/operator, Raft to Rafters Pool & Spa

Education: Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University, 2009.

Previous offices held: None.

Previously offices sought: None

Community involvement: Lifelong member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church; member of Rotary International; Hospice volunteer; Sheriff’s Department reserve deputy; Community Partners for Child Safety Board Member, 2009-present; Fraternal Order of Police; National Association of Flight Instructors; Leadership Bartholomew County board member, 2010-13.

Immediate family: Wife, Lisa.

Evelyn Pence

Political Party: Republican

Occupation: Self-employed

Education: Graduate of Columbus North High School. Attended IUPUI. Graduate of the National School of Aeronautics, holds various certifications.

Previous office held: Member of Bartholomew County Council since 1980.

Previous office sought: Bartholomew County Council.

Community involvement: Member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church; the Republican Ladies League; Bartholomew County Historical Society; Indiana Farm Bureau; Landlord Association. Past member of the Board of Directors of the Bartholomew County United Way; past board member and president of the Bartholomew County Historical Society.

Immediate Family: Husband, Dr. Ben B. Pence. One child.

Josh Brown grid

Would you consider voting for a wheel tax to help Bartholomew County out of its road funding limitations and would the tax be enough to help the county out of its financial woes?

State highway funds are being reduced but our miles of roads are not. A wheel tax links road expense to usage, which adds an element of fairness and could be a part of a balanced infrastructure funding strategy. Creating barriers to transportation access is a concern.

The county council’s primary job is oversight of departmental budgets. If you are forced to consider further budget cuts next year, where will you focus to make those cuts?

I am not blindly committed to cutting, but rather fulfilling the mandate given to county government with efficiency. I am an outsider and have no sacred cows. I would push for a top-to-bottom evaluation of county government, taking a hard look at the necessity and quality of services.

What do you think of the county’s pretrial diversion program that allows select defendants to be released from jail prior to trial without posting bond?

Pre-trial diversion is a useful program, but it’s a Band-Aid for larger criminal justice reform needs. This program will only be as successful as the prosecutor using this tool, which highlights the importance of electing a county prosecutor with integrity.

Pam Clark grid

Would you consider voting for a wheel tax to help Bartholomew County out of its road funding limitations and would the tax be enough to help the county out of its financial woes?

Fuel-efficient vehicles, less road travel and a poor economy have driven down revenues collected from vehicle registrations and fuel taxes. In addition, state and federal governments continue to place more responsibility for funding on local governments. A wheel tax may be our only option to support road maintenance and repair.

The county council’s primary job is oversight of departmental budgets. If you are forced to consider further budget cuts next year, where will you focus to make those cuts?

I don’t believe there are many more departmental budget cuts that can be made without further compromising services to Bartholomew County residents. The county needs to conduct a countywide energy audit and work in collaboration with department heads and their staffs to find additional cost efficiencies and/or reductions.

What do you think of the county’s pretrial diversion program that allows select defendants to be released from jail prior to trial without posting bond?

Eliminating socio-economic status in determining whether someone is jailed pre-trial was needed. Instead, Bartholomew County is using an assessment tool grounded in research to determine who’s at risk to re-offend or fail to appear in court. This makes for better decision-making and allows the county to effectively manage jail census.

Lynne Fleming grid

Would you consider voting for a wheel tax to help Bartholomew County out of its road funding limitations and would the tax be enough to help the county out of its financial woes?

The 2017 budget spends down all reserves. Additional revenue must be found. It has been a decade since the county has added an additional revenue stream. I am willing to consider a wheel tax as one of multiple ways to increase the county’s revenue stream.

The county council’s primary job is oversight of departmental budgets. If you are forced to consider further budget cuts next year, where will you focus to make those cuts?

I would rather look for efficiencies than consider budget cuts. I think there are areas, such as an energy audit, that have not been explored and can save money. Using funds more efficiently may enable the county to forgo budget cuts.

What do you think of the county’s pretrial diversion program that allows select defendants to be released from jail prior to trial without posting bond?

I favor the program. People who are not dangerous and who are likely to show up for court are in the program. They are not in jail so they can continue working and parenting their children. It also saves the county money on jail meals and medical costs.

Diane Hawes grid

Would you consider voting for a wheel tax to help Bartholomew County out of its road funding limitations and would the tax be enough to help the county out of its financial woes?

We must look for revenue from more than one resource. One source of income such as a wheel tax will not fix our problems. I will listen respectfully to all ideas brought before the council as opportunities to repair the current and future budgeting issues we face.

The county council’s primary job is oversight of departmental budgets. If you are forced to consider further budget cuts next year, where will you focus to make those cuts?

Our focus should be on finding solutions, not Band-Aids. A strong grant writer could help us find funding sources that have never been considered. I will focus on ways to get more money for our departments, not ways to cut funding for needed resources.

What do you think of the county’s pretrial diversion program that allows select defendants to be released from jail prior to trial without posting bond?

There may be times when pre-trial diversion would be beneficial to the individual and jail system. County judges will have the appropriate information in order to determine if the individual has a history with the court system and whether or not they are a threat to themselves or the community.

Bill Lentz grid

Would you consider voting for a wheel tax to help Bartholomew County out of its road funding limitations and would the tax be enough to help the county out of its financial woes?

A wheel tax is always an option, but any additional taxes should be a last resort.

The county council’s primary job is oversight of departmental budgets. If you are forced to consider further budget cuts next year, where will you focus to make those cuts?

This year we have managed to balance the budget without any cuts. The council should look closely at becoming more efficient.

What do you think of the county’s pretrial diversion program that allows select defendants to be released from jail prior to trial without posting bond?

Those in the judicial system who are heavily involved with this program believe it is positive and viable. I value the opinions of those who are in support of this program.

Matt Miller grid

Would you consider voting for a wheel tax to help Bartholomew County out of its road funding limitations and would the tax be enough to help the county out of its financial woes?

No. I will resist new taxes until we have identified and corrected the problems that landed us in the current situation. This requires hard work and difficult decisions. All proposals to increase taxes before reforms are enacted are just another way of avoiding our responsibilities to the voters.

The county council’s primary job is oversight of departmental budgets. If you are forced to consider further budget cuts next year, where will you focus to make those cuts?

Reforming the fiscal policies of the council by introducing planning and coordination of efforts between departments. Improving the procedures relating to purchasing and contracts by creating uniform purchasing policies among all departments. Introduce a three- and five-year planning requirement for all county departments and for the council.

What do you think of the county’s pretrial diversion program that allows select defendants to be released from jail prior to trial without posting bond?

I don’t support this. Bond was instituted to assure appearance of the defendant. It’s not meant to be punitive, but without it we have an unfair system. Rules and laws must be applied equally. Weakening the state legal system doesn’t improve public safety or justice.

Evelyn Pence grid

Would you consider voting for a wheel tax to help Bartholomew County out of its road funding limitations and would the tax be enough to help the county out of its financial woes?

The wheel tax option has been available for several years and we have not felt required to add as of now.

The county council’s primary job is oversight of departmental budgets. If you are forced to consider further budget cuts next year, where will you focus to make those cuts?

Department heads will need to review their headcount since the cost of benefits continually escalates. Efficiency is stressed. We have recommended a number of options, such as an energy audit to seek savings opportunities. Technology improvements will create efficiencies.

What do you think of the county’s pretrial diversion program that allows select defendants to be released from jail prior to trial without posting bond?

We are fortunate to be chosen for this program. We see this as an opportunity that will save the county tax dollars. Those handling this program will do a good job and we expect positive results.

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.