Greetings Columbus —

Put on your reporting hat today, Bartholomew County. We’ve got an assignment for you.

We want to know what questions would you ask the candidates seeking their party’s nomination in the May 8 primary.

Our best ideas come from you, and frankly, you have a right to know where the candidates stand on the issues that impact your world, you country, your state, your community, your neighborhood, your pocketbook and your family.

After all, the candidates who advance and then win in the November general election, work for you. Call me naive, but even in today’s political arena where gobs of cash often rule the roost, I still have to believe that.

This year, you’ll be picking candidates for a variety of offices — from a U.S. senator all the way down to the most local of levels with township trustees and township advisory boards. Other offices on the ballot with contested races in the primary include U.S. representatives, state representatives, Bartholomew County sheriff and Bartholomew County Council.

Click here for the complete rundown of who will be on your May ballot.

So let us know. What are the issues that matter most to you? Jobs. Education. Crime. Taxes. Gun violence. Drugs. Roads and bridges. Mental health. Child welfare. Immigration. The arts. Russia meddling in our democracy. Tariffs.

While open-ended questions can yield some interesting answers, try to be specific in your questions. That way the candidates might be less prone to give vague answers or engage in political speak. Try to pin them down. Ask how they will pay for their initiatives. Here are some examples —

Open-ended question: How will you make Bartholomew County safer?

Specific question: Do you favor hiring more deputies to patrol Bartholomew County roads? Why or why not? How many will you vote to hire and how will they make the county safer? How will you pay for them?

Vague question: Where do you stand on immigration?

Specific question: Do you favor building a wall? Why or why not? If so, how will you pay for it?

And while questions about specific issues are very important, consider quizzing candidates about how they will govern and behave. For example:

  • Will you be transparent and follow the spirit of open door laws that require the public’s business to be conducted in public?
  • What ethical standard will you follow — for taking money, for hiring family members or friends, for hiring companies to do government work, for spending taxpayer dollars, for using campaign contributions?
  • How will you make decisions? Will you seek input from a broad array of people with different opinions? If so, how will you go about that?
  • Will you hire a diverse group of employees?
  • Would you ever lie to constituents?

So, journalists, ask away. Send your questions to

P.S. If you have not registered to vote, you have until April 9. Click here to register. Early voting starts on April 10.

Here’s what else you need to know —

What’s next for Donner Center?
Reporter Matt Kent writes: Water is leaking from the ceiling. Bricks on the exterior are crumbling. Restrooms are not handicap-accessible. Donner Center, a city facility that opened 71 years ago may be near the end of its useful life. Thursday’s Republic.

Meyer Grocery owner Doug Meyer stands inside his grocery store on State Road 58 in Ogilville, Ind., pictured on Monday, March 5, 2018. Mike Wolanin | The Republic
Meyer Grocery owner Doug Meyer stands inside his grocery store on State Road 58 in Ogilville.

Last of the mom-and-pops.
In these days of mega-groceries, convenience stories and meals delivered via mail,  we caught up with the folks at Meyer Grocery in Ogilville, the only old-time grocery left in Bartholomew County. Customers line up for the famous fish and tenderloin sandwiches and come to the business just to hang out and shoot the breeze. Story here.

Columbus East senior Graham Rooks and junior Nick South are The Republic Co-Wrestlers of the Year. Graham and Rooks both won state titles in wrestling this season. Rooks finished the season undefeated. Jana Jones for The Republic
Columbus East senior Graham Rooks and junior Nick South.

Wrestlers of the year: Twice as nice.
We could not pick just one. Columbus East wrestlers Graham Rooks and Nick South share The Republic Wrestler of the Year honors. Read about them here and see who else made our all-area wrestling team.

Purdue fans: Detroit or bust.
Columbus residents Joe and Jill Wettschurack are Purdue graduates, and they are heading to the Motor City to watch the Boilermakers in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Learn how they got their tickets and what it will cost you to get your own.

Josh, Vermont and the NIT.
Vermont lost its game last night. But here’s a tweet showing Columbus North graduate Josh Speidel before the first round match-up against Middle Tennessee that makes us smile. Game story here.

A final thought: RIP Stephen Hawking.
One of my favorite quotes from Hawking: “Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” More here: A remarkable life — Hawking defied ALS to become pre-eminent physicist.

Have a great day. Send your story ideas to

Author photo
Scarlett Syse is group editor of The Republic. Contact her at