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2 Republicans challenge incumbent township trustee

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Three candidates will be seeking Republican nomination for Columbus Township Trustee in the May 6 primary.

Trustees are elected in each township to help the poor obtain certain basic necessities. They may help with shelter or housing costs, utility bills, food, clothing, medical needs, burial expenses or school supplies. Their other duties include ensuring fire protection for the township and maintaining its cemeteries.

Ben Jackson, who was chosen by caucus to replace Fred Barkes as township trustee in June 2013, will face opposition from Bob Freeman and Rod Blasdel.

Jackson said he has made positive changes since taking over as township trustee and would like to continue in that role.

“I have rewritten the assistance standards to … assist those truly in need and decrease the number of those in need,” Jackson said. “The township staff and I have begun … by formulating the type and amount of assistance given based on each family’s true needs, and requiring all recipients of assistance to work toward and meet realistic and attainable goals of financial independence.”

Bob Freeman, a machinist at NTN Driveshalf, has been a candidate for Columbus Township trustee, and Columbus City Council and Bartholomew County Council.

Freeman, 57, said he is a problem solver with the compassion and common sense necessary to fill the role of township trustee.

“The trustee is set up to help those in need, which is something I live for,” Freeman said. “The trustee works for the taxpayers of Columbus Township (and) I feel we owe those taxpayers good guardianship over how their tax dollars are spent. I am as transparent as one person can be; my record shows that.”

Blasdel is the manager of the Cordry Sweetwater Conservancy District. Prior to that, he was the director of the Columbus Municipal Airport.

Blasdel, 71, said that his experience working with local government at all levels and his extensive experience with budget processes qualify him to be the next township trustee.

“My work history and experiences fit well with the position, and it’s an opportunity for me to utilize that

experience while again serving the citizens of the City of Columbus and Bartholomew County,” Blasdel said. “You have my assurance that the office will be managed with honesty and integrity.”

Township trustees are elected to a four-year term.

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