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Bios, Q&A: Columbus Township Trustee


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Name: Ben Jackson

Age: 45

Political party: Republican

Office sought: Columbus Township trustee

Occupation: Columbus Township trustee (appointed June 2013)

Previous occupation: Worked as a lead driver and scheduler for FAB Express and Transcorr at Rock, Tenn.

Education: Columbus North High School graduate; majored in political science at American University

Prior elected offices held, and when: Columbus Township Trustee, July 2013-present

Prior elected offices sought, and when: None.

Community involvement: Fifth-generation member at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, former president and member of the St. Bartholomew Pastoral Council, former Court Appointed Special Advocate for children volunteer.

Family: Wife, Amy; three children, Isaac (14), Grant (12) and Anna (9).

Name: Rodney "Rod" Blasdel

Age: 71

Political party: Republican

Office sought: Columbus Township trustee

Occupation: Manager, Cordry Sweetwater Conservancy District (2 years)

Previous occupation: Director of Columbus (Ind.) Municipal Airport for 12 years

Education: Attended Indiana University and IUPUC

Prior elected offices held, and when: None

Community involvement: Columbus Area Visitor’s Center board of directors, 8 years; Visitor’s, Information and Promotion Commission commissioner, 2 years; IUPUC advisory board member, 4 years; Aviation Association of Indiana board of directors, 6 years; Kiwanis Meridian, 4 years

Family: Wife, Catherine; daughters Jessica, Brighid, Reigna, Emily

Name: Bob Freeman

Age: 57

Political party: Republican

Office sought: Columbus Township trustee

Occupation: Machinist at NTN Driveshaft

Previous occupation: Concrete technologist at Shelby Materials for 18 years

Education: High school graduate with various certifications in the concrete field

Prior elected offices held, and when: None

Prior elected offices sought: Columbus City Council, Bartholomew County Council, Columbus Township Trustee

Community involvement: Co-founder and vice president of CHIRP (Columbus Homeless Independence & Resiliency Program); I have always been very vocal about local issues with our elected officials.

Family: Wife, Kathy; stepsons, Eric and Josh Parker; grandsons, Brady and Austin Parker; new granddaughter, Malia Parker

 

What do you see as the role of the township trustee?

Jackson

"To protect the residents and taxpayers of the township; protect the residents from absolute poverty and the immediate dangers of fire; to protect the taxpayers from overspending on either of those things."

Freeman

"To fulfill the basics of the taxpayers of the township. To help those who can’t always help themselves; to protect structures and families from fires; to maintain the township cemeteries; and mostly to do whatever is needed to make things better for everyone."

Blasdel

"Fiscal responsibility managing township funds, public safety and public assistance within the township; collaboration with other community leaders and subject matter experts; management of the processes and procedures in the trustee’s charge; and overall problem solver for disputes and issues in the trustees areas of responsibility."

Are there any changes or improvements to the position that you would advocate for?

Jackson

I am the only full-time trustee in Bartholomew County. In Columbus Township, the position should remain full time. The General Assembly proposes changes to township government annually; I believe the current mix of local control and state oversight is about right. I will make changes and improvements to increase quality and efficiency, and decrease costs.

Freeman

We need to look at getting the fire protection we need for fewer dollars and less fanfare. I have ideas for accomplishing that, but I need to research to see what works best. The system we now have might be the most economical option. But, it’s worth a close look.

Blasdel

Looking for ways to become more efficient and effective would be a responsibility of this position. This would involve collaboration and input from stakeholders affected by a potential change, particularly with those expected to implement a proposed change. This is especially key for changes impacting long-standing practices.

This is a full-time job. Are you prepared to make the commitment that is required for this position?

Jackson

In July I resigned my position in the trucking industry to become full-time trustee. I am prepared to continue making the commitment and taking the time necessary to succeed at this position.

Freeman

The people elect someone for a four-year period. It isn’t a job; it’s an elected position. The voters deserve access to the trustee 24/7, which is what they will have if I become trustee. No position done properly shuts down after eight hours. I will be available.

Blasdel

Yes, I am prepared to make the commitment required for this position. My decision to run for Columbus Township trustee came from a desire to again work and contribute within this community, utilizing the knowledge and experiences gained through years of previous leadership positions.

 

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