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A few newcomers will serve Elkhart County, but most are familiar faces

A few new elected leaders will be representing Elkhart County when the new year starts, while most have already been in office.
Posted on Dec. 31, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

In the wake of last November’s elections, there will be a few new people representing Elkhart County in 2013 and a whole slew of familiar faces.

Following is a breakdown of who will be doing the lawmaking for locals.

U.S. Congress

New federal lawmakers are inaugurated Jan. 3 and they’ll have a full plate. Dealing with the fiscal cliff, the mix of mandatory spending cuts and tax hikes to go into effect in the new year, will likely be front and center, among other things. Gun control in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre and immigration reform could be two of many other issues.

Ÿ Senate: Joe Donnelly, D-Granger, is in as Indiana’s newest Senator. He is finishing up his term as U.S. representative for Indiana’s 2nd District, which includes Elkhart County. He beat Republican Richard Mourdock last November, who had defeated incumbent Dick Lugar in last May’s GOP primary.

Ÿ U.S. House: Jackie Walorski, R-Elkhart, takes over from Donnelly as Indiana’s 2nd District U.S. representative after beating Democrat Brendan Mullen. Though it’ll be her first term in the U.S. House, she’s no stranger to Elkhart County — she served as representative in the Indiana House for District 21, which includes part of Elkhart County, from 2005 to 2010.

Due to redistricting, Elkhart County will now be wholly included in the 2nd District. Goshen and much of western and southern Elkhart County has been in the 3rd District, served by U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Howe, but not anymore as of Jan. 3.

Indiana

Crafting a state budget for 2014 and 2015 will be the big focus for Indiana lawmakers this coming legislative session, which starts on Jan. 7. Education usually comes up, too.

Ÿ Governor: Mike Pence, finishing up as U.S. representative to Indiana’s 6th District, takes over as governor. He’s to be inaugurated Jan. 14. Incumbent Mitch Daniels, a Republican like Pence, is finishing his second term and couldn’t seek re-election due to term limits.

Ÿ Indiana Senate: District 12 Sen. Carlin Yoder and District 9 Sen. Ryan Mishler, both Republicans, each won re-election. District 11 Sen. Joe Zakas, also a GOPer, wasn’t up for re-election.

Ÿ Indiana House: The representatives serving the largest chunks of Elkhart County, District 48 Rep. Tim Neese, District 21 Rep. Tim Wesco and District 49 Rep. Wes Culver, all won re-election, so no changes there. They’re all Republicans.

Redistricting brings parts of District 22 and District 82 into small portions of southern Elkhart County. Incumbent District 22 Rep. Rebecca Kubacki won re-election while District 82, vacated by Republican Jeff Espich, will be represented by GOPer David Ober, who won the race for the spot in November.

Gone from Elkhart County per redistricting are parts of Districts 5, 18 and 23. Craig Fry, a Democrat from Mishawaka, had held the District 5 post, making him the only Democratic member of Elkhart County’s delegation to Indianapolis. Fry, incidentally, didn’t seek re-election and the winner in November, newcomer Dale DeVon, is a Republican.

Elkhart County

Finding funds to keep up with road maintenance will likely keep county leaders busy, among other things.

The two incumbent Elkhart County commissioners up for re-election, Terry Rodino and Mike Yoder, won so they’ll be back.

Two of the three incumbents up for re-election to the Elkhart County Council also won, John Leatherman and David Ashe. Incumbent Dennis Sharkey didn’t seek re-election and Tom Stump won the third post.

Jackie Meyers won election as head of the Elkhart County Treasurer’s Office, where she’s been serving as deputy treasurer. Incumbent Larry Earnest couldn’t seek re-election due to term limits.

The office holders in the other Elkhart County posts up for election last November remain the same — County Coroner John White, County Surveyor Blake Doriot.

All of Elkhart County’s elected leaders are Republicans.


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