Elkhart County GOP makes history with newest leader

Mary Nisly was named chairwoman of the Elkhart County Republican Party on Saturday, March 2.

Posted on March 2, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on March 2, 2013 at 6:34 p.m.

GOSHEN — The Elkhart County Republican Party elected its first female leader this weekend.

Chairwoman Mary Nisly will lead the county’s GOP for the next four years. She was elected to the local party’s top post Saturday, March 2.

Nisly, 38, said she hopes to bring a new, youthful energy to the party and bridge a gap between younger and older generations of Republicans in Elkhart County. Nisly wants to assemble a finance team to raise money for the party and put an emphasis on outreach in the community.

“There are a lot of people out there that could be voting, and we want to look at why they’re not voting and why they’re not registering,” she said. “Education is a big part of that.”

Nisly said she feels honored to hold the title of the party’s first female leader. She replaced Dale Stickel, who had served as chairman since 2007. Stickel announced in February that he would not seek re-election.

Stickel said he began encouraging Nisly, who was serving as the party’s secretary, to run for chairwoman last summer. He said he has a lot of confidence in Nisly’s vision for the party.

“I think that she’s got a bright future ahead of her, and I’m just glad to be involved with her,” he said. “And, of course, we’ll be working closely together as we have for the last year or so.”

Nisly ran against fellow GOP member Randy Wilson for the party’s top leadership post. It was Saturday’s only contested race. The party’s vice chairman is Adam Bujalski, the secretary is Debbie Johnson and treasurer is Dick Griffen.

The Elkhart County Democratic Central Committee also called a caucus on Saturday. Shari Mellin was re-elected as chairwoman for another four years.

“I’m very excited to move forward with the new officers and continuing the commitment to serving the Elkhart County community,” Mellin said in a news release.

Dwight Fish will serve as the Democratic party’s vice chairman, Don Shuler will be treasurer and Chad Crabtree will be secretary. All of the officers live in Elkhart, except for Shuler who lives in Middlebury.

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