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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Washington for council

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 12:01 am
Because it is for an open seat, the Republican primary in County Council District 3 has drawn an impressive total of five candidates. All five have the kind of knowledge and background to make a good council member. So voters don't have an easy choice, but they can find some comfort in the fact that none of them are likely to be bad at the job.Our choice is Gary Washington. Because he has experience at the township level in both Indiana and Michigan, he is very familiar with the nuts-and-bolt spending issues council has to deal with. Allen is the largest county in the state, with 20 townships, and Washington should be able to forge a better county-township relationship. In addition to his government experience, he cites his help in drafting the GOP's bylaws.

Also seeking the seat are:

Travis Armstrong, whose last name gives him the name-recognition edge. At 22 the youngest candidate, he would add a perspective often missing in local government.

Joel Benz, who is a paramedic, would bring the perspective both of a public servant and a small-business owner.

Tom Rotering, a captain with the Fort Wayne Fire Department. He has a long involvement with politics, currently serving his second term as secretary of the Allen County GOP.

Gwendolyn Sordelet, who would bring public and private experience both. She has worked for a large corporation and also served with voter registration for eight years.

Note that the voter referendum on county government structure approved by the state this year does not affect this election. Even if voters were to approve a change, those elected this year would still serve a full term under the current structure.

The sheriff is one of a handful of county officials in Indiana limited by statute to two terms. That could have resulted in chaotic county police departments, but it hasn't worked out that way. The outgoing sheriff tends to pick a designated successor who is named chief deputy and then becomes the favorite to win. And that person usually (but not always) does win.

So in this GOP primary, we have as candidates Chief Deputy David Gladieux, looking to fill the shoes of departing Sheriff Ken Fries, and Luke NaThalang, who has served 29 years with Indiana State Police. Our choice, then, is between the insider, who would keep the current system going with his own modifications, and the outsider, who would shake things up.

Our sense is that the department is not perfect (what is?) but that it has no problems severe enough to warrant a house cleaning and a lot of successes the current administration can be proud of. Fries has steered the department with a steady hand for eight years, and we expect Gladieux to do the same.


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