Politicians summarize goals

Voters can expect a long ballot of county contestants at the polls on Tuesday as candidates in 11 Delaware County offices within Ball State's precinct vy for voters.

Voting booths will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. On-campus students who live north of Neely will vote at Northside Middle School and on-campus students who live south of Neely will vote in the Student Center.

And while the local candidates won't have as much impact on the potential war with Iraq or Indiana's budget deficit as their national and state counterparts, they will cover a broader scope of issues - from law enforcement to county budgets.


Tracy Barton, Democrat

Barton first served on the council from 1995 until 1998, when he decided not to run because of redistricting. He ran again in 2000 and currently serves as president of the body. He graduated from Muncie Southside in 1988 and attended Ball State.

Barton said that, during his tenure as a councilman, taxes have been cut by 35 percent. He said he wants to continue to hold the line on taxes though he said it could be difficult given the current economic climate.

Barton also said he successfully pushed for evening meetings during his first term as a councilman, and in 2000, he said, he successfully revived them after other councilmen reverted back to their early morning meetings.

"The voters put government in our hands," Barton said. "We ought to be able to hear what they have to say.

Every decision I make will come after considering the tax payers in Delaware County."

Bobby Watters, Republican

Watters has not had any government experience, but he said he has been a county resident all his life, and he said the rural Daleville area needs better representation.

"You have to call and call and call just to get somebody interested in you," he said.

If elected, Watters said he would look to re-invent the county's insurance system. Currently, he said, the county does not competitively seek bids on insurance policies for its employees, and it's costing the county.

He also said the Democrat-controlled council needs to better control its spending.


Charlotte Shepperd, Democrat

Sheppard has directed communications for the Ball State Alumni Association since 1981 and serves as editor of the Ball State Alumnus Magazine. Sheppard stressed the importance of the record-keeping obligation of the office of county clerk, especially tracking child support payments. The clerk is also responsible for elections, where Shepperd said improvements can be made.

"It's the voter's right and responsibility to get to the polls," she said. "We must provide every possibility out there for voting sites, access for the disabled and absentee voting."

Karen Wenger, Republican

Wenger, the incumbent, was elected in 1998. While in office, curb-side safes to collect child support payments were installed. Wenger also said she wants to put marriage license information on the Internet as a record database.


John Feick, Republican

Feick is currently the Director of the Muncie Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, Director of the Muncie Sunrise Rotary and has served on the Indiana State School Board Association. Feick said at the debate he believes in non-partisan based judicial elections.

"I don't want someone to walk into my court and think, because they are a Republican, they are going to get a special deal," Feick said. "In the courtroom, justice is blind. That is the beauty of the system."

Linda Ralu Wolf, Democrat

Wolf is currently serving her 15th year as a judge of Muncie City Court. She said a majority of criminal cases involve alcohol and drug abuse. Wolf said cracking down on crime comes down to a case-by-case basis.

"Each time we must assess if the person needs to be counseled or treated," Wolf said.


Brian Fitzwater, Republican

Fitzwater is a practicing lawyer in Portland and a Public Defender in Jay and Wells Counties. He currently serves as Judge Pro Tempore in the Dunkirk City Court. Fitzwater said if elected he wants to make the court as "user-friendly" as possible, providing "fair and impartial" decisions. He also said he sees the position as an opportunity to keep giving back to the community.

Wayne Lennington, Democrat

Lennington has been serving as Judge of Delaware Circuit Court Five since 1998. Prior to that office, he served as the U.S. Bankruptcy trustee for the Southern District of Indiana for 20 years.

Lennington said, in his circuit court term, he tried to introduce a program for testing persons thought to be dependent on alcohol or drugs.

"There is no use trying to get someone treatment if they are not an addict," Lennington said. "It's also no good to incarcerate someone who is dependent."


Steven G. Craycraft, Democrat

Craycraft has served in the Delaware County Police Department for 20 years. He trained at the Eastern Kentucky School of Law Enforcement, Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, U.S. Department of Justice Crisis Negotiations School and Ball State University.

Craycraft said he wants to see police be more proactive and be seen in the community. Issues discussed in the sheriff debate centered on jail overcrowding and how to reach out to the youths of the community. Craycraft said the county is prepared for a school-shooting situation, and the county has prepared safe school plans to implement if such an event occurs.

"We have a task force between the Muncie Police Department and Delaware County Police Department and we have officers teaching the (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program in high schools," Craycraft said.

George Sheridan, Jr., Republican

Sheridan has attended schools presented by the United States Department of Justice, FBI, DEA, and Secret Service. He also attended school of the Los Angeles Police Department, Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and International Association Chiefs of Police.

Sheridan said he wants officers to be role models within the community and to be available visible, stressing a belief in officers driving uniform cars home.

"Officers should be on call 24 hours a day," Sheridan said. "The best deterrent for crime is a marked police car."

Sheridan said if elected he would want officers to get involved in coaching programs to help provide a role model for children.


Jim Clevenger, Democrat

Clevenger, who currently holds the office, is the first coroner to be a certified death investigator. He teaches a death and dying class, serves as Director of Albany Emergency Medical Services and has 14 years experience in professional fire fighting and rescue work.

Clevenger said he is qualified to work with families of the deceased mainly due to his experience in EMS.

"I've made thousands and thousands of EMS rescue calls," Clevenger said. "I've gotten many letters since I became coroner thanking us for directing grieving families to the right services for counseling."

Mike Seidle, Republican

Seidle began his medical career in 1979 as a family practice physician at Ball Memorial Hospital. He served as Director of the Amelia T. Wood Student Health Center for 20 years. His campaign slogan states, "Put some life in the coroner's office." Seidle said one reason he wanted to run for coroner is to extend his practice experience in family medicine.

"I want to bring my medical knowledge into the office," Seidle said.

Seidle said if elected he will put counseling services to use to help the families of the deceased.


Dick Shirey, Republican

Shirey, the current Center Township Trustee, established a Center Township Fire Department with an estimated 60 volunteers. He previously worked in manufacturing as an industrial engineer and as an insurance agent.

Shirey said the main purpose of the trustee is to serve the needs of the poor, a task he believes has been accomplished since he has taken office.

"The increase in services has been tremendous," Shirey said. "Our ability to provide utilities and meet medical needs have all increased."

Ralph Smith, Democrat

Smith is an educations specialist at Vincennes University. He has worked with human resources, budgets, facilities, equipments and environmental management.

Smith said he believes all people who are physically and mentally capable to work should be given the opportunity. He added this can be accomplished with classes provided by the trustee's office to make people out of work more employable.


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