Election filing period set to begin

County residents with a desire for public service can begin filing for the 10 countywide offices up for election this year at 8 a.m. Wednesday at the courthouse in Brownstown.

The list of offices up for election this year include county commissioner District 1 and District 2 seats, the three at-large county council seats and Jackson Superior Court Judge II.

The nation also will elect a president to replace President Barack Obama, who is in the final year of his second term, and that bodes well for voter turnout unlike this past year, county Clerk Amanda Lowery said.

“The presidential race is going to drive some interest,” she said.

This past year, just 11.4 percent or 1,356 of 11,816 eligible voters went to the polls to vote in municipal elections in Brownstown, Crothersville and Seymour. There was a total of five races on the ballots in those three municipalities and no race for mayor in Seymour.

Jackson County voters also will help find a person to fill the shoes of the state’s present Ninth District Congressman, Todd Young.

Young will be pursuing the U.S. Senate seat being left open by the retirement of Republican Dan Coats. Other Republicans who already have announced decisions to seek Coats’ seat are former Indiana GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb and Third District Congressman Marlin Stutzman.

Former Congressman Baron Hill, a Seymour native and Democrat now living in the Indianapolis area, also plans to seek Coats’ seat.

At least five Republicans and two Democrats have announced their intentions to seek Young’s seat.

The District 44 state senate seat presently held by Bedford Republican Brent Steele also is up for election along with the three Indiana House districts that serve Jackson County. Steele announced in mid-2015 he will retire at the end of this year to spend more time with his family.

The House districts serving the county are District 65, presently held by Bedford Republican Eric Koch, who intends to seek Steele’s seat; District 69, which is presently held by Seymour Republican Jim Lucas; and District 73, which is presently held by Salem Republican Steve Davisson.

Lucas said he already has made the decision to seek a third term in District 69 that includes part of Brownstown Township and all of Hamilton, Jackson (Seymour), Redding, Vernon and Washington townships in Jackson County and parts of Jennings County.

“I enjoy serving the people and affecting good law,” he said.

Vallonia Republican Jerry Hounshel, who presently holds the District 2 county commissioner seat, said last week that he had not yet made a decision about seeking a third term. District 2 serves the middle part of the county, including Brownstown.

Seymour Republican Tom Joray is wrapping up his first term as District 1 commissioner. District 1 serves the eastern part of the county, including Seymour and Crothersville.

Seymour Republican Bruce MacTavish presently sits on the bench of Jackson Superior Court II in Brownstown. He’s the only person to ever sit on the bench of the family court, established Jan. 1, 2008.

The three at-large county council seats are presently held by Republicans Joseph Bowman, Charlie Murphy and Becky Schepman. Other county offices up for election this year and the incumbents are treasurer (Republican Maria Fisher); auditor (Republican Kathy Hohenstreiter); and surveyor (Republican Dan Blann).

There will be at least one new county officeholder this year as coroner Roger Wheeler, a Democrat, completes his second term. State law limits the coroner and the sheriff’s office to two terms.

Voters from both parties also will elect delegates to the state conventions, and Republicans also will elect precinct committeemen.

Voter registration began the first of December, Lowery said, and there are now plenty of ways to register, including visiting her office in the courthouse or online at indianavoters.com. Voter registration forms also are available at license branches and libraries. Voter registration for the primary ends April 4.

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Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.