County office up for grabs

A Seymour Republican hoping to win a second four-year term as Jackson County’s District 3 commissioner will have to fend off at least three of his fellow party members in the May 3 primary.

Incumbent Thomas M. “Tom” Joray filed his declaration of candidacy Tuesday at the clerk’s office. Later that day, Donald Schnitker of Seymour also filed to run for the seat.

Bob Gillaspy and Bradley M. Smith had filed declarations of candidacy for the seat Jan. 6, the day the filing period began. It ends Feb. 5.

This past year, each of the three commissioners, Joray, Jerry Hounshel and Matt Reedy, received $20,993.18 in compensation to serve on the board.

Schnitker said he has never run for a countywide office before, but he has been a member of the Hamilton Township board for a number of years, and he’s president of the Jackson County Fire Chief’s Association.

As part of that job, he has served on the board of Jackson County Emergency Medical Services, the county 911 board and the board of Jackson County Emergency Management Agency.

Schnitker said those jobs have given him a good feel for how county government works and how budgets are put in place.

“I’ve really enjoyed doing that work,” Schnitker said. “I like the emergency services part of it.”

Schnitker said serving the county as commissioner is a job he has always thought about pursuing, and at 57 years of age, he decided it’s time to do so.

The key to winning the primary will be getting his name out and being available to voters, Schnitker said. That might even include starting a Facebook page or website, he added.

Joray could not be reached for comment about his decision to seek a second term.

The only other race on the ballot at this time features incumbent Treasurer Maria L. Fisher of Norman facing a challenge from Republican newcomer Roger Hurt of Brownstown.

The only other new filing for a countywide office is Republican Bruce MacTavish, who is seeking a six-year term as Jackson Superior Court II judge. That court opened Jan. 1, 2008, and MacTavish is the only judge to ever sit on its bench.

There also are Republican candidates for county District 1 commissioner, Drew Markel of Seymour; for surveyor, incumbent Dan Blann of Brownstown; and for auditor, incumbent Kathy Hohenstreiter of Seymour.

Democrat Andy Rumph of Seymour also has filed for coroner.

At a glance

County residents interested in filing for one of the 10 countywide offices up for election this year have until noon Feb. 5 to file paperwork with the clerk’s office in the Jackson County Courthouse in Brownstown.

For information, call the clerk’s office at 812-358-6116.

County positions up for election in the May 3 primary include:

  • County commissioner District 1
  • County commissioner District 2
  • County council at-large (three seats)
  • County treasurer
  • County auditor
  • County surveyor
  • County coroner
  • Jackson Superior Court II judge
Author photo
Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.