Crowded field vying for county council spots

Six Republicans and two Democrats will be on the primary election ballot for at-large Jackson County Council seats.

Three of the Republicans receiving the most votes and both Democrats will be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot. Three people ultimately will be elected, joining the other four members, who each represent a county district.

The Republicans facing off are John Nolting of Brownstown; Ralph Collins of Medora; Dave Hall of Norman; and Joseph “Joe” Bowman, Ann Cain and Fred Gill, all of Seymour.

The two Democrats are Steve Ritter of Norman and Kathy Schafstall of Seymour.

The county council has the ultimate decision-making power regarding fiscal affairs. It has the authority to view or review fiscal matters, determine proper policy and set priorities for the allocation and expenditure of county funds.

This year in Jackson County, each member’s salary is $6,910.44.

Nolting currently is serving his second term as president of the Brownstown Town Council. He said that experience and his employment background encouraged him to run for a county office.

“I worked over 40 years managing supermarkets, which taught me how to manage personnel and budgeting,” he said. “I have learned how to set budgets and work within those budgets. These past four years serving on the Brownstown Town Council have taught me a lot how local government works and the needs of the taxpayer.”

Collins, a landfill and transfer station manager, has gained political experience as a member of the Jackson County Board of Zoning Appeals.

“I manage multiple locations, all with budgets over a million dollars,” he said of his occupation.

If elected, Collins said he would work to ensure the county council “stays within budget and treats taxpayers’ money as if it is coming out of your pocket.”

Hall, an insurance agent and bail bondsman, also has learned about politics by serving on the Owen Township Advisory Board.

“I have been an independent crop insurance agent and bail bondsman in Jackson County for the past 15 years,” he said. “Managing my business without debt has taught me to set a budget and spend within my means.”

Cain is a political newcomer, but she said she learned a lot while working for 10 years as a business owner, including handling budgets and accounts receivables and payable. She currently is a real estate broker.

“In order for the council to keep the budget balanced and not dip into savings, I think it is imperative to be watchful of wasteful spending by evaluating what expenditures are proving to be beneficial to the community and which are not and taking action to move those funds to areas that are worthwhile,” she said.

Neither Bowman nor Gill returned questionnaires sent to them by The Tribune.

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Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at or 812-523-7080.