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December 2, 2017

Steuben County Republicans gathered on Saturday, December 2nd for their regular monthly meeting. The Pledge of Allegiance to our flag was led by 3rd District Chairman Mitch Harper and the prayer was given by former State Representative Dick Dodge. Approximately 45 attended the event held at Timbers Steakhouse and Seafood Restaurant.

Vice Chair Mary Martin introduced several special guests including Mr. Harper and David Keller and his wife, Shannon representing Congressman Jim Banks office.

Following an optional buffet breakfast, Mary introduced Mr. Pete Seat, Executive Director of Strategic Comms & Talent Development, who serves on the Executive Staff of the Indiana State GOP in Indianapolis. Mr. Seat shared what his office is responsible for as they look at processes of the Indiana GOP and attempt to determine what is working and what is not working. There is a team of about 60 people who look at all facets of state government. One overall goal of the team is to defeat Joe Donnelly and replace him with a Republican. The office has spent considerable time and effort into updating the data structure and gather the best voting information for the general GOP to have on hand. With the updated information available, Mr. Seat projects that we will have a strong force in the upcoming election and will defect Mr. Donnelly.

Mr. Seat will conduct a short training session with Precinct Chairs and Vice Chairs following the general meeting.

After his presentation, Vice Chair Martin announced that the Lincoln Day Dinner will be held on April 4, 2018 and that Deb Twitchell will be the Chairperson. Speaker will be Kyle Hupfer, State GOP Chairman. Mark your calendars with the date and more details will be forthcoming.

State Senator Sue Glick and State Representative Denny Zent made brief remarks about the upcoming short legislative session. It was announced that Indiana Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch will be visiting Steuben County in the upcoming weeks. The Steuben Republican Women’s Group is attempting to reorganize; a short survey was distributed to gather information from the attendees. For more information contact Wendy Zent.

Christmas door prizes were drawn, and the meeting adjourned to meet on January 5th. The guest speaker will be Congressman and U.S. Senate Candidate Todd Rokita.

Karen Shelton, Secretary


October 7, 2017

Meeting was called to order by Vice Chair Mary Martin. Ruth Hill led the Pledge of Allegiance and Ken Shelton gave the Invocation. Mary introduced Steuben County Council Vice President, Ruth Hughes Beer as our guest speaker.

Ruth shared the process that the Steuben County Council goes through in receiving and processing requests for the annual budget. Department heads submit what they need/want; they are reviewed and discussed by the council prior during the actual budget meetings. The Council goes through the budget line by line, taking into consideration the requests of each department head. Once the budget is finalized, there are 3 readings before it is completed and sent to the state.

This year, the Council is hiring a full-time IT person to be on the county staff, as it is needed with the growth and changes in the county.

The new EMS Communications System is now up and running. It has been a long time coming, but will be long-awaited enhancement to our county’s offerings.

The Sheriff requested funds for upgrading his vehicle fleet. He stated he had $20,000 in repairs for current vehicles. The Commissioner’s approved $120,000 for Sheriff’s fleet. After purchasing new vehicles, it costs approximately $6,000 per vehicle for equipment installation.

Ruth was pleased to announce that they could provide Longevity pay raises and are finally where they need to be. The Judicial Center project has hired a consultant to provide suggestions for improvements to the overcrowded issue we now have. She was pleased that the Department Heads were very frugal in their requests to the Council. They could give a $500 wage increase to county employees. Council Jim Getz stated that he was proud they could hire Alex Dobson as the Veteran’s Affairs officer located in the Community Building.

Matt from the State GOP was on hand and addressed the group on the happenings at the state level; Paul Lagemann represented Jim Banks office and State Representative Denny Zent updated on committees and upcoming state plans. Senator Glick was absent as she is chairing Corn School in LaGrange this week.

Karen Shelton shared with the group the Council on Aging’s upcoming fundraiser “Dancing with the STARS & Stripes on November 11th and invited any veterans to come at no charge to the event, which will honor area veterans.

Mary acknowledged Ruth Hill and told her how nice it was to see her back at our breakfast meeting. Sheriff candidate, R.J. Robinson will be the November 4th speaker.

Karen Shelton, Secretary


September 9, 2017

Meeting called to order by Vice-Chair Mary Martin. Pledge was led by Joe Hysong and Ken Shelton gave the invocation. Guest speaker for the breakfast was Dr. Earl D. Brooks, II, President of Trine University.

Mary introduced Dr. Brooks, who gave an overview of the growth of Trine University over the past years. 2017 shows the strongest enrollment yet with 3,500 students based here in Angola and 1,500 across the state; 700 new freshmen are enrolled and more housing is needed right away. He is very proud of the School of Health & Wellness, which has the first PT Doctorate program available this year with PA degree coming next year. One of the most exciting ventures for the university is the Ice Hockey Arena which opened this summer. 129 youth participated in the first Learn to Skate program. Many thanks go to the Dekko Foundation for their financial support. The dedication is scheduled for later this week. The MTI (Metal Technology Institute) building is under construction currently and will house the golf course offices, bowling, and other entertainment offerings in the future. All are invited to come to the campus for a tour.

Dr. Brooks continued to state that we have 450 International students on campus from 29 countries. Students on the campus come from 36 states in the USA. He was asked how can the city/county help to keep students here after they graduate. His answer was “economic development”. It must be a “team effort” and Trine wants to be a vital part in that team.

Mary announced the dates of the 2018 State Convention to be June 8-9th in Evansville. Future breakfast speakers will be: Ruth Beer in October updating the group on the recent budget activity from the County Council; R.J. Robinson in November to share his goals and plans as he prepares to run for Sheriff; December will host Pete Seat from the Indiana GOP State Committee.

Wendy Zent showed a quilt that she made and donated to the Shepherd House, a home for homeless veterans in Fort Wayne.

Mary announced that plans are being made to resurrect the Steuben County GOP Women’s Club. Watch for more plans about this in coming months.

State Senator Sue Glick shared that she sees many “Trine T’s” on vehicles around the state as she travels. She discussed the Intern Program, which she feels is very good. Very proud of Trine University in our county.

Meeting adjourned at 9:20am – Next Meeting: Saturday, October 7th – 8am – Timber’s

Karen Shelton, Secretary


April 7, 2017

Steuben Republicans met for their regular breakfast meeting at Timbers on Saturday, April 1, 2017. Vice Chair Mary Martin welcomed the group and led in the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a prayer by Ken Shelton.

Final preparations for the 2017 Lincoln Day Dinner were discussed with the absolute final day to sign up being Monday, April 3rd. Governor Eric Holcomb will be the keynote speaker.

It was announced that Donald Trump, Jr. will be the keynote speaker at the State GOP Dinner on May 8 in Indianapolis.

Following an optional buffet breakfast, Councilman Ken Shelton introduced the speaker for the morning, Isaac Lee, Executive Director of the Steuben County Economic Development Corporation. Lee has been in the industry for over nine plus years. He spent time as the COO for The Chamber Partnership and Chamber of Commerce Executives of Ohio (CCEO). He was awarded a 20 Under 40 Award through the Toledo Market in Ohio in 2012 and was also voted as the 2012 Professional of the Year through Chamber of Commerce Executives of Ohio. He received his MBA from Defiance college and his Bachelor’s in Marketing and Human Resources from the University of Toledo. He and his wife, Kristen have four children and reside in the Defiance area.

In his presentation, Lee shared the excitement of The Enterprise Center nearing completion in Angola. Centered around the theme of “Learn – Connect – Thrive”, he enlightened the group with the capabilities that the center offers to our area. There are 4-CNC machines and 10 welding stations set up and ready for students. Work One will be moving to the center soon and will provide a hub for employment. A local entrepreneur, Lance Price has moved his project from his garage to the center and is the first “incubator project” at The Enterprise. It is hoped that others will follow. One of Lee’s major goals is to assist local businesses with retention of their current employees. He stated he dedicates approximately 75% of this time to this area, while 25% of his time goes for the attraction of new businesses. He excitement was apparent throughout his presentation and he invites anyone who is interested to come by and take a tour of the facility.

Additional Business:

  • Two GOP caucuses have been held recently: Locally, the GOP Caucus reelected the same team to serve another four years: Rick Michael, Chairman; Mary Martin, Vice-Chairwoman; Karen Shelton, Secretary and Ryan Herbert, Treasurer. The Third District Caucus was held on March 11 in Fort Wayne. Elected to serve were Mitch Harper, Chairman; Mary Martin, Vice Chairwoman; Pat Brown, Secretary and Matt Boyd, Treasurer.
  • State Representative Denny Zent gave an overview of what’s happening in the Legislature. The focus is “roads”; road bill is palatable and will be workable for all. Next three weeks will be intense with discussions going on about the appointment of the Public School Superintendent; budget; gun permits; and other miscellaneous bills before them. He announced that he feels he is now able to really make a difference and that he plans to run again in the next election. Last day of this session is April 22.
  • The Steuben County Council was acknowledged for taking a bold step with the LOHUT proposal. Council President Rick Shipe announced the Public Hearing which will be held on Tuesday, April 18th. Shipe explained the timetable that is required to reach the July 1st deadline for collections to begin in 2018 for availability in 2019. All are invited to attend this hearing. Councilman Ken Shelton thanked Denny, Sue and the other officials who have been working diligently on our behalf at the state level.

Meeting adjourned at 9:20am – Next Meeting: Saturday, May 6th – 8am – Timber’s

Karen Shelton, Secretary


March 4, 2017 Republican Caucus Minutes

Meeting of Precinct Chairs and Vice Chairs was held on Saturday, March 4, 2017 in the Board Room of the MSD Administration offices in Angola, Indiana. Republican Chairman Rick Michael called the meeting to order and a sign-in sheet was passed to all in attendance (list attached). The group recited the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer was given by Ken Shelton, Pleasant 5 Chairman.

Chairman Michael reviewed the rules of the caucus and announced that there were no other candidates for the chairman position. He will remain as the County Chairman for the next four years.


The floor was opened to nominations for Vice-Chair. Chairman Michael nominated current Vice-Chair Mary Martin; Dan Caruso (Pleasant 7-Chair) seconded. Jeff Rhoades (Jamestown 2 Chair) made a motion that nominations be suspended; Dan Caruso seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

Chairman Michael asked for nominations for Secretary and nominated current Secretary Karen Shelton; Jeff Rhoads seconded; Jeff Rhoads made a motion that nominations be suspended; Rodney Snyder (Scott Chair) seconded; Motion passed unanimously.

The floor was opened for nominations for Treasurer. Rodney Snyder nominated current Treasurer Ryan Herbert; Deb Twitchell (Vice-Chair Pleasant 1) seconded; Dan Caruso made a motion that nominations be suspended; Jeff Rhodes seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

The current slate of officers for the next year will be: Rick Michael-Chairman; Mary Martin-Vice-Chair; Karen Shelton-Secretary and Ryan Herbert-Treasurer. Their term will run until March 2021.


Chairman Michael discussed the Precinct Training that was held which was not as beneficial and successful as he had hoped it would be. Plans are being made for additional training soon and will be announced when finalized.

He thanked the group for their support during the successful Presidential Election and for their support of the Century Club. Donations to date for the 2017 Century Club are $5,100.00.

The Chairman asked those present to consider Indiana Republican State Rule 3-49: “The County Committee may delegate its authorization to fill ballot vacancies for local offices to the County Chairman, or to a caucus of the County Chairman, County Vice-Chairman, County Secretary, and County Treasurer, acting jointly, in accordance with IC 3-13-1-6(a)(2). When authorization has been given by the county committee for the chairman or county officers acting jointly to fill ballot vacancies, the authorization must be clearly stated in resolution form or reflected in the minutes of the meeting where the authorization was given. A copy of the resolution or copy of the minutes must be sent to the State Committee Secretary. All office vacancies must be filled by caucus. A motion was made by Earl Raskosky (Chair-Otsego 1). Seconded by Dan Caruso. After considerable discussion, the motion was rescinded. After another period of discussion, a motion was made by Ben Banks (Vice-Chair-Jamestown 2) to adopt the Resolution Authorizing the County Chairman or the Four County Officers to fill ballot vacancies following the 2017 primary election by appointment. It should be noted that this resolution is for the 2017 calendar year only. It was seconded by Dan Caruso. The motion passed.

The Chairman thanked everyone for their input and encouraged them to contact the Central Committee Officers at any time they have comments or questions.

Meeting adjourned at 10:50am.

Karen Shelton, Secretary


March 4, 2017

The March meeting was called to order by Vice-Chair Mary Martin, who led in the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a prayer given by Ron Smith. A delicious buffet breakfast was enjoyed by all.

Vice Chair Martin introduced Sheriff Tim Troyer as the guest speaker. The Sheriff provided a very informative program about Opioid: Pain Killer abuse in our area. He stated that the problem is growing as they are being prescribed by area physicians and then abused by either the person prescribed for or by someone who is obtaining them illegally. He provided several videos that showed the different types of opioids available and how they are being used by crushing, snorting, or injecting. A chart that was available showed that the abuse in our state is higher in the southern portion of the state. We are also seeing an increase in Fentanyl and Heroin drugs that are being imported from Mexico. With our current transportation system, a drug can come across the border and be in our state within 3-5 days. Warning signs were provided. The Inspect Program in our area that can track prescriptions has greatly assisted in the reduction of obtaining ingredients needed to manufacture drugs such as meth.

The Sheriff noted that there is a drop-off box in the lobby of the jail where anyone can come in and dispose of unused drugs. It is not advised to burn or flush them. 90% of prescription drug abusers start in teen years. The average age in our area is middle school. Fortunately, the schools do have program in place which try to let the students know the dangers of prescription drug abuse and that they do have a choice.

Several questions were asked by attendees including the Sheriff’s thoughts on the legalization of Medical Marijuana. He stated he feels it is a political issue and will result in additional legal issues.

For additional information or to schedule a program for your organization or group, contact the Sheriff’s office at 260-668-1000 x5000.

Additional Business:

  • Chamber of Commerce Legislative Forum: March 18 at Fabiani Theatre at Trine.
  • Lincoln Day Dinner – April 7, 2017 at Glendarin Golf Club - invitations in the mail week of March 6th.
  • Century Club – donations still being accepted. Donations to date: $5,100.00.

NEXT MEETING: April 1, 2017 – Guest Speaker: Isaac Lee, Steuben County Economic Development Director.

Karen Shelton, Secretary


February 4, 2017

The February meeting of the Steuben County GOP was held on Saturday, February 4th at 8am at Timbers Seafood & Steakhouse. Vice-Chairwoman Mary Martin welcomed the guests and led in the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a Prayer given by Dave Conklin.

Chairman Rick Michael announced that the 2017 Lincoln Day Dinner will be held on Friday Evening, April 7th at Glendarin Golf & Country Club.  Keynote speaker will be Governor Eric Holcomb. Invitations will be forthcoming.

The Steuben County Republican Reorganization Caucus will be held on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 10am at the MSD Corporate Headquarters.  All precinct chairs and their vice chairs are expected to attend and vote for the offices of Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.  More information will be sent in the next few days.

2017 Century Club invitations will be in the mail the week of February 6th.  Please join us in supporting our local GOP in the coming year.

Following a buffet breakfast, Steuben County Highway Engineer Jennifer Sharkey was introduced as our guest speaker.   She gave a very informative presentation regarding the Steuben County road maintenance situation.  She discussed the Local Option Highway User Tax (LOHUT) as well as other options being considered to bring in needed revenue to repair and maintain our roads.  In her comments, she stated $2 million annually is needed to maintain our roads properly.  Her budget for this year is $480,000.  She stated at the current time she estimates that 27% of our roads are in good condition, 62% in fair condition and 11% in poor condition.  She distributed a very informative handout and reviewed it for the audience.  A copy is attached.  More information is available on the Steuben County Highway website. Click Here for the LOHUT Handout!

Following her presentation, Councilman Ken Shelton announced to the group that Ms. Sharkey was honored recently as being the Highway Engineer of the Year for the State of Indiana and that Steuben County is very fortunate to have someone of her caliber at our highway department.

State Senator Sue Glick gave a short overview of what the Legislature is considering whereby the users would pay the taxes.  Approximately 24% of those who drive on our roads do not live in Steuben County.  She further discussed a proposed Federal Infrastructure Program that is being introduced by President Trump.  She stated that there is still some talk about making some of our interstates tollways, but at this point it is just talk and would need federal approval.

State Representative Denny Zent expanded on the road funding situation and discussed the two different taxes being presented.   Steuben County is a “donor county” and he and Senator Glick are working diligently to find the best solution for our county.

County Council President Rick Shipe thanked both Senator Glick and Representative Zent, as well as Representative Ben Smaltz for their tireless work on behalf of our area.   Further, he stated that the County Council is going to have to take some action by July 1st.  He discussed the “sunset clause” that will allow the council to rescind or reduce within a 3-4-5-year revisit and vote.   Council is going to have to be pro-active.

Don Shively announced that the Shriners once again took all 4th graders in the county to the Shriner’s Circus in Fort Wayne recently.  He thanked Steuben County Chief Deputy R. J. Robinson for organizing the police escort to the event.

Next Meeting:

  • March 4 ... Sheriff Tim Troyer - Program Regarding Opioid Use in our County
  • April 1 ... Isaac Lee – Steuben County Economic Development Director

Karen Shelton, Secretary


January 7, 2017

The January meeting of the Steuben County GOP was held on Saturday, January 7th at 8am at Timbers Seafood & Steakhouse. Chairman Rick Michael welcomed the approximately 60 attendees and introduced State Representative Denny Zent, who gave the Invocation. County Council member Ken Shelton offered the prayer. A moment of silence was requested from the audience for the Orlando shooting victims. The group enjoyed a buffet breakfast.

Vice Chairwoman Mary Martin reintroduced Representative Zent, who provided an overview of his goals and expectations as the 2017 Legislative Session begins. Zent commented on the Inaugural Weekend activities and the upcoming session tasks. He has already been assigned to several committees including the Local Government Committee. Some of the items that will be coming up include: the Heartbeat Bill, infrastructure, education, the budget, finding money for much needed road improvement. He discussed at length the funding for roads. He added that having Mike Pence as our Vice President will be a plus for Indiana. He compliments Senator Glick and state it was good to have her in the Senate to confer with. He also mentioned his survey that was sent out and encouraged everyone to complete it and mail it back. Zent fielded several questions from the floor and encouraged everyone to stay involved.

State Senator Sue Glick was next on the program. She, too, discussed the road issues, stating that “infrastructure is more than roads….and that we won’t want to kill truck traffic.” Working the Community Corrections is going to be an important issue coming up. She discussed the issues with the DOC and various county issues. It is good that LaGrange and Steuben are working together. Trying to work out a solution that fits all counties is almost impossible. She echoed some of Representative Zent’s comments on important issues coming up. She feels Governor Holcomb is going to be good for Indiana; he is proactive; like Mitch Daniels with an easier personality. He works well with others. She discussed the roles of the Lt. Governor Crouch and her many duties – our Lt. Governor has more responsibilities than most states. Glick is pleased with Jennifer McCormick as the head of the Department of Education. She has great ideas, is positive and well-prepared. Senator Glick will be Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee. She discussed the talk about tolling some Indiana interstate highways to bring in revenue and stated that it should be fair. If 65 & 69 are suggested, then also 465 & 469 should be included. She is excited about the coming session.

Sheriff Tim Troyer requested time on the program. He had just returned from a trip to Washington, DC with the Hendricks County Sheriff as representatives of the Indiana Sheriffs Association. They met with Senator Sessions; stating that the appointment of the Attorney General is very important. The drug problem is critical and with the enforcement of purchasing over the counter ingredients for meth making, importing has increased, as expected primarily from Mexico. Heroin has also become the prominent drug. Steuben had 5 Heroin OD’s in 12 months. Shipments can be from the border to our homeland in 5 days now with technology we have.

Craig Ralston, President of the Steuben Economic Development Corporation introduced new Executive Director Isaac Lee to the group. He invited attendees to talk to them after the meeting adjourned if anyone had questions about what is going on with the EDC.

Vice Chair Martin announced the following schedule for upcoming meetings:

  • February 4 ... Jennifer Sharkey - Steuben County Highway Engineer
  • March 4 ... Sheriff Tim Troyer - Program Regarding Opioid Use in our County
  • April 1 ... Isaac Lee – Steuben County Economic Development Director

Adjourned at 9:15am

Karen Shelton, Secretary