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May 4, 2019

Republican Chairman Rick Michael welcomed the group, followed by the Pledge to our Flag and a prayer offered by County Councilman Ken Shelton. Everyone was invited to enjoy the optional buffet breakfast prepared by the fine Timber’s Staff.

Guest speaker for the morning was newly elected Sheriff R. J. (Rodney) Robinson. The Sheriff opened by stated that he has been in law enforcement for 24 years and is in his first term as Sheriff. He stated this has been a long-term commitment for him and that being Sheriff is a unique position as each county operates differently. One of his biggest concerns so far has been the per diem amount for his inmates, which has not been changed since the 80’s. The current amount is $35 per day. The Legislature did approve a small increase this year and will look at it annually. We have a great Community Corrections Department and the changes in Felony Levels have allowed Level 6 Felons to remain at home. The average for the census at the jail is 100 inmates. Currently, the Sheriff’s Department has 23-Road Troopers, 28-Jail Employees and 3 Cooks, who prepare approximately 300 meals a day. They responded to approximately 5,000 road calls last year. Service calls will increase as lake residents return to the lakes. The Sheriffs Department assists with lake patrols, but has less than six reserves dedicated to the lakes. Some additional statistics that he gave were: 70 Registered Sex Offenders reside in our county; Handgun Permits increased and 60% of those issues were to women; Jail Ministries are active at the jail and there is a noticeable calm among the inmates after attending these sessions. When asked about having armed teachers or officers in the schools, he stated that there is now a Sheriffs Deputy in the MSD schools in addition to the School Resource Officers and the schools pay for them to be present. He is not in favor of arming teachers; would rather let them teach our children and not be burdened with security. Compliments were given to Cardinal IG in Fremont for their efforts in providing protective glass for the school entrance windows. In the event of a major crisis, there is a back-up plan already in place. The protective glass will not keep intruders out but will buy time to allow teachers/administrators to put the plan in action. Thank you, Sheriff Robinson, for the great job you are doing already in Steuben County.

State Senator Sue Glick addressed the group with updates from the recent legislative session. She presented a handout (click to view/download document) that provided an overview of the budget, noting that 50% of the state budget is dedicated to education. 93.5%-public schools; 4%-charter schools; 2.5%-voucher schools. Indiana spends $10,000 per child in our school systems. School bus safety was a big issue this year. There was a one-day poll of bus violations which counted 3,080 violations. Other measures that are being taken include ride-a longs, equipping buses with cameras and officers writing tickets for violations. Distracted drivers (texting/phones) is a major cause of the violations. Funds were allocated for the Department of Children Services, which has enormous caseloads. The state is making strides in this area, which has struggled since the federal cutbacks on Medicaid. Our state does have a $2 billion surplus, which is our “rainy day fund”. A question was asked about the Hate Crime Bill. The Senator responded that the one that passed is not her original bill, but it provides that a judge can enhance the sentence for a crime committed on a person under 14 or over 65, pertaining to women, sex, religion, people of color and race. She reported that Representative Zent has authored several Veterans Bills that she supported and were passed. The focus is to get veterans to return to Indiana to live. Retired military pensions are tax-free, and the bills also support educational benefits, training opportunities and children benefits.

Mayoral Candidate Joe Hysong shared briefly about his candidacy and urged everyone who is eligible to vote in this election to get out and do so. Vice Chair Mary Martin also commented on this and stated that the other candidate Justin Kent has not been in contact with any of the party officials for support during this primary.

Chairman Rick Michael gave a brief financial overview stating that we have $18,749.99 in our account at this time, which includes $8,580 from Century Club memberships. There is still time to join the Century Club by visiting the GOP website ( He also noted that there will be a Republican Breakfast on June 1 and the speaker will be from Americans for Prosperity Program. No meeting in July. Lincoln Day Dinner was very successful, and plans are in the works for a Fall Dinner/2020 Fundraiser with a prominent guest speaker.

Vice Chair Mary Martin mentioned Internships for students. If interested, see her regarding serving for US Senator Braun. State Internships are available as well by contacting Senator Glick and Representative Zent.

Dates to remember:
May 14th – Americans for Prosperity Program at Fabini Theater-Trine University from 5-8pm
May 16th – Candidate Training Program by Mitch Harper – details to be announced
May 26th - 90th Birthday Open House for Ruth Hill – 1-4pm – Sutton’s Event Center

Karen Shelton, Secretary


April 6, 2019

GOP Chairman Rick Michael welcomed the large group of Republican’s followed by the Prayer given by Dennis Rider and the Pledge led by State Representative Denny Zent. Attendees enjoyed an optional buffet breakfast blended with conversation.

City Councilman Dave Martin, who is running for reelection, addressed the group beginning with his slogan “Hey, it’s me or nobody.” He gave an overview of why he is a Republican and desires to continue with his service on the City Council.

State Senator Sue Glick was next on the agenda sharing that the State Legislature is in the final couple of weeks of this session. Some of the bills this year were tough ones, such as the Late Term Abortion Bill and the School Bus Safety Bill. The last bill before them will be the Budget Bill.

State Representative Denny Zent stated he would refrain from remarks at that time and would have some remarks at the upcoming Lincoln Day Dinner on April 12th.

Guest speaker for the day was City Councilman and Mayoral Candidate Joe Hysong. Joe gave an overview of his background stating he was born in Philadelphia; went to school in Kentucky and ended up in West Palm Beach, Florida. He has always ben an avid fitness enthusiast and enjoys bike riding. He came to South Bend, Indiana in 2002 and was a Car Dealership Management Trainer. He then ventured to Angola to be a part owner of the Harold Chevrolet team and married Angola’s most eligible bachelorette, Libby. He literally fell in love with the Angola community and sought to find out what Angola needs and what can he do to fill that need. A visit to Brown County in their off-season made him wonder what “magic” they had to attract folks there in their non-leaf season. Hysong spoke of the need for affordable quality child care and the need for sidewalk from the railroad north on North Wayne street. He wondered why our humane shelter is nicer than our homeless shelter. Why do people move to Angola? A mission trip to Haiti helped him confirm his goal to make Angola a better place to live for “the least of these” – our children and our people. Hysong has made the decision to run for Mayor and had signs, door hangers, bumper stickers and other information available for the attendees.

The Chairman mentioned that we have $5,480 in our Century Club account for 2019. He reminded everyone that the Lincoln Day Dinner is Friday evening, April 12 at Glendarin. Guest speakers will be Senator Todd Young. There are 145 signed up to date. We will again have two tables of high school students at the dinner thanks to the sponsorship of Senator Glick and Representative Zent. A reminder to all elected officials to bring their door prizes that evening.

The May Breakfast will be held on May 4th and the speaker will be Sheriff R. J. Robinson. We will then adjourn our breakfast meetings until end of summer.

Adjourned at 9:05am

Karen Shelton, Secretary


March 2, 2019

The Steuben GOP met at Timbers Seafood & Steakhouse with Vice Chair Mary Martin presiding. The prayer was given by County Councilman Ken Shelton and the Pledge was led by State Senator Sue Glick. Special guest introduced was Steve Justus, representative for the Office of Congressman Jim Banks.

Guest speaker for the event was Steuben County Commissioner Lynne Liechty. After giving a brief overview of her younger years growing up visiting Bledsoe Beach with her parents and being 50% grounded in our area, she discussed how the Harris/Motorola communications project became one of her focal points in her first term as commissioner. She shared how she met with local interested parties, such as the late Ronnie Kane and former Communications Director Ken Lowden to gather information concerning the major project. Liechty traveled around the state doing her research on the changeover to the Motorola system that would enable all emergency personnel to communication with each other as needed. She praised the current Communications Director Gary LaTourneau for his vast knowledge and his untiring work on getting this project to completion. She was very appreciative to the County Council and everyone involved for their support.

She fielded questions regarding the Steuben County Courthouse project stating that the County Council has approved $7.5 million for the project. There is also a $500,000 American Disabilities grant available. Options include adding onto the current courthouse, purchasing an existing building, or building a new facility. Meetings are being held with area engineers to assist in deciding for the best path to pursue. Don Shively, who is a Mason, stated that they do not need money, but would be willing to talk if it works for both sides.

Bill Hill announced that a 90th birthday Open House is being planned for May 27th for Ruth Hill, who will be 90 on June 12th. Location and other plans will follow later.

April Breakfast will be on Saturday, April 6th with Mayoral Candidate Joe Hysong as guest speaker.

Adjourned at 8:55am

Karen Shelton, Secretary


February 2, 2019

Meeting called to order by Vice Chair Mary Martin. Pledge to our Flag was led by State Senator Sue Glick and Councilman Ken Shelton gave the prayer. Approximately 40 people were in attendance. A buffet breakfast was enjoyed by all.

Guest speaker was Steuben County Deputy Coroner Rodney Snyder, who has announced his intentions to run for the Coroner position in 2020. Current Coroner Bill Harter’s two-term limit will be completed at that time. Snyder acknowledged Harter for his leadership and a former Coroner Frank Baade, who was in attendance. He stated that Harter is a great boss and that the office runs smoothly under his leadership. Currently, there are five on the Coroner’s staff, including four deputies and the Coroner. Snyder has served in the Coroner/Deputy Coroner position in Steuben County and neighboring counties for over twenty years and stated he is very passionate and committed to our great community. Snyder shared that one of the most important facets of the Coroner position is compassion in dealing with the families of the decreased during a very emotional time in their lives. Further, he stated that the office is governed by the Indiana Coroner’s Association and they provide the continual training that is needed for the position and to keep updated on new laws and changes. Following his presentation, there were several questions from the floor regarding the signing of death certificates, the Steuben Morgue and the increasing Opioid crisis, which he said has not been a Coroner problem in this county as of now. (Handout attached with additional Coroner information)

Chairman Rick Michael announced important dates to remember: 1) March 11-State Dinner in Indianapolis, which the Steuben GOP will probably have a reserved table; 2) April 12-Steuben County Lincoln Day Dinner with Congressman Todd Young as guest speaker. Details will be forthcoming; 3) Century Club invitations will be in the mail in the next couple of weeks and we need the financial support to carry out our various projects and programs. He noted that Friday at noon is the last date to file for county offices. To date, Joe Hysong has filed to run for Mayor and Gary Crum, Jerry McDermid, Dave Martin and Justin Kent have filed for positions. We are seeking candidates to run for the City Council positions currently held by Democrats Dave Olson and Kathy Armstrong, as well as the possibility of candidates for the Middle and South Commissioners positions.

The Chairman also announced that Vice Chair Mary Martin is now the Regional Director for Senator Mike Braun.

State Representative Denny Zent gave a brief overview of what is happening in the Legislature. Bills include: Curtailing substance abuse tracking of prescriptions for not only medical doctors, but now veteranians; Teacher salary increases; Legalizing marijuana and the cost of treatment and counseling that overshadows the revenue.

State Senator Sue Glick discussed the Hemp Bill and the discussions that are going on with those issues. She stated that her recent district survey regarding the marijuana issue was in favor of passing the legalization of it. She also discussed teacher’s salaries and the positive support that is coming from the Governor’s office. Overall feeling is that there should be more salary decisions coming from the local school boards than from the legislature. She stated they are two weeks out before the end of the term and many bills to be dealt with.

Chairman Michael announced that currently we are in good financial position with approximately $10,000 in our account.

March speaker will the County Commissioner Lynne Liechty. The date is Saturday, March 2nd.

Adjourned at 9:15am

Karen Shelton, Secretary


January 5, 2019

Meeting was called to order by Vice-Chair, Mary Martin who welcomed the group of approximately 50 people to the first meeting of the year. State Senator Sue Glick led in the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag and County Councilman Ken Shelton gave the invocation. 

Following an enjoyable buffet breakfast, our speaker of the day was Steuben County Council President Rick Shipe. In providing a little historical information, Mr. Shipe shared that he had been on the council since 2011, when he was caucused in to fill the spot of John Hughes, who has passed away. He stated that he relies heavily on the county auditors and gave kudos to past Auditor Pam Coleman and current Auditor Kim Myers. He serves on the county with six other unique people who have been elected to serve for the betterment of the county. To be financially responsible is their primary job. He has been President of the Council for four years.

To explain the duties of the Steuben County Council, he provided all attendees with an informative brochure (available at the Auditor’s Office): “There When You Need Us – County Government”. Shipe reviewed the operating budget, which is approximately $23 million this year. In discussing this year’s goals, he stated they hope to streamline the workforce and was pleased to report that the number of employees hasn’t changed. The Council wants to find ways to get county wages up without having to raise taxes. They also have some big projects on the horizon. The Courthouse renovation project which will encompass a new Judicial Building is a major project. The council has given the Commissioner’s financial guidelines to work with. The possibility of a casino locating in Steuben County was mentioned and that will have to be investigated. Shipe stated that will bring in revenue to our county but also a different class of people. He was asked about the Event Center and how it is working. He looks at it as an amenity for the county. Some area very pleased with it and some are not. Rural Broadband was mentioned, and he stated there are no plans at this time until the commissioners bring it to the council. State Senator Glick made comments regarding this and stated there are going to be some funds available she believes, and it will come through the Lt. Governor’s office. Glick will be attending a briefing on the Aquafer situation. The Legislature is just now seeing bills and will be working on the budget items including water/natural resources, child services (2018 budget was spent by March; had to ask for additional funds three times); education and pay raises. Biggest issue will be how to fund all the many needs.

State Representative Denny Zent took the floor to add that there is a lot of media coverage going on to help keep people aware of the what is going on in Indianapolis. As the bills are presented, legislators will look over, study and get feedback. Broadband to rural areas is really needed. Economic development is always a priority. Northeastern corner is a favorite destination for our Governor and Lt. Governor, which is very good for our area.

Vice Chair Martin introduced and thanked Kraig & Mary Whiting for their volunteering at the headquarters during the Fall Election period. She also asked everyone to remember Bob Grygienc, another of our faithful volunteers, as he is recovering from open heart surgery.

2019 Century Club letters will be forthcoming, and we encourage everyone to become a member and support our local Republican Party. 

At the end of the meeting, all newly elected/re-elected officials were asked to come to the front of the room to be introduced and thanked.

LaGrange County Lincoln Day Dinner will be held on May 9th and the Governor will be their guest speaker. The Steuben County Lincoln Day Dinner details will be announced as soon as speaker details are confirmed.

See you all on February 2nd!!!

Karen Shelton, Secretary