Five Republicans vying for two commissioner district seats


The May 3 primary election features just five races for countywide offices, and none of those involve Democrats.

Five Republicans will square off for the party’s nomination for the two county commissioner seats, of three, up for grabs in the general election in the fall.

Those districts represent the central and eastern parts of the county, and voters across the county have the chance to pick the GOP candidates for each seat for the Nov. 8 general election.

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In 2015, the county’s three commissioners each made $20,993.18.

The race for the party’s nomination for the District 1 commissioner seat pits political newcomer Drew Markel of Seymour against another newcomer, David M. Martindale of Brownstown.

No Democrat filed for that seat presently held by Republican Jerry Hounshel. District 1 represents Brownstown, Driftwood, Grassy Fork and Washington townships.

Hounshel, who lives in the Vallonia area, said earlier this year that he would not be running as a Republican. Minor party and independent candidates have until noon July 15 to file a petition of candidacy.

The race for the District 2 seat includes incumbent Thomas M. Joray, Donald M. Schnitker and Bob Gillaspy, all of Seymour. Democrat Bradley D. Smith of Seymour is running unopposed for that party’s nomination.

District 2 represents the eastern part of the county and includes Hamilton, Jackson, Redding and Vernon townships.

The District 3 seat, presently held by Republican Matt Reedy, will be up for election in 2018. The District 3 commissioner serves Carr, Owen, Salt Creek and Pershing townships.

Commissioners are responsible for maintaining and supervising county-owned property, including courthouses, the jail and other offices, and supervising the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges and to provide traffic control.

Each of the candidates have different ideas about why they would be a good commissioner.

Joray, for instance, points to his experience as the only incumbent for the District 2 seat.

“It takes a long time to get your arms around county government,” he said.

He also said it takes common sense, something he has abundance of, when it comes to making decisions for the residents of the county.

Schnitker said a person has to have a lot of time to be an effective commissioner, and that’s a commitment he is prepared to make.

“At this time in my life and career, I have time to devote to do the job very well,” he said.

Gillaspy points to his 40 years of experience building homes and developing subdivisions in the county as a plus.

“My business experience had taught me how to work with people and listen to their needs,” he said. “I have an understanding of budgets and have a conservative attitude when it comes to getting the most benefit for the taxpayers’ dollars.”

Martindale said if elected, he would draw upon his life experiences to guide him.

“I’ve lived most of my life in Jackson County and believe that gives me a good feel for what the county needs and where it’s heading,” he said.

Markel said people often run for office because of a personal gripe that they want to do something about, but he is running for one simple reason.

“I want to ensure county residents have a commissioner that is looking out for the public good,” he said.

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