Republicans to call caucus after Travis sworn in as judge

Jackson County Republicans have called a caucus for 6 p.m. June 27 at Seymour City Hall to address ballot vacancies for the Nov. 6 general election.

The party’s precinct committeemen will select candidates for a number offices including Jackson County prosecutor, which became open after former Prosecutor AmyMarie Travis was appointed judge to Jackson Superior Court I on May 18.

Travis replaces former Jackson Superior Court I Judge Bruce Markel III, who retired at the end of May. Travis was sworn in Thursday during a ceremony at Jackson Superior Court I in Seymour, and Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Chalfant has taken over as prosecutor by state statute.

Chalfant also has tossed his hat into the ring to be placed on the ballot as the party’s candidate for prosecutor in the general election.

Jackson County Republican Party Chairwoman Amanda Lowery said Chalfant is the only person to step forward for the prosecutor position at this time.

“No one has reached out to me to express interest,” she said. “I’m unbelievably proud that Amy was selected as judge, and I hate to lose her as a candidate. I know whoever we select as a candidate will put in the same work.”

The precinct committee from each of the county’s 30 precincts will select a candidate for prosecutor since it is a countywide office.

The deadline for filling ballot vacancies for the Nov. 6 general election is June 30.

Jackson County Democrats have not called a caucus yet, but Democratic Party Chairwoman Jeanette Hackman said the party plans to hold one soon.

She declined to name what offices the party was trying to field candidates for but said the party is talking with potential candidates.

Democrats didn’t have candidates for circuit court, assessor, clerk, prosecutor and District 3 commissioner for the May 8 primary election.

Republicans also plan to select a number of candidates for vacancies on the ballot for the general election, including multiple township boards including Jackson, Redding and Vernon.

A full courtroom witnessed Travis being sworn in and members of her family held the Bible during the ceremony. Her sisters help Travis put on her judge’s robe following the swearing-in, and Markel gave Travis the state seal to hang on the wall behind the bench.

“I’m very excited and blessed and really ready to start,” she said following the ceremony.

Travis was in court Friday, but her first day on the bench is today.

Since Travis is the former prosecutor, there are conflicts for criminal cases filed before she was sworn in and even probation violations. The court handles all criminal misdemeanors, traffic citations, complaints and foreclosures.

The county will utilize senior judges Robert Bennett of Washington County and Chris Monroe of Bartholomew County in cases that cause a conflict because of Travis’ time as prosecutor.

Bennett and Monroe will be paid by the state’s special judges program, which pays former or retired judges to oversee cases in matters of conflict or the absence of a judge. The cost will not come from the county’s budget.