State GOP candidates make campaign stop in Seymour


Jackson County Republicans gathered Friday evening to greet three officeholders seeking re-election.

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, Treasurer Kelly Mitchell and Auditor Tera Klutz talked with potential voters at Chillicen in downtown Seymour.

The event marked an unofficial kickoff to the campaign season for the local Republican Party as candidates and voters begin to turn their attention to the Nov. 6 general election.

“I think Labor Day is kind of the mark where the general election campaign starts to pick up a little bit,” Jackson County Republican Party chairwoman Amanda Lowery said ahead of Friday’s event. “I think you’ll begin to see Republican candidates out and about more.”

Local residents filled the room, listened to candidates speak and indulged in some sweet treats.

Jeff Shutters said he attended the event to gain an insight on state offices.

“I thought it was very interesting listening to the ladies speak about their jobs and informing us about what their jobs consist of,” he said.

Lawson, who was appointed secretary of state in March 2012 by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels, is running for her second full term after re-election in 2014.

As the top election official in Indiana, Lawson said her office has been working diligently to protect the state’s election systems in the wake of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

“I can’t tell you how much we’ve done,” she said.

Dan Coats, director of national intelligence and former senator from Indiana, said in July, the “warning lights are blinking red” of Russia’s efforts to commit cyberattacks against the United States, and 12 Russian agents have been indicted on charges of hacking the Democratic National Committee and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Much of Lawson’s work has been in collaboration with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and has included “cyber hygiene scans” every two weeks to ensure the office is implementing its plan correctly along with several assessments, intrusion detection that monitors internet traffic and more.

Lawson also has been issued a security clearance that will allow her information if such a cyberattack would occur.

With all of the work that has been done and continues to be done, Lawson said she wants voters to feel confident heading into Election Day.

“I feel confident that Election Day is going to go well and we’ll have monitors there, security there and we’ll be ready,” she said.

But that doesn’t mean the work is done, she said.

“I know we’ve done everything and have followed the best practices, but I also know this is a moving target, so we’re going to stay vigilant all the way through the election,” she said.

Lawson will face Democrat Jim Harper and Libertarian Mark Rutherford in her bid for a second four-year term.

Klutz, who was appointed state auditor — the state’s chief financial officer — in January 2017, said she is the first certified public accountant to hold the office.

The former Allen County auditor also has worked in the private sector.

Transparency is a priority for her, and the office recently launched an enhanced website, she said.

“You can get a lot more information and can also get interactive data,” she said.

Klutz said her office also has started to purchase more technology to make things more efficient.

“We have over 100 agencies trying to take Indiana to the next level, and we’re trying to coordinate that effort so we make the best use of taxpayer money,” she said.

She will face Democrat Joselyn Whitticker and Libertarian John Schick.

Mitchell was elected state treasurer in 2014 and also is running for her second term.

She said the state treasurer is the chief investment officer for the state.

“It’s my job to watch about $5 to $7 billion each day and make sure it’s safe,” she said. “We’ve also returned $100 million in yields to the state, and that’s something I take pride in.”

The treasurer also oversees the 911 program, college savings programs, bond banking and more.

“Every day, in some way, our work touches people,” she said.

Mitchell recently wrapped up a 25-county tour of communities that have used the Text 911 program the most. She said the state has the largest deployment of the program and recently acknowledged two years of the program.

“I wanted to see how it is being used statewide and help get the word out that it is available,” she said.

Mitchell will face Democrat John C. Aguilera in the general election.

Lowery said having the three visit Jackson County helped give voters some clarity to the offices they serve.

“It gives people some personal insight to the jobs these ladies are doing and the role they play keeping Indiana working and functioning while heading in the right direction,” she said.

No posts to display