3 GOP, 1 Dem running for three seats in Andrews

Andrews Town Council candidates are (from left) Laura Dillon, John Harshbarger, Roger Newsome Jr. and Ray Tackett.
Andrews Town Council candidates are (from left) Laura Dillon, John Harshbarger, Roger Newsome Jr. and Ray Tackett.

Three Republicans and one Democrat are running for three seats on the Andrews Town Council.

The Republican candidates are Laura Dillon, John Harshbarger and Roger Newsome Jr.; the Democrat hopeful is Raymond Tackett.

Harshbarger is the lone incumbent running.

Laura Dillon
Dillon, 63, is the Andrews clerk-treasurer. She worked as the deputy auditor in the Huntington County Auditor’s Office, then as the deputy clerk-treasurer for the City of Huntington, serving in that role from 1985 to 2011.

With her term as clerk-treasurer ending and two members of the town council opting to not seek re-election, Dillon says the time was right to transition from the clerk-treasurer’s office to a council seat.

She notes that she has been around councils her entire career and that, if elected to the council, the transition would be a smooth one.

“I am familiar with how boards and councils operate, as the clerk-treasurer is the secretary of the town council and keeps all their records,” she says.

Dillon’s priorities if elected would be completing the first stage of the stormwater drainage project on McKeever Street and overseeing the buyout of properties in a flood plain on McKeever Street by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Dillon adds that she would pursue funds for the town from the state’s Community Crossings Matching Grant program for the repaving of streets and installation of sidewalks, as the council has done for the past few years. The town has received nearly $800,000, she says.

John Harshbarger
Harshbarger, 71, has served on the council for two terms. He says he was motivated to run again to provide continuity between the current and incoming council.

Harshbarger also remarks that he would like to continue working on the board’s current agenda items.

“We have several major projects in progress and I want to see them through to completion,” he states.

Harshbarger lists several accomplishments during his time on the council. The board had a new wastewater treatment plant built, replacing a plant that he describes as “in deteriorating condition and barely functioning.” Several streets were repaved, with sidewalks replaced, as well
as added. A stormwater board was established, he notes, which helped the town attain a $600,000 grant that will be used to improve stormwater drainage on McKeever Street.

The council worked on the Andrews-Dallas Township Public Library improvement project, which saw the library remodeled, expanded and made handicap accessible. The board also put in walking trails on the west side of town, says Harshbarger.

Cleaning up the town has been among the council’s priorities, states Harshbarger. To that end, the board has pushed for blighted properties to be cleaned up and, as a last resort, taken action to demolish them.

Harshbarger also touts improvements that have been made to the town’s various departments. New hires have been made in the police department during his time on council, says Harshbarger, and have resulted in a department that is efficient and professional. For the fire department, the board has approved the purchase of new equipment, as well as upgrades to the fire trucks. Additionally, the board constructed a facility for storage and maintenance for the utility department and supplied the department with updated equipment, says Harshbarger.
If re-elected, Harshbarger says his priorities would include providing a new community center for the town and continuing to make infrastructure improvements.

“It is my desire to preserve the culture of small-town USA and provide the services we all desire and deserve, not just for the next four years, but well into the future,” he says. “Only today’s hard work can insure a favorable tomorrow.”

Roger Newsome Jr.
Newsome, 54, is a political newcomer. He says he is running for a council seat to help Andrews grow and move forward.
If elected, Newsome says that he will work toward completing projects that were started by the previous council, as well as start new projects that would benefit the town.

Raymond Tackett
Tackett, 77, served on the Andrews Town Council for two terms, departing the board in 2015.

Tackett says he was motivated to run for a council seat once more for a variety of reasons. The town’s utility rates are too high, he says, and he would work to reduce them. He says he would continue to push United Technologies to clean the town’s water supply, as chemicals from the former United Technologies Automotive plant in town infiltrated the supply. He adds that he would like to see the United Technologies Automotive plant occupied by a new tenant or demolished. Additionally, he would look into solving the drainage issues that arise on Main Street when it rains.

“Being on council for two terms, I believe it gives me the experience to help manage the town funds,” states Tackett. “No unnecessary spending.”

The early voting period is underway. For a list of locations that offer early voting, visit the Elections page on www.huntington.in.us/county.
Election Day is Nov. 5.