When I started this local news blog in January of 2012, my aim was to fill the gap in news coverage about Fishers. The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ) and local TV stations would parachute in occasionally, but there was not a regular presence at meetings and events around Fishers.
Lindsey Erdody covers the northern suburbs for IBJ, but that includes a lot of territory. She is at Fishers events along with all the other communities in the area, when possible.
The weekly newspaper Current in Fishers does cover local news as best it can, being a weekly print publication. But that doesn’t lend itself to what is happening now.
My goal then, as it is now, is to provide the best information I can assemble into this news blog about what is happening in Fishers. I adhere to this saying from Woody Allen – “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”
This is the first time I have covered any county-wide politics or elections. In 2016, we have two Hamilton County Council candidates with strong Fishers ties. George Kehl is the long-time police chief in Fishers, set to retire in September. Jeff Hern is the Fall Creek Township Trustee (Fall Creek Township takes up a large portion of the city of Fishers).
Incumbent Hamilton County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt is being challenged in the Republican primary by local Fishers business owner Bill Smythe.
Fishers City Councilman Pete Peterson was first elected to succeed Pete Emigh as Hamilton County Republican County Chairman, only to have that vote overturned by the state GOP. Laura Campbell is now the party chair.
I make no commentary on any of this, it’s just that many of the people involved have Fishers connections, therefore I am paying more attention to all this than normal in my local-centric news blog that normally focuses on Fishers news.
What I find fascinating is how the larger media outlets are paying attention to the election in this year’s Republican primary in Hamilton County. The Star, IBJ and the television media are paying attention to the local election campaigns.
Even the public television weekly program on state politics, Indiana Week in Review, weighed-in on the county council race recently. What will all this media attention mean?
It’s my view that Hamilton County will see a much higher voter turnout than normal for a primary election. The presidential race in still alive in both parties. The added attention to the county elections will likely lead to more ballots being cast.
There is also a school funding referendum in Fishers, asking for property taxpayers to kick-in additional money over the next 7 years for operating expenses, aimed at lowering class size, better compensating staff and enhancing educational programs. Approval of the referendum could reduce or abolish recently instituted “pay to play” fees for athletics and some extra-curricular activities.
A higher than normal voter turnout could have an impact on the outcome of the Hamilton Southeastern Schools referendum vote. What impact that would be, no one knows.
As a reporter, this has been a lively election cycle to cover. And, as I write this, we still have a few more days to go.
On the Indiana Week in Review segment first aired on WFYI April 22nd, Democrat Ann Delaney explained how she views what is happening in Hamilton County. There are two parties here, she says, within the Republican Party, and those two factions don’t like each other. The campaigns we are seeing this year verify that observation.