Candidates for council, commissioners debate health insurance

Candidates for Bartholomew County Commissioner and for County Council at large seats debated last night at a community forum sponsored by the Sierra Club Winding Waters Chapter and Energy Matters Community Coalition.

Republicans and Democrats took part in the event, although county Democrats don’t have any contested races in the May 3rd primary. Republicans will choose between three candidates for the County Commissioner District 1 seat and five candidates for the at-large seats on County Council.

Candidates had few large differences between them, although they did split on term limits. County Commissioner Larry Kleinhenz, who is in his 23rd year on the commissioners and County Councilwoman Evelyn Pence, who has served for 30 years on the council, said they felt the question was directed at them and they both opposed term limits. They both argued for the value of experience in choosing elected officials and in the importance of letting voters decide who to support.

Candidates also were divided on whether part-time elected officials such as the council and commissioners should be offered health insurance on the county plan, especially with recent cuts in part-time employee hours to keep them from being able to access the insurance.

Jorge Morales and Susan Thayer Fye, who are running for commissioner District 1 against the incumbent Kleinhenz, both said they would not use the county insurance if it was offered. Kleinhenz said he does take advantage of the insurance and thinks it is an important benefit to entice people to run for county offices.

The forum was held at the Bartholomew County Public Library Red Room

Here are the candidates responses on the health insurance question:

County Commissioner District 1

Susan Thayer Fye, Republican

04-07 susan thayer fye health insurance for web

Jorge Morales, Republican

04-07 jorge morales health insurance for web

Larry Kleinhenz, Republican

04-07 larry kleinhenz health insurance for web

County Commissioner District 3

Brad Woodcock, Democrat

04-07 brad woodcock health insurance for web

Rick Flohr, Republican

04-07 rick flohr health insurance for web

County Council at-large

Jim Reed, Republican

04-07 jim reed health insurance for web

Evelyn Pence, Republican

04-07 evelyn pence health insurance for web

Lynne Fleming, Democrat

04-07 lynne fleming health insurance for web

Pam Clark, Democrat

04-07 pam clark health insurance for web

Bill Lentz, Republican

04-07 bill lentz health insurance for web

Gaby Cheek, Democrat

04-07 gaby cheek health insurance for web

Republican council candidates Mike Lovelace and Matt Miller did not attend the forum.