Columbus voters to choose City Council members today

Today is Election Day and Columbus voters will be deciding on a full slate of candidates for City Council, with every race contested.

District 1 covers mostly the former East Columbus neighborhood plus parts of downtown including the Ninth Street Park area.

The incumbent there is Dascal Bunch, a Republican. He is running for re-election to his third term against Democrat Jerone Wood and Michael Kinder, an independent.

Bunch is turning 65 this month. He is retired. He has a son and a daughter, and seven grandchildren. He has been elected to the District 1 seat twice before. He spent one year at Ball State University. He is on numerous boards through City Council appointments. He is very active with St. Peters Lutheran Church and the Ninth Street Park Neighborhood watch and the Robie and America Anderson Community Center.

Wood is turning 31 this month. He is a leasing consultant. His parents are James and Lisa Wood, his brother is James Wood, his sister is Whitney Gaines. He is married to Sierra and has four children, along with a dog name Chance. He graduated from Columbus East and attended Indiana State University. This is his first time seeking election. He held various positions while in college and has been active coaching at the Boys and Girls Club. He is a member of Calvary Community Church.

Kinder is a 29 year old engineer at Cummins. He is single and has a bachelors in science in automotive technology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He has never run for office before. He is the vice president of the columbus economic development commission and said he regularly attends City Council meetings, as well as 9th Street Park neighborhood watch groups and the Columbus police department community review board. He is a member of Grace Lutheran Church.

District 2 covers the downtown area, but also stretches all the way out to Tipton Lakes and down to Walesboro.

The incumbent there is Elaine Wagner, a Democrat. The is her first term and she is running for re-election against Republican Jim Hartsook.

Wagner is 33 and she is an account manager. Her parents are Ryan and Jean Hou, she has a little brother Ethan and Jordan Hilber is her significant other. She holds a degree in marketing from the IU Kelley School of Business. She is finishing her first term on the Council and serves on the board of the United Way, and in the Rotary Club, and has previously served on the board of Foundation for Youth. As a council member she serves a liaison for the parks board, on the Commons board and the incentive review committee.

Hartsook is 43 and he is I-S manager of end point system services for Columbus Regional Health. He is married to Tawny, and they have three sons. He has a bachelors in education with an emphasis in sports management from Bowling Green State University. He has never run for office before. He was formerly in charge of IT for Bartholomew County government and was one of the founding board members for the Indiana Government Technology Leaders Association and served on the Bartholomew County telecommunications and data board and served as an ad hoc member of the Columbus mayor’s technology advisory committee and served on the city parks and recreation board. He is a member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church and served on the church’s operations board.

District 3 covers an eastern slice of the city stretching from Lincoln Park, out 25th Street to McCulloughs Run.

The incumbent there is Dave Bush, a Republican. He is finishing out Frank Jerome’s term on the council after Frank moved out of the city last year. He is running against Democrat Katea Ravega.

Bush is 34 and the president of Kenny Glass Inc. He is married to Katy and they have three children. He has a civil engineering degree from Purdue University. He has never run for office before, but was appointed to the City Council earlier this year after Frank Jerome moved out of town. He is a lifelong member of St. Peters Lutheran Church and sits on the church operations board. He is a member of the Turning Point board of directors and is on the city aviation board and the city plan commission. He also participates in BarCon Builders through BCSC and he coaches soccer for parks and rec.

Ravega is 42 and a health care attorney. She is married to Marco and they have two girls. Her father Don Fry, is a deputy prosecutor in Jackson County, and her mother is Jeri. She graduated from Columbus East High School and then Valparaiso University with a degree in international economics and earned her law degree at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. She has never run for office before. She is a member of the American Society for Pharmacy Lawyers and other work-related organizations such as the Bartholomew County Bar association. She serves on the Bartholomew County Board of Health and recently joined the Joseph Hart Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Her great grandfather was the Democratic treasurer of Bartholomew County in the 1940s and her great-great grandfather served in the state legislature.

District 4 covers an area in northeastern Columbus running north from 25th Street to the airport, and then roughly east to the area out along Rocky Ford Road including Par 3 golf Course and Richards Elementary..

The incumbent there is Republican Frank Miller. He is running for re-election against Democrat Michael Schumacher.

Miller is 66 and retired. He is married and they have three adult daughters. He earned a bachelor’s of science degree at Ball State University. He is running for his third term on Columbus City Council. He is a charter member of Westside Community Church. During his business career, he served on many different boards, and as a council member his now serves on 11 different boards.

Schumacher is 32 and is an engineer for Cummins. He is married to Denise, they have one daughter and one on the way. He earned a bachelors of science in mechanical engineering from Rose Hulman Institute of Technology and an MBA from IU. He has never run for office before. He serves on the board of Just Friends Adult Day Services, has been taking part in the Public Safety Academy and attended the United Way’s Board Boot Camp class.

District 5 covers northwestern Columbus, stretching from Noblitt Park, out Indianapolis Road and along Washington Street almost to the airport.

The incumbent there is Republican Tim Shuffett. He is seeking his third term on the City Council. He is running against Democrat Ross Thomas.

Shuffett is 56 and is an estimator for Case Construction. He is married and they have two adult children. He holds an associate’s degree from Western Kentucky University. He has represented District 5 on the council for two terms. He is a member of Westside Community Church and serves on the fellowship committee there.

Thomas is 50 and is an attorney. His wife is America and they have three children. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political economy from Tulane University and his law degree from Indiana University law school in Indianapolis. He ran for state senate last year. He serves as president of the local youth baseball board that works with Columbus parks and recreation.

There are two at-large seats on the Council and four candidates running, two Democrats and two Republicans. There are two incumbents running for re-election Republican Laurie Booher and Democrat Tom Dell. And there are two challengers running, Republican Josh Burnett and Democrat Grace Kestler. The top two voter-getters will serve on the council for the next four years.

Booher is 55 and is the owner of Poportunity, a popcorn store that hires those with special needs. She has three children and her youngest son has special needs. She holds a master’s degree in physical therapy. She served on the Redevelopment Commission before running for City Council.

Dell is 65 and co-owner of Dell Brothers clothing store on Washington Street in downtown Columbus. He is married to Kathy and they have a son. Tom graduated from Ball State University with a business degree. He is active in the Chamber of Commerce and the downtown merchant’s association and is serving as president of the Garland Brook Cemetery Board.

Burnett is 31 and is communications coordinator for Bartholomew Consolidated Schools. He is married to Katie and they have two sons and a daughter. He holds a bachelors degree from Cincinnati Christian University. He is a member of the BCSC School Foundation board, Columbus Rotary Club, First Christian Church, the city’s visitors information and promotion committee, the visitor’s center grants committee and Columbus Young Professionals. He is a graduate of Leadership Bartholomew County, the Columbus Public Safety Academy. He also serves as a baseball coach for Columbus Parks and Recreation and is on the Bartholomew County Jail’s Residents Encounter Christ team.

Kestler is 30. She owns her own consulting firm and works part-time at Advocates for Children as community outreach coordinator. She grew up here and her parents are John and Elizabeth Kestler and she has a sister and brother. she went to St. Peters and Columbus North, and has a bachelors degree from DePauw University and a masters degree in culture and conflict studies at Alice Solomon University in Berlin. She is a member of the BCSC transition council, continuous improvement council, the United Way’s board governance board and the volunteer action center board and the Columbus Young Professionals.