ALEXANDRIA, Ind. —
Mellinger was the only candidate at the forum with previous experience as the county sheriff. He was elected as sheriff in 1990 and 1994 before getting elected to the state legislature. He currently works at the Marion County Sheriff’s Department. He still lives in Pendleton and said his desire to work for his community is what pushed him into this race. He wants to push for tougher, longer sentences against offenders who commit crimes against senior citizens and children.
Dunham said the sheriff has to be a multi-faceted individual capable of juggling many things and handling all kinds of situations. He said he has that ability thanks to his experience working for the sheriff’s department, running his own business and being a member of the U.S. Army. Dunham said he has learned a great deal from all of those experiences.
Kenneth Bryan, another Alexandria resident, said he got some good information from some of the candidates he didn’t know too much about, especially in the sheriff race.
“There were a few that impressed me tonight,” Bryan said. “The sheriff race is going to be big and I still don’t know which way I’m going to go on that.”
Melanie Wright hopes to challenge the current state representative from District 35, Republican Jack Lutz, for his seat in November. Both of them spoke to voters Wednesday about their vision for Madison County.
Lutz lauded several items initiated by the Indiana General Assembly in 2014 including new tax cuts and the establishment of a pre-K program as signs of the progress Indiana is making.
Wright, a teacher for 26 years, said she wants more local control for schools instead of so much direction from the government. She said she does not like a recent law that ties teacher evaluations with student test scores. She said too many other variables go into making a good teacher.
Darlene Likens, county clerk; Linda Smith, county recorder, and Steffanie Owens, county commissioner, were also on hand to talk to voters and let them know what their respective offices do.
The primary is May 6 and the general election is on Nov. 4.
Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB, or call 640-4847.