Before transferring to the Kokomo Tribune in 2006, I had covered politics and government in Anderson and Madison County since 1973.
For many years I wrote a weekly political column for the former Anderson Daily Bulletin and The Herald Bulletin. After spending seven years commuting to Kokomo, I’m excited about returning to my roots in Madison County.
Today marks the return of my weekly political column, which will focus on what is happening behind the scenes of Madison County politics, along with city and county government.
It has been more than a decade since J. Mark Lawler, the former four-term mayor of Anderson, has appeared on an election day ballot.
But a check at the Madison County clerk’s office revealed that Lawler’s campaign committee still exists. An annual campaign finance report was filed by Lawler, from Florida, as required by state law.
A Democrat, Lawler was first elected mayor in 1987. He won re-election in 1991, 1995 and 1999.
The campaign finance report indicates that Lawler’s committee still has a cash balance of $15,071.60. Those funds could be donated to another candidate for elective office.
Contacted in Florida, Lawler said he's waiting for the right candidate for mayor to contribute his funds. Lawler said he would like to see state Sen. Tim Lanane, R-Anderson, run for the office.
“People keep talking to me about coming back,” Lawler said, laughing.
The rest of the story
On the day Republican Sam Hanna announced his resignation as chief of the Elwood Police Department, he addressed a meeting of the Madison County Tea Party in Alexandria.
Hanna's official statement claimed that he resigned because he was concerned that his campaign for Madison County sheriff would have an adverse impact on Hatch Act federal funding for Elwood.
His resignation came just two days after Melissa Brizendine was fired, on orders from Elwood Mayor Ron Arnold, from her position as the police department’s secretary.
“I’m a man of integrity,” Hanna told the Tea Party gathering. “I do what is right. I was asked to do some things I couldn’t do. So I moved on.”
The scuttlebutt in Elwood is that Arnold had requested that Hanna resign as police chief — or face termination.
Brizendine, the wife of former Elwood Police Chief Jason Brizendine, was reinstated to her position the same day. Reportedly, the Elwood Board of Public Safety was prepared to overturn Arnold’s decision to terminate Brizendine, who was honored as the police department's Employee of the Fourth Quarter.
Seventy-five years ago was the last time a bottle of beer was brewed legally in Anderson and Madison County.
The Norton Brewery was on the west bank of the White River along Eighth Street. The location is now the home of the Madison County Jail.
A California craft beer brewing company is considering Anderson as a location for a new facility. City officials have been in contact with the Escondido-based company.
Senior Reporter Ken de la Bastide's column will publish Sundays.