News and Tribune

Election 2012

October 4, 2012

Candidates play nice at voter forum

Centerpiece debate called off due to Young’s no-show

JEFFERSONVILLE — The 2012 elections in Clark and Floyd counties took center stage Wednesday at the Jeffersonville River Stage.

Candidates from both counties took turns introducing themselves to each other and voters at the 2012 League of Women Voters Candidate Forum, a forum that was largely gloves-on thanks to the lack of a U.S. congressional debate, which had been a mainstay of previous League forums.

Republican incumbent Todd Young has agreed to meet Democratic challenger Shelli Yoder for two debates in this election cycle. Yoder had previously lobbied for 13 debates, one in each county in the 9th Congressional District. Neither Yoder nor Young were present Wednesday.

“It’s very disappointing that a candidate decides that the two most populous counties won’t have access to a debate,” said Barbara Anderson with the League. “Accessibility to voters is what we’re all about.”

Anderson said that Yoder had agreed to the debate, but Young’s campaign had disregarded requests for a debate in Clark County.

Each local candidate spent a brief amount of time highlighting their experience and talked about why they wanted to run for office. But no one really ever took a shot at their opponents.


Although State Rep. Ed Clere (R) wasn’t on hand, his opponent, Democratic challenger Sharon Grabowski, explained that her 31 years as a teacher and administrator gave her the know-how to work in Indianapolis.

“I learned to bargain through consensus (as a teacher),” she said. She went on to say she hopes to do the same thing in the state house.

“The citizens of Floyd County need a voice in Indianapolis,” she said.


Experience was the theme of the Republican candidates for Clark County Commissioners, while the Democratic incumbents touted improvements to infrastructure made during the current term.

Jack Coffman, the Republican candidate for commissioner in District 2, said his time running a chimney-sweep business and working as a member of the Clark County Council gave him the experience to do the job.

“I’ve always had that background of total service,” Coffman said.

His opponent, Commissioner Les Young, said the construction of Star Hill Road in Borden will bring new jobs to the county.

“If you don’t have the infrastructure, they won’t come,” Young said.

Young said while the county had been having money troubles, the commissioners had worked to “streamline” costs.

Holding his grandson in his arms, Commissioner Ed Meyer pointed to the arrival of Amazon to Clark County as evidence of the commissioners’ success in advancing the county’s economic fortunes, while his opponent in District 1, Rick Stephenson, pointed to his finance background as a 37-year veteran of the U.S. Army and Army Reserves as an indicator of his future success as a commissioner.

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