CLARK COUNTY —
As Clark County’s government continues to struggle with a tight budget, two of the county’s commissioners face election challenges.
In District 1, Democratic incumbent Ed Meyer is challenged by a political newcomer in Republican Rick Stephenson. In District 2, Democratic incumbent Les Young squares off against former county council member and Republican Jack Coffman.
MEYER VS. STEPHENSON
In addition to being a three-term commissioner, Meyer also served four years on the county council. Meyer, a school teacher employed by Greater Clark County Schools, is running on a platform that puts his experience first.
“Experience is number one,” Meyer said. “I have had college courses on budgets and financing, and combining that with working through 16 county budgets have given me the insight and knowledge of what needs to be accomplished.”
Stephenson, his opponent, is running for political office for the first time after retiring from the Army Reserve at the rank of sergeant-major. Stephenson is certified in several military occupational specialties, including financial auditor, internal review auditor, personnel specialist, accounting specialist and computer systems analyst.
“I’m running for commissioner because my love of public service with the federal government and with the Army Reserve,” Stephenson said. “After I retired, I just decided to continue on. Also, the state of affairs within Clark County is one of the other reasons. I have a financial background in budgeting, and I feel that Clark County has more of a spending problem than an actual revenue problem. So that will be one of my emphases when I get into office.”
Meyer says he has worked with the State Board of Accounts, taking credit for a clean audit performed on the county by the auditing agency in 2011. He said he also worked with the SBA to minimize the county’s budget problems, which he blames on the decisions of the 2007 county council.
“We are not where we should be yet, but it is my goal to achieve a realistically funded budget by the year 2014,” Meyer said.
Meyer said he recognizes that the county’s budget is its top challenge, and says he helped make experts available to the county council as they struggled with budget decisions.
“With this said, I am constantly working closely with One Southern Indiana and the Reuse Authority of River Ridge to promote more business and industry,” Meyer said, “not only to bring in good-paying jobs, but also help support the tax base to lessen the burden on homeowners. I am also striving to develop infrastructure to make other parts of our county attractive to business and industry.”
Stephenson lists the budget as Clark County’s biggest problem, but he said the current commissioners are a part of another problem with county government.
“The present administration, and I’m talking about most of them, feel that the individuals and the citizens of the county work for them, when actually the opposite is true,” Stephenson said. “Our politicians have lost touch with the residents of Clark County. We need to be out in the county. We need to be seen in the county. We need to know what issues are affecting all portions of the county.”
Stephenson said he would do a better job of working with the county council on issues facing the county.
“We’ve got a great bunch of people on the council now,” Stephenson said. “We just need to sit back and have everybody check their egos at the door and understand that the more we get done, the better job we do. It’s not about Democrats, and it’s not about Republicans. It’s about the council and the commissioners. If we all work together and we accomplish great things, then they don’t have to worry about being re-elected. The people will want us to stay on and work together.”