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October 31, 2012

Challengers face incumbents in race for Floyd County Council

Six candidates vying for three at-large spots

FLOYD COUNTY — The face of the Floyd County Council could change following the Nov. 6 election. Two incumbents running for re-election face challengers and the council president, Ted Heavrin, was defeated in the May primary and will be leaving the council Jan. 1.

Currently, the council is made up of four Democrats and three Republicans. On Election Day Nov. 6, voters will choose three of six at-large candidates.

Incumbents Carol Shope and Brad Striegel seek another term and will be joined on the ticket by fellow Democrat Larry Clemons along with Republican challengers Steve Burks, Billy Stewart and Jim Wathen. Voters can vote for three of the six at-large candidates.

DEMOCRATS

Shope, 69, is seeking a third term on the council while Striegel is completing his first term. Clemons finished third in the Democratic primary ahead of incumbent Heavrin, and will also be on the ticket.

Shope said she wants a third term to finish some unfinished business.

“I believe there is still a lot that needs to be accomplished,” she said. “I have a good sense of direction and vision where we should be headed.”

Shope said working with the city and funding a third Camm trial are at the top of the list.

“We don’t have a choice, but I am not happy about it,” she said of another Camm trial. “I would like to see 911 dispatchers brought together to save money. There is just too much division between the city and county. Floyd County is just not big enough for us not to get along.”

Striegel, 34, said the “greatest challenge facing Floyd County is the budget.” He said he would like to see the county grow, which would help bring in more tax dollars.

“I would like to see the county attract new businesses,” he said. “I want to meet with business leaders to see what can we do to attract businesses to Floyd County.”

Striegel also said he wants to work better with the city.

“It doesn’t look like we will be able to mend fences concerning the parks, but I know the county will do what we can to keep parks open and not compromise services,” he said. “I hope some good comes out of this. Maybe we can restructure some things.”

Shope, a former school teacher and business owner, said she wants to focus on quality-of-life issues.

“I have been encouraged to run again by several groups. I like politics,” she said. “We desperately need more businesses in the county. I’m proud of downtown [New Albany] but the fringe area is growing.”

Striegel said the upcoming capital murder cases definitely “put a burden on the budget.”

“The budget shortfall has been an issue for several years. I want to make sure quality of life is not affected by those murder cases,” he said. “I’m tired of [David] Camm being an excuse for not getting behind important issues.”

Calls made to Clemons seeking comment were not returned.

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