Monday, May 3, 2004

Dearborn hopefuls focus on growth


It's an issue in Tuesday vote

By Jon Gambrell
Enquirer contributor

LAWRENCEBURG - Development in Dearborn County will be the major issue in Tuesday's primary election.

There are primaries for two county commissioner seats and for Indiana governor candidates.

Dearborn, which has three county commissioners and a seven-member council, has two Republican races without Democrat challengers.

District 1 County Commissioner Karen Shell is looking to hold onto her seat against challenger Mark Hall.

Dearborn County, home to nearly 47,000 people, is one of five of the fastest-growing counties in Indiana. Hall fears the county could turn into a "large subdivision" for Cincinnati-area workers.

"I want to make sure the people are heard as opposed to the special interests," the 50-year-old said. "With this increased development, there is a loss of rural character."

Hall, a farmer and lifelong county resident, has worked on several campaigns to slow development.

But to 60-year-old Shell, who has served as county treasurer and auditor, sewer and road construction are the most important issues.

"The county is getting developed and it's important to have an infrastructure reassessment," she said.

"Things are developing quite nicely. We need to bring in more business to not be a constant bedroom community."

In District 2, Richard Fox and farmer Jeff Hughes are looking to take the seat being vacated by Democratic County Commissioner Dan Batta.

Hughes, 38, a carpenter, calls "tax efficiency" the county's primary concern.

"If we're not using tax money the most effectively, it is costing people here in Dearborn County services," he said. "Personally, I think it could be done better."

While saying he wanted accountable development, he doesn't want to "sacrifice property owners' rights" to stop development.

Hughes said he hopes to bring more manufacturing jobs to the county.

Fox could not be reached for comment.

Gov. Joseph E. Kern faces no challenger in the Democratic primary. Republican voters will choose between Eric Miller and Mitch Daniels.

The Associated Press contributed. E-mail jgambrell@fuse.net.




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