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Unopposed candidates share plans

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GREENFIELD — While most candidates will spend the weekend before Election Day shaking hands and trying to sway last-minute deciders, a few local candidates don’t have to break a sweat.

There are three uncontested candidates for county office on the local ballot, and several uncontested school board candidates. While they don’t have to work hard to know they’ll win the election, they still have ideas and plans for the next few years.

Tom Stevens is seeking a second term on the Hancock County Board of Commissioners. Janice Silvey, former county treasurer, is running for the seat again. Longtime county Judge Richard Culver is running for his final term on Hancock Circuit Court.

School board candidates who are unopposed are incumbents Dan Leary, Greenfield-Central District 1; Scott Petry, Eastern Hancock District 2; Bill Niemier, Southern Hancock District 2; and Tom Tucker, Southern Hancock District 4.

Stevens, a Green Township resident, said he is seeking a second term because he enjoys being on the county’s three-member executive branch.

Stevens almost had an opponent this year; Fortville resident and former town councilman Jeff Ratliff considered challenging him as an independent, but decided not to. Stevens said because there were rumblings of a contested race earlier in the year, he campaigned with yard signs during the primary election season. But now there are only a half dozen out.

“I’m not extremely surprised (I’m unopposed),” Stevens said. “It would take a pretty tremendous effort to unseat me right now. I think the general population is well satisfied with the job that I’m doing, and I just think I have a tremendous amount of support throughout the county.”

Stevens retired in 2003 after 37 years in the transportation industry. A civil engineer, he spent the final years of his career as the highway department director for Hamilton County.

That experience made him a natural to lead the planning for the Mt. Comfort Road corridor project, including the roundabout that in the last two years has been controversial among constituents and elected officials alike.

But Stevens says “most people share the county’s vision for the future” and agree that the corridor should be expanded for economic growth in the area. He also believes the entire board has been more transparent to the public in recent years.

“I think the commissioners as a whole, as a board, have been a lot more open, a lot more approachable,” Stevens added. “We have included the public a lot more than maybe the boards in the past have.”

For the next four years, Stevens said he want to focus on road maintenance projects throughout the county. He was disappointed that the state did not allow Hancock County to change the way its income taxes work to put more money toward road maintenance next year. He said he wants to work with state legislators in 2013 to find funds for local roadwork.

Stevens has lived in Hancock County since 1965. He is married to Carole and they have two children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Silvey is a lifelong Hancock County resident, having grown up in the Eastern part of the county. She now lives in McCordsville with husband Jeff; they have two grown sons.

Silvey started working at the county treasurer’s office in 1977, immediately after high school. She was elected treasurer in 2000 and served two terms.

State law, however, has term limits for the treasurer’s office and Phyllis Vest has served in that position during the last four years. Vest is not seeking re-election.

While T.J. Lightle of New Palestine showed interest in the seat, Silvey was the only other person who had filed for the office.

The county treasurer collects property and inheritance taxes.

“I just want to continue to serve the public and help them,” Silvey said.

In the next four years, Silvey said she would like the office to accept credit card and debit card payments. While cards can be accepted online, she said it would also be convenient for the office to be able to accept cards as well.

She would also like the county to partner with banks, so banks can also take tax payments and send them to the county. She said that would offer another convenience to property owners.

Silvey said she would like to serve an additional four years after this term. And while she hasn’t been campaigning hard for office, she has been involved in parades and festivals. Silvey is also chairwoman of the Hancock County Republican Party.

Culver has been a county judge for 24 years, and said this upcoming six-year term will probably be his last.

Culver is a father of two and married to Paula; they have lived in Hancock County since 1981.

Hancock County Circuit Court handles felonies, mortgage foreclosures, divorce cases and automobile accident cases.

“I still enjoy the job, and Hancock County is a wonderful place to live and work,” Culver said. “The county has been very good to my family and I, and my thought was, this is where I would close out my career.”

Culver said after his term he may continue to practice law here.

Culver has had only one election opponent; that was in 2000. He says running for judge is different from other offices in that it’s difficult to announce specific plans for office. That’s because every case must be judged according to its own merits, and judges must apply the law fairly and accurately, he explained.

“You’re remembered more for what you did last and less for what you did first,” Culver said. “My goal is to be the best possible judge I can be for the last six years.”

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