Four vying two council seats in Fortville


GREENFIELD — As Fortville continues to grow, attract more businesses and improve Main Street, four residents say they’re eager help lead the town toward its bright future.

Four candidates are vying for two District 1 Fortville Town Council seats. Incumbent Republicans Ron Stafford and Janet Manship are seeking re-election and are challenged by independents Lenzy Hendrix and Pat Calhoun.

Manship, an attorney, has served on the council for five years and said she’s running for re-election because she wants to help keep town moving in the right direction.

Its business community continues to grow, and the council is eyeing grants to build sidewalks and trails throughout the community, she said.

“The town council is working together as a unit,” she said. “It’s been a long time since Fortville has had cohesiveness between the council and the departments.”

The lifelong Hancock County resident said, if re-elected, she’s looking forward to helping complete the town’s comprehensive plan and seeing it implemented, working to extend the town’s water system to homes and businesses outside the corporate limits and seeking grants to help pay for a variety of projects to enhance Fortville.

As the only woman on town council, Manship said she brings a different perspective than her male counterparts. She said she always does her homework before deciding on an issue, and as an attorney, she’s practiced mediation, which she believes serves her well in the position.

Calhoun also believes his career experiences will aid him in being a good council member. He’s retired from the Internal Revenue Service, where he worked as a special agent investigating financial crimes.

As the town continues to grow, it’s going to face challenges that’s he’s prepared to handle, he said. One of the biggest challenges likely will be keeping the town’s small-town atmosphere as more businesses and residents move to the area, he said. It will be important for town leaders to help manage that growth by improving the town’s infrastructure and preparing a comprehensive plan that will help guide leaders as they make decisions regarding land use and development.

“What I’m about is improving the quality of life in Fortville,” said Calhoun, who has lived in Fortville for nearly a decade. “I want to make Fortville more walkable, more resident-friendly than it is now.”

He’s been in leadership roles since early on in his career and currently runs his own investigations business. He said those roles have helped prepared him to lead the town.

Hendrix served on town council from 1991 to 1995 as an independent and said he worked well with the other members, who were mostly Republican. Two decades later, he’s running to give voters a choice and to lend his expertise to the board.

He has business, architecture and urban planning experience, which he believes will be an asset to the board as the town tackles issues about the affordability of living in Fortville and planning for the future. 

A nearly lifelong resident, Hendrix is responsible for restoring several old buildings on Main Street and said he has the experience to continue to attract economic development to the town.

“My heart has always been in Fortville and its best interest,” he said.

If elected, he’ll be committed to the residents, because as an independent, he has to answer to no one but the voters, he said.

“I promise to listen and do what’s best for the people,” he said. “If people aren’t satisfied with what’s currently going on, I’m an option to make some changes.”

Stafford has lived in Fortville most of his life and is seeking a third term on the council. He’s also served on the Hancock County Area Plan Commission and the Mt. Vernon Community School Corp. board. 

His goals include helping to revitalize downtown, maintaining a transparent government process and helping to plan for the town’s growth.

“Things are running pretty smooth, but we can improve the community,” he said. “I would just like to see the community growing in a managed way. I feel like it shouldn’t be forced.”

All the candidates say they’re prepared to serve Fortville and to help it grow while still maintaining its small-town atmosphere. The council and clerk-treasurer races will be the only Fortville contests on the ballot Nov. 3.

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Fortville has five town council seats, and members serve four-year terms. The town council is the legislative body, meaning it adopts ordinance and resolutions, which can pertain to many aspects of town operations. It’s also charged with approving a town budget and overseeing how town funds are spent.

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Patrick Calhoun

Age: 67

Party: Independent

Occupation: Retired special agent for the Internal Revenue Service

Political Experience: None

Family: Wife, Linda; three children; two stepchildren; three grandchildren

Lenzy Hendrix

Age: 62

Party: Independent

Occupation: Retired architect

Political Experience: 1991-1995 Fortville Town council; Fortville Redevelpment Commission

Family: Four children; two grandsons

Janet Manship

Age: 44

Party: Republican

Occupation: Attorney

Political Experience: Five years on town council

Family: Husband, Jay; two children

Ron Stafford

Age: 77

Party: Republican

Occupation: Retired

Political experience: Two terms on town council; Hancock Area Plan Commission; Mt. Vernon Community School Board

Family: Wife, Judy; five children; 13 grandchildren