HANCOCK COUNTY — Representing the county at the state level is something current Hancock County Council member Keely Butrum says she’s wanted to do for quite some time.
Butrum, a Republican, announced on her social media page Monday morning that she plans to officially file in February as a candidate to represent District 53 in the Indiana House of Representatives. Current and longtime State Rep. Bob Cherry announced earlier this fall he will be retiring after the upcoming session, creating the opening.
For Butrum, who by entering the state race effectively ends her time on the Hancock County Council in 2024, said she’s all in to take the next step in her political career and represent the county at the state level.
“I have actually planned for years to seek that office at whatever point Bob Cherry decided he wanted to retire, so this has long been my intention,” Butrum said.
Butrum, 39, is a native county resident and a married mother of two. She graduated from Greenfield Central High School in 2003. Butrum is in the third year of a four-year term as the at-large council representative for the Hancock County Council. Prior to being a part of county government, she was a representative of District 3 on the Greenfield City Council.
“My experience has shown me one of the most important parts of being a good elected official is being willing to stand your ground for the people even when doing so puts you on a hard road to travel,” Butrum said. “In the last three years on county council, I have repeatedly spoken out to ensure the constituents are heard on matters such as speculative warehouse incentives and government transparency, regardless of push-back.”
Butrum noted she understands and knows the people want representation from someone who will speak out on their behalf regardless of pressures from special interest groups.
“I believe this is one of the greatest strengths I have proven to offer in representing the people in District 53,” she said.
Butrum feels her time with the county council and Greenfield City Council have helped her gain valuable experience, something needed to represent the county and the rest of District 53 at the state level.
“It’s hard to put into words how valuable those experiences have been and are needed to be able to walk into a position like a state representative and be able to handle it,” Butrum said. “Even though some of the issues differ from the county level to the state, the reality is working with other elected officials and tackling complex, multifaceted problems with people who have a variety of experiences and views is a complicated process, but I’ve worked through those types of things already at the county level.”
Butrum feels analyzing and solving complex problems is one of her strengths. In addition to her time on two different city and county councils, Butrum also brings 20 years of financial experience into the race. She’s the owner of Lion Quest Consulting, is a current financial advisor and is also a former financial advisor at Raymond James.
“This type of work, I am compelled to,” Butrum said. “I believed years ago I would be a great representative of people in government because I’m reasonable, I am a good listener and I can evaluate all the different sides … Years ago, it clicked with me that what I like to do is analyze and solve complex problems, and government is just that.”
Over the next several months, Butrum plans to try and make contact with as many constituents as she can to communicate her background experience and future goals for the county.
“I’ve heard and I want to learn more about what the people expect from their elected official, the person representing them,” she said. “I hope to be able to, by the time people make their choice at the ballot, they are able to understand who I am and what kind of representative I would be.”
Butrum going for the state representative seat means her seat on the council in 2024 is up for grabs.
“Running for this state office I know is what I’m called to,” she said. “I don’t have any reservations in pursuing this.”
In addition to council work, Butrum also serves on many nonprofit organizations and boards.
“I’ve served on many local commissions, and that is just additional leadership experience that I carry,” Butrum said.
Butrum noted she’ll share more on her platform with the voters after she officially files when able in February, but she didn’t mind sharing some of her views on at least one community issue.
“I’ll go on record and say this — I’ve been an advocate for more resources both in the community and in our county jail for mental health and addiction recovery,” Butrum said. “Those are both very important.”