MONTICELLO — Saturday afternoon’s meet-and-greet with a handful of local, state and federal Democratic Party candidates outside the White County Building didn’t result in much of a turnout.
But each of the candidates all agreed they were able to accomplish quite a bit earlier in the day.
Among the candidates present were Tabitha Bartley, a disabled US Marine Corp veteran running for State Senate District 7; Darin Griesey, candidate for White County Commissioner; Joe Mackey, who is running for US Congress in Indiana’s 4th Congressional District; Alex Sabol for District 25 state representative (covering White, Tippecanoe, Carroll, Cass and Clinton counties); and Loretta Barnes for District 13 state representative (covering portions of White, Jasper, Benton, Fountain, Montgomery, Newton, Tippecanoe and Warren counties).
During the morning and early afternoon, each participated in a literature drop in which they left brochures and other information at the doorsteps of residences around the city.
“We didn’t just target Democrats. We want voters out to the polls,” Mackey said.
Because of the COVID-19 health emergency, each opted not to knock on doors.
Mackey said he spent some time chatting with residents along Lake Freeman, who are currently fighting a federal mandate from the US Fish and Wildlife Service over the draining of the lake to help save a smattering of endangered freshwater mussels downstream from the Oakdale Dam. Water levels have reportedly dropped about seven feet in the last seven weeks.
“I had a nice conversation with someone at Lake Freeman. He was clearly a Republican, but there was very little we disagreed on in regards to the lake,” Mackey said. “We have failed to create a comprehensive environmental plan, and that’s what opens the door for catastrophes like this to happen — and the plan needs to come from the community.”
Sabol and his wife, Arielle, spent the entire day in Monticello. They visited Kinser’s Bakery to chat with local residents and eat breakfast.
“What’s great about being here, in this time that is kind of weird, is I want to make sure people know that I’m out to connect with voters and understand what’s important to them,” he said.
Sabol said he attended the “Save Our Lake Lives” rally on Oct. 3 that was geared toward amplifying local citizens’ concerns about the Lake Freeman situation.
“I was surprised the person who led it wasn’t one of our representatives. It was a local citizen,” he said, referring to lake resident Gary Baldwin. “I took issue with that because it’s representative job to lead. I think I can bring that type of leadership to the Statehouse and to our area.”
Bartley, who lives in Monticello, paid a visit to Best’s Bowling Center on Rickey Road for the “Rolling into Recovery” fundraiser for the United Council on Opioids in White County.
“I have PTSD and am very open about it,” she said. “I’m very vocal and we need people in leadership positions who are vocal about mental health and changing the stigmas and perceptions.”
Bartley said she was able to meet with a few voters, including two who drove from the Brookston area to speak directly with her.
“They had some questions that they wanted to ask,” she said. “For me, it’s not about how many votes I can get but how much impact I can make. So for me, today was a win.
“I don’t want to get votes to get votes; I want to earn it,” Bartley added. “As a Marine, that is important to me.”
Griesey said he’s taking another shot at the county commission seat and hopes to “bring some sunshine to the darkness.” He ran against John Heimlich in the previous election.
Upon hearing that Heimlich was retiring after 30-plus years in office, he decided the best way to serve the county is through the commissioner’s office.
“I want to bring some synchronicity to the courthouse. There has been a lot of dissention among the elected officials, the commissioners and the clerk,” Griesey said, without getting into specifics. “The community gets underserved if we’re not all working toward a larger goal.”