Four races in municipal primary have multiple GOP candidates

Four races on the 2019 municipal primary election ballot – three in Huntington and one in Andrews – have multiple Republican candidates, giving voters some choices when they go to the polls on Election Day, May 7.

In Huntington, four common council seats are contested, one in District 2, one in District 4 and two seats At-Large. Three positions are also up for election on the Andrews Town Council.

• The Common Council Second District has two candidates, incumbent Paul L. Pike and challenger Paul Scalf.

Paul L. Pike*
Pike, 56, has served as a member of city council for two terms and is seeking a third. He graduated from Huntington North High School in 1981 and earned a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from St. Francis University in 1986. He is currently employed in the purchasing department of Novae Corporation.

He is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Fraternal Order of Police, Huntington County Humane Society and on the advisory council of the Huntington County Emergency Management Agency Board. He formerly served on the Huntington Catholic School Board and is a member of SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church.

Pike says he wants to finish the tasks he helped start as a sitting member of city council.

“When I started on the council the long-term control plan kicked off for fixing all of our issues with our sewers and separations,” he says. “This next term those will be almost completed, and I want to finish that off.

“And then I want to be on there to be able to interpret the comprehensive plan that they started in 2012. They just did a revision to that, and I just want to make sure that the mayor and the city has somebody to interpret those things that they put into the comprehensive plan. I like that kind of work and I just can speak and interpret that differently of what they want to do and what the plan is. I like being there and being able to vote for that.

“And I always try to turn to lowering the taxes for us in the city, try to save some money, try to get some money back to the constituents in my district and to the City of Huntington.”

Paul Scalf
This is the first political run for Scalf, 45. He is a Huntington North High School graduate and is employed at C&C Auto Body Shop in Huntington.

His past community involvement includes working with the annual Pioneer Festival.

Scalf says he is seeking the office for a variety of reasons, stressing he wants to keep a positive outlook if elected.

“I don’t have any problems with current administration; I just think I’d make a good fit,” he says.

• The Common Council Fourth District also has two candidates vying for the spot, challenger Rabih Ayoub and incumbent David Funk.

Rabih Ayoub
Ayoub, 41, has no prior political experience and is making his first run for office. He grew up in Beirut, Lebanon and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2013. He has been a resident in Huntington’s Fourth District for 10 years, and is employed as an IT associate manager at Zimmer Biomet.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in business computers in Lebanon and a master’s degree in educational ministries from Huntington University. He is a member of College Park Church, has been a church youth group volunteer for 14 years and a Campus Life volunteer at Riverview Middle School for 14 years.

Ayoub says he wants to serve the on the city council as a way to give back.

“I want to serve in my community; I want to invest and give back to my community as it has been given to me for the past years I’ve been living here,” he says. “I want to learn the ways because I’m new to this whole process. I also want to try to work to continue to move forward our community. There have been a lot of things that have been happening to our community and I want to continue to help improve on that and move forward with it.”

David Funk*
Funk, 75, has logged 20 years as a member of city council. He has also served eight years on Huntington’s Plan Commission and eight years on the city Board of Zoning Appeals. He graduated from Huntington High School and attended Indiana Fort Wayne Commercial College. He is retired from Niswander Pontiac Buick after 50 years.

His memberships include Knights of Columbus, Fraternal Order of Police and several car clubs. He is also a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church, in Roanoke.

Funk seeks to return to the council because he enjoys the job and feels it’s his civic duty.

“I’ve just been in politics all my life, I love it, it’s for the betterment of the community and I think everybody should be involved at one time or the other. It’s a great experience, and gives you time to see what’s really going on inside your local government, which is very, very important,” he says. “This way I’ve got kind of a say in what is going on and I can take care of my people out here in this district, which I truly, truly love to do. It’s just a rewarding experience.”

There are some tasks Funk wants to accomplish this next term if he is re-elected.

“We don’t need anymore bicycle trails. We need to start putting our money in sidewalks, alleys, streets, developing and going out looking for industry, which we desperately need. Better communication between the mayor’s office and his council people. And just a lot of improvement that needs done. The basic thing is just getting the city cleaned up. ... Reduce taxes, reduce spending, add to our city services – we’re down to about skeleton crews on half the services we have in Huntington anymore – the Parks Department, the Street Department. We need to get people back working, and quit privatizing everything out.”

• There are two At-Large Common Council seats up for grabs, with four candidates, Patrick “PJ” Felton, incumbent Seth Marshall, incumbent Jack Slusser and Brandon Whitesell.

Patrick “PJ” Felton
Felton, at 24, is the youngest candidate to run for Common Council, and it is also his first foray into the political arena, having no previous political experience. He graduated from Huntington North High School and attended Ivy Tech. He is the owner of PJ’s Paesan’s Pizza and Legends Sports Bar, both in Huntington.

He says he wants to make his mark on the community by serving on the city council.

“I own two businesses in Huntington and that’s a start, but I figure getting into politics is going to be my next step,” he says. “I want to get the younger generation more involved. If you look at the demographics, it’s all the older generation and people my age really don’t know what’s going on. Maybe someone younger, like myself, stepping into this, will start to make that change.”

Seth T. Marshall*
Marshall, 41, is completing his first term on city council this year. He graduated from Huntington North in 1995; has a bachelor of science in human resource management from Park University in Parkville, MO; has an MBA from Indiana University; and has a MS in organizational leadership from Purdue University. He is employed at a senior investment advisor with PNC Wealth Management.

His current memberships include the Huntington County United Economic Development Board, Huntington Neighborhood Development Corporation and The Well Church. He was formerly a member of the Bowen Center Board, Huntington County Chamber of Commerce, City Planning Commission and Huntington Rotary Club.

Marshall is seeking to retain his office to continue working on the projects that are currently on the council’s agenda. He added he is proud to be a part of it.

“We’re about to update the comprehensive plan, to keep Huntington moving in a positive direction,” he says. “I think we’ve done a lot of good things and there is a lot of good momentum. I just want to try to continue that.”

“We’ve had some tough decisions with the landfill and some wastewater things that we’ve had to deal with that have cost a lot of money, but that’s beyond our control; those were federally- and state-mandated. But with the improvements in the parks, the trails, and just looking around the city, those are the improvements made, we’re definitely headed in the right direction. And I just want it to be a nice place. I want it a place my kids want to come back to, whether they do or not.”

Jack Slusser*
Slusser, 82, has been a member of Huntington’s city council for 24 years. He is a high school graduate and attended Huntington College. He is retired from Juergen’s Do-It Center after 30 years.

He is a member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, as well as the city’s Redevelopment Commission. He has also sat on several area boards in his career.

Slusser says he enjoys serving on the council and wants to continue serving the people of Huntington.

“I like what I’m doing and I think that the things that we’re doing are beneficial to the people and the community for years from now,” he says. “I’d like to see that it keeps going and gets done.”

Slusser’s goals are to continue to support the administration’s projects, as they arise.

“You can’t be all-knowing of everything that’s going on, and I believe that as the projects arise, whether it’s the EPA telling us it’s mandatory, or we have to close the landfill, or whatever,” he says. “All those things that come up isn’t something that we always want to do, but something that we’re required to do by the EPA, and financially, it’s the best thing to do for the community.

“Some of the infrastructure is an ongoing thing which we’ve had for hundreds of years; economic development, which we’re striving for; and the quality of life – trails, parks or whatever – all of this is part of the big scenario. You can tell, at my age, I won’t be around to see some of it happen, but on the other hand, I hope it happens for the future.”

Brandon L. Whitesell
Whitesell, 28, is new to politics and this is his first time running for an office. He graduated from Huntington North in 2009 and is employed on the asphalt crew of E&B Paving.

He credits his stepfather, Huntington County Councilman Terry Miller, with sparking his interest in politics.
“I’m just looking to get more involved with the community and be able to help relay some of the information on events and what the mayor and everybody is trying to do to better our city,” Whitesell says.

One of his goals is to get younger people in the Huntington more interested in local government and serving the community.

“We don’t’ have a lot of involvement from the younger crowd, and especially with them being our future, I just feel like getting them involved might help get other ideas out there,” he says. “I want to help get younger crowd involved and learn more about the political side by what all that goes on in our city, some of their thoughts and their processes, and their plans for the future as well.”

• On the Andrews Town Council, four Republicans are running for three open seats. They are Laura Dillon, incumbent John Harshbarger, Van Juillerat and Roger L. Newsome Jr.

Laura A. Dillon
Dillon, 63, has been Andrews’ clerk-treasurer for one term. She is a graduate of Huntington North and attended Ball State University. She served 11 years in the Huntington County Auditor’s Office and worked at the City of Huntington 26 years as a deputy clerk-treasurer and human resources director.

She currently serves as treasurer for the Andrews Public Library, and is a consultant for the Bippus Regional Sewer District and Norwood Water and Sewer District.

Dillon says she is seeking to move to Andrews’ town council to add her experience after two council members decided not to seek re-election.

“Since I’ve been clerk for four years, I thought it was a great transition for me, just to go from clerk to the town board,” she says. “Currently we’re working on trying to get all of the streets in Andrews paved, with the help of the state Community Crossing Grant, and we also have some serious problems at our water plant that are going to need to be addressed in the next couple of years. And we also have some contamination problems that are going to have to be addressed in the next couple of years.”

John Harshbarger*
Harshbarger, 70, is seeking a third term on the town council. He graduated from Andrews High School and attended Huntington College. He is retired from Andrews Electronics.

He is a member of the Andrews Lions Club, Faith Community Church of God and serves on the Andrews Riverside Cemetery Board.
Harshbarger says he wants to continue the work of the council as it faces some challenges in the not-so-distant future.

“My goals are to continue upgrading the infrastructure, upgrading our water plant, improving our streets and sidewalks and continue to support the police, fire department, utility departments and preserve what we have, and work for a future Andrews,” he says.

Van Juillerat
Juillerat, 69, is not new to politics, having served as a Dallas Township trustee for four years, and on the Township Advisory board for six years.

He graduated from Columbia City North High School, attended Rydal Tech in Fort Wayne and graduated from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. He is semi-retired from law enforcement, having served 37 years as Andrews’ town marshal and currently works as a technician for an underground drilling company.

He previously sat on the Huntington County Economic Development Group Board, CEDIT Advisory Board and sat on the Indiana Cities and Town legislative board for a few years.

Juillerat says he does not want to end his activity in helping lead the town.

“I’ve been involved with the community, and I’ve worked there in Andrews as a town marshal,” he says. “I’ve sat on several county functions and have always been involved with government. I’ve tried to be real active with government, so to speak.

“I’ve just kind of been interested in that kind of stuff, and feel that I’m not done as far as being involved with the community since I retired. I thought it would be a good way to stay involved and assist the public in trying to accomplish what they might want to accomplish for our community.”

Roger L. Newsome Jr.
Newsome, 54, is running in his first race for public office. He graduated from McDowell High School in Floyd County, KY. He is employed as a maintenance manager at M&S Industrial Metal Fabricators, in Huntington.

He is a member of the Andrews Lions Club and has volunteered with the Andrews Summer Festival.

Having attended a number of town council meetings, Newsome says he is running for the office to help keep the town progressing.

“The projects that the town council has going on now need to continue,” he says. “I feel that we need to keep on moving forward, basically. The council that is there now has set a good standard for us. … I’d like to accomplish the things that they’ve started. I hope that I can see them through. I’d like to see us maybe someday work on some industry. And I want to see our town grow.”

* Denotes incumbent.