FORT WAYNE – The race for the northeast district DeKalb County commissioner seat pits a political newcomer against an experienced veteran.
The newcomer in the Nov. 6 general election is Democrat Sean Bruening, whose only political experience was his unsuccessful run a year ago for Waterloo Town Council. He lost by 22 votes.
Bruening is facing Republican Jacqueline Rowan, who has served two terms as DeKalb County clerk of courts and two terms as DeKalb County recorder. With her staff positions, she has worked in county government for 27 years.
My years of experience in the courthouse are very valuable to the commissioners position, Rowan said. I want to give back to my community; theyve been very good to me.
She said one of the biggest issues facing the county is the recommendations by the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform, known as the Kernan-Shepard Report, which calls for replacing the three commissioners with one administrator.
Im totally against it, Rowan said. The community, the residents of the county, would lose their voice, and I think you need that check and balance.
Bruening said he decided to run to ensure the position was not unopposed.
Its not an election if theres only one in the race, Bruening said. Im not a career politician, and I feel its the career politicians that are making our political system the mess that it is. Hopefully my young blood can perhaps change that at the county level.
He said the biggest issue facing the county is balancing the need for economic development with the need to protect residents. The push for wind farms is a good example, he said.
I like the idea. However, I want to make sure the people are taken care of, he said. He also wants to ensure that development puts money back into the local economy rather than sending it somewhere else.
The four-year term pays $24,000 annually.