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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, December 30, 2018 1:00 am

County to swear in officials Monday

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Recently elected Allen County government officials will be sworn in Monday.

The public ceremony will begin at noon in the rotunda of the Allen County Courthouse. Cameras and other recording devices will be allowed at the ceremony.

Retiring Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck will administer the oaths of office to 13 county officials. Twenty township officials have been invited to participate. 

Republican County Commissioner Rich Beck will be among those sworn in. He is filling a seat long held by Linda Bloom, who is retiring as a commissioner.

Beck, a local businessman with no prior political experience, was elected in November. As a new commissioner – the first in many years – Beck's perspective on county government should be interesting.

David Long, who retired Nov. 6 as president pro tem of the Indiana Senate, will give remarks. 

Election calendar

Who's ready for the 2019 municipal elections?

Indiana voters will choose mayors, clerks and city and town council members next fall. But preparations by candidates, political parties and the electorate will begin in earnest in little more than a week.

Jan. 9 is the first day that major political party candidates may file their declarations of candidacy for the May 7 primary election. Three men have announced their intention to run for Fort Wayne mayor: third-term Democratic Mayor Tom Henry, Republican City Councilman and oncologist John Crawford and Republican Tim Smith, an executive at a medical liability insurance company.

The filing deadline for candidates is Feb. 8.

Following are other notable dates and deadlines on the 2019 election calendar. Full calendars are available online at the Allen County Election Board's website.

• April 8 – Voter registration ends

• April 9 – First day for early voting by absentee and satellite office ballots

• May 6 – Early voting ends

• May 7 – Primary election; voting hours will be 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• May 21 – Voter registration begins for the general election

• June 30 – Deadline for the Democratic and Republican parties to select candidates to fill ballot vacancies

• July 1 – Deadline for independent and minor-party candidates to file petitions of nomination

• July 3 – Deadline for write-in candidates to file candidacy declarations

• Oct. 7 – Voter registration ends

• Oct. 8 – First day for early voting by absentee and satellite office ballots

• Nov. 4 – Early voting ends

• Nov. 5 – General election; voting hours will be 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Municipal elections will be conducted in Allen County in Fort Wayne, Grabill, Leo-Cedarville, Monroeville, New Haven and Woodburn.

Travel tips

Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, has said he wanted President Donald Trump to visit U.S. military forces in Afghanistan. For the time being, Banks apparently will settle for Trump's trip Wednesday to see American troops in Iraq, the president's first to a combat zone.

“I applaud the president for visiting Iraq. I've been calling on him over the past several months to visit a combat zone and am very glad that he did that,” Banks said Thursday in an interview on CNN's “New Day.”

“The fact that he visited somewhere was good enough at this point,” said Banks, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a Navy Reserve officer who served in Afghanistan in 2014-15.

Banks led a bipartisan congressional delegation to Afghanistan in November. When he returned, he told The Journal Gazette that the war-torn country “feels like a more dangerous place” than during his deployment and that Trump “would benefit tremendously by going to Afghanistan, seeing the situation on the ground.”

He later told the Navy Times, “My biggest fear is that this president will make an erratic decision about the future of our effort in Afghanistan.”

Trump recently said he plans to pull troops out of Afghanistan and Syria, nations reeling from civil wars. The U.S. has 14,000 troops in Afghanistan and 2,000 in Syria.

CNN anchor John Berman asked Banks whether he agreed that U.S. involvement in Syria makes America, in Trump's words, “the suckers of the world.”

“Well, of course not,” Banks replied.

Banks told Berman that he hopes Trump will “maintain airstrikes in Syria and maintain some type of presence there” because Syria “is strategically important” to U.S. interests. And he said a visit to Afghanistan by Trump “could change his mind” on withdrawing troops from that country.

Fellowship openings

Gov. Eric Holcomb will accept applications through March 31 for the 2019-2020 Governor's Fellowship.

The program places college graduates in state agencies on a rotating basis.

“Our Governor's Fellows are such a valuable piece to our team,” Holcomb said in a statement. “The wide range of assistance they provide over the course of their fellowship is key to serving Hoosiers in a timely and thorough manner.”

The program is open to college graduates who receive their bachelor's degrees in either fall 2018 or spring 2019. Fellows are paid, full-time employees who participate in the day-to-day activities of state government.

Application and submission guidelines are available online at www.in.gov/gov/fellowship.htm. To be eligible for consideration, applications and all supporting materials must be postmarked or submitted by email by March 31.

Dave Gong of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook, email Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.