Friday, July 8, 2011

The leaving of the Levines

I just got back from a 2 week vacation, and Fishers residents and prominent Republican office-holders Art and Judy Levine have announced that they are leaving Fishers, resigning their respective offices, and moving to California.   Art Levine is a member of the Fishers Town Council and Judy is a member, and former President, of the Hamilton County Council.

Art and I have always gotten along pretty well, even though we were election opponents in 2007.  Art survived a nasty Republican primary where a lot of unpleasant things were said about him personally by members of his own party, and he seemed grateful that I did not campaign that way, but stayed issue-oriented.  We have always seemed to communicate well, even when we disagreed on policy.

Likewise, I always have gotten along with Judy Levine, whom Art describes as "the politician in the family".  Judy is a very pleasant and sharp person, and an astute politician.  With both of them, we had our disagreements about national and state policy, but often found common ground on local issues... but not always.  But it was never, EVER, personal.

The Levines have been a fixture locally for many years, and they will be missed.

But their departure leaves a power vacuum.  Under Indiana law, the Republican precinct committeepersons must meet in caucus to select Art and Judy's replacements for the balance of their term.  Art's term on the Fishers Town Council ends at the close of 2011, but Judy was just re-elected last year to a 4-year term, so her term would end at the close of 2014.

A number of names have been swatted around for Judy's seat, but no caucus has yet been set, so it may be premature to speculate on who might come out of that process.  Art's town council seat is another matter.  The current map of District Four is different than when Art won in 2007.  Based on the process that was used to select Mike Colby to replace Charlie White last fall, the person would have to live in the OLD boundaries of District Four.  So far, no one has come forth and made an announcement that they would seek to fill the remaining few months in Art's term, possibly because that person would not also be on the November ballot.

I of course am a candidate for the District Four seat in November (, but since I am not of the same political party, I am very unlikely to be selected for the interim seat.  But whomever is selected will have a chance to make some important decisions about local issues without worrying about political pressures or re-election.  And that could be the most significant part of this whole process.