Monday, March 28, 2016

The County Commissioner's race

There is currently a contested race in the May GOP primary for Hamilton County Commissioner. The makeup of this county being what it is, that primary will likely select the person who will serve in that office. The three county commissioners are the executive body for the county.

I want to speak about one of the candidates, Fishers businessman Bill Smythe, the owner of the Claude and Annie's bar at 141st St. and State Road 37. I have known Bill for several years, and have had both agreements and disagreements with him.  But Bill and I agree on a lot of things about local government.

The first area of agreement is financial. We both are troubled at some of the spending by local government, some of it seemingly without a need. We are also troubled at how some projects are financed, in particular the overuse of TIF financing, which can act as a form of corporate welfare.

We also agree in the area of government transparency and ethics. In my race for Fishers City Council, I proposed an ethics ordinance to limit the ability of companies who do business with the city from buying influence, perhaps to their profit when more contracts were awarded. At the least, this is unseemly and gives the impression that government is for sale. At the worst, it is "pay to play" politics and actual corruption.

Bill has a slogan of "voters before vendors". Like some presidential candidates, who have called for reform of a system where special interests buy (or appear to buy) influence by large campaign donations, both Bill and I feel that the system itself is corrupted by allowing vendors who profit from government contracts to attempt to buy influence by donating large sums to incumbent candidates in particular.

I am not a Republican. I don't vote in the Republican primary. But if I did, I would vote on May 3rd for Bill Smythe for Hamilton County Commissioner. And if you do vote in the the GOP primary, I urge your consideration of Bill. The voters deserve a voice, not just government vendors.

Bill's website is, and his campaign can be found on Facebook at  I wish him well.