That may seem like a bold statement to someone who hasn't been closely following local news here in the Summit City. I suspect, nay I am quite certain, that the ethical lapses of the our local Republicans have been occurring for a very long time. Occasionally rumors and such have bubbled to the surface, but normally faded away quickly. The "Good Old Boy" network has always seemed to be able to spin/cover up/re-focus/distract/blame it's way out of these sort of things here. But no more. . .
What has brought about this change? Likely a number of things that all seemed to coalesce at the right time:
1. People are finally becoming aware of the spin they have been fed by the national Republican machine; and they are looking at everything with clearer perception, with more doubt and greater suspicion. Blind trust in party is out; looking out for #1 is back in style. After six long years of one-party rule, Americans yearn once more for gridlock. They don't care if the Republicans or the Democrats or the Libertarians are in charge; they just want choices, not "do as we say cause WE control it all".
2. Because of the above, people are becoming involved in local politics. In a "the meek shall inherit the earth" moment, people who "didn't want to get involved" or worried about "what will my friends/neighbors/co-workers think", or thought "*I* can't change anything" are getting involved, talking to their friends, neighbors and co-workers and are changing things! People have been pushed back as far as they can take, and they are pushing back against the machine.
3. Despite ACRP Chair Steve Shine's criticisms, our local Democratic party is STRONG and ENGAGED. Nearly every local meeting I have attended this year has been standing-room-only. I know, because I helped drag in extra chairs from back rooms and we still came up short most of the time. Local Dems have turned out in huge numbers for parades and other campaign events and have given selflessly to support our candidates.
4. We've had some strong leaders in the past, but I can't praise Kevin Knuth enough for his leadership of our local party. Like many other chairs, Kevin is approachable, dedicated, and driven to help our team succeed. Where he has exceeded, however, is in his constant political awareness. He seems to be on top of every mis-step, every ethics violation, each wrong word spoken by Steve Shine's crowd almost before they know they did anything. Of course they DO know, but they're so used to getting away with things that they freeze like a deer in the headlights when Kevin calls them out. I am proud to have Kevin Knuth as our local chair; he has made our local team the local powerhouse that it has become through his leadership.
And now, the ethical lapses of the local "Shiners":
Back in July, local GOP Executive Director Doug Foy forged candidate's signatures to their election paperwork. This was called an "honest mistake". Mr.Foy resigned, the local GOP candidates (who refused to cooperate in the matter) remain on the ballot.
Republican sheriff candidate, Ken Fries, knowingly placed a banner donated by the local GOP on a pedestrian walkway over a U.S. highway in clear violation of Indiana state laws. Steve Shine promised to look into it, but blew it off.
Republican candidate for Wayne Township Trustee, Tammi McKee, apparently "fixed" her property taxes, covered it up, then destroyed the evidence when it was brought to light.
And finally, Mark Souder, who talks up his small town Grabill roots but actually resides one mile north of me here in Aboite Township, must be a little worried about a local doctor's challenge to his status quo. Worried enough to resort to some distasteful tactics.
The above issues were created for you by the Allen County GOP. They would rather that you not hear about these transgressions. I take great pleasure in shining light on them for you.
"I'm John Good, and I approved this message".