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Q&A with Dubois County Council District 2 candidates Ryan Craig and Dennis Tedrow

County Council members perform the duties of the legislative branch of the county government and have the ultimate decision-making power regarding fiscal affairs.

The council has the authority to view or review fiscal matters, determine proper policy, and set priorities for the allocation and expenditure of county funds.

Typically these powers include:

  • Approving and fixing annual operating budgets of all county government offices and agencies.
  • Establishing salaries, wages, per diems, and other compensation for all county officials and employees.
  • Fixing tax rates and establishing levies on all county property for the purpose of raising funds to meet budget requirements in conducting county business as well as authorizing the borrowing of money in the form of bonds and notes.
  • Appropriating public funds, i.e., authorizing the expenditure of county money by particular officials or departments for specific purposes.
  • Authorizing certain purchases or sales of county-owned land.
  • Non-binding review of budgets for certain nonelected boards in the county and other civil units.
  • The county council also has the power to adopt certain taxes, such as County Local Income Tax (LIT), and County Innkeeper’s Tax, along with a wheel tax and surtax on cars, motorcycles, trucks and trailers.

Ryan Craig (Rep) is the owner of RE/MAX Local and a current board member of Perfleek Inc. as well as the Southern Indiana Association of Realtors.

Dennis Tedrow (Dem) is employed by Vincennes University Jasper as the community engagement specialist and admissions counselor.

The County Council District 2 covers Bainbridge 2E, 2W, 3E, 4N, 4S, 5S and 6S.

Here are the questions. (All answers are as written by the candidates with light editing for grammar and layout.)

Let’s talk about growth: Dubois County has several programs designed to attract business and people, what do you think the county needs to be paying attention to the most as growth occurs?

Craig —  Broadband connectivity) and affordable housing.

Tedrow — I think that we need to be paying attention to our youth and what services we can provide to families that want to move to this area for work but can’t find the support structure for their kids to make that happen. We need to make sure that we address childcare availability and fund after school programs so that kids can feel safe and parents are able to work for a living. We need to make sure that our classrooms can handle the influx of new students without being a burden on current students. 

Let’s talk about housing and workforce needs: Dubois County steadily remains a county with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state while having employers in the area constantly battling over candidates. We also have identified a lack of affordable housing as an issue, and though that is being addressed, the amount of affordable housing is still a common complaint. What role does the county play in addressing those challenges?

Tedrow — There’s not much wiggle room in that answer unfortunately. The county is already operating on a tight budget and even if they completely suspended taxes, which they couldn’t, it would do anything to alleviate the real issue. Housing costs are at an all-time high and wages aren’t keeping price with inflation. We need to make sure that we can continue to balance our budget while recognizing that this is an issue and looking for solutions, possibly at the state level. One thing we can do is make sure we aren’t wasting our tax-payer’s money on projects that will only cause added strain on our local towns like the mid-states corridor. 

Craig — The county’s role in addressing this challenge would be to insure that we are focusing our dollars to help attract and maintain more people to this area.

Let’s talk about addiction and mental health issues: What concerns do you have about these two issues and how do you see the county assisting in addressing them?

Craig — As addiction and mental health issues continue to be on the rise, the County needs to implement programs so resources are easily available and affordable to those in need.

Tedrow — This is an issue that I think about a lot. I’ve lost friends and family to suicide and addiction and I want to make sure that the Dubois County Council continues to treat this as a serious issue. We are already making great strides but we could always do more as a county. This county has great resources at our disposal and I want to make sure we help where we can to make sure the people of this county are aware of those resources and safe from those dangers. We should be partnering more with local organizations and making sure they have the tools they need to help the people of Dubois County.

Let’s talk about infrastructure and HELP: The county is taking part in the Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program (HELP) to work with OCRA on projects that address one of four areas: broadband connectivity, community wellness, enhancing the quality of place and strengthening local economies. What of these four pillars do you feel is the most immediate concern for the county and why?

Tedrow — I am grateful to be a part of the strengthening local economies committee for this program. My background makes me more suited for that particular pillar but I actually believe that community wellness might be the most important pillar for the county in general. I intend to be paying attention to that committee because I want to make sure we have a plan on childcare, mental health, and public transit. HELP is going to allow us to build up Dubois County in so many ways and I can’t wait to hear what comes from it. I’ve been helping with the Sustaining Hoosier Communities program and one of the things that has already come from that partnership has been the project map for a Dubois County LatinX welcome center. I’m hoping we can leverage that project map for funding through HELP to get the project off the ground and alleviate some cultural/language barriers we’re facing in the county. 

Craig — I feel all four pillars play a very integral part in our county. By expanding broadband connectivity, will lay the foundation to work on the other three pillars. It could lead to new jobs, more affordable housing, access to more education, and finally, remote access to professional resources to improve the overall health and well-being of our communities.

We can’t avoid talking about the Mid-States Corridor: While the Tier One study is still being completed, the second tier will be moving forward in the near future. What are your thoughts or concerns as the county will likely be called upon to help fund the next phase of the study and even the construction of the corridor if it moves forward? Do you support funding the next tier of the study or its construction through local tax increases or with local tax dollars? Why do your support or not support the corridor?

Craig — We all realize this issue is a very contentious issue for many in our county. I am impacted by this issue as I am invested in various properties throughout the County, both personally and professionally. Upon completion of the Tier One study, it will be crucial to determine the exact route of the corridor and the impact to Dubois County and the citizens. I would like to then discuss with landowners, business owners and Dubois County citizens to assess the pros and cons and the impact it will have on the county.

Tedrow — I’m extremely concerned with the already mounting transparency issues and public outrage associated with this project. It seems like there isn’t a road in Dubois County that doesn’t have multiple “Stop the Mid-States Corridor” yard signs placed among the houses. There have been multiple public hearings on this project, and every single time the location was packed with people who wanted to voice their opposition to this road. It seems very clear that if this at all was a fair and honest process and the people of this county were allowed to vote on this proposed road, the answer would be a resounding no. My job as an elected official is to listen to the voice of my constituents, and they have loudly said they do not want this road. I do not support the spending of over 1 billion dollars in tax-payer money to save an average of 2-5 minutes of commute time. I will not support another dime of tax-payer money for this project, and a vote for me is a vote against the Mid-States Corridor. 

Is there a county-wide issue that you would like to address other than the ones I have asked about?

Tedrow — We need some kind of public transportation system that works for the people of Dubois County and our cities’ layouts. What good does this billion-dollar road do for the majority of the people living in the county? Nothing. It does nothing to help the elderly get to and from the grocery store. It does nothing to help reduce drunk driving or prevent traffic accidents. It does nothing to help people on work release who need to get to and from a new job. It does nothing for those of us who are too poor to afford a vehicle, the maintenance, or even the gas.

Craig — None other that the ones addressed in the other questions.

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4 Comments

  1. If this is an example of what is out there and available to run our county, we are in trouble. The only thing I agree with is the unnecessary proposal of the Midstate corridor. Both of these candidates like to spend money, don’t listen to what the people have to say and appear to be concerned with subjects that are important to themselves, not the community. It’s time for another party, neither one of these serve the best interest of this community.

  2. As a realtor, one candidate could already be doing something about affordable housing, but seems more concentrated on personal holdings.

  3. To help the citizens in recovery, the disease of alcoholism/substance abuse and recidivism:
    Have you ever thought about talking to people who are in recovery about recovery, who are doing things for recovery in the community, who are bringing new projects into the city & county (men’s recovery home) or who are dealing with this disease, especially people in the court system & jail, what might benefit them to help them into recovery, who went through the court system and now in recovery, But instead you sit down with people who do not understand the disease and recovery.
    Who would know better how to benefit someone into recovery than someone who is already in recovery.

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