Mayor Terry Seitz said he had to step away from the gathered Jasper city employees after announcing his decision to resign to become part of Senator-Elect Mike Braun’s staff.
“There was a round of applause of support. I was a little emotional and told them I couldn’t answer any questions and walked away,” he said. “That was hard this morning.”
According to the Seitz, Braun reached out to him soon after the election to offer him the position.
Seitz said the call was a surprise. He had already been prepared to begin his re-election campaign next year. “I even held a fundraising event in May in preparation,” he added during an interview this morning after he announced his decision.
The two have known each other since the 70s through a family connection with Seitz’s late wife, Ann. Ann’s mother and Senator Braun’s
Braun issued a statement regarding the decision today as well. “Terry has done a phenomenal job as mayor of my hometown of Jasper,” he said. “Under his leadership, Jasper was recently named the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Community of the Year. Mayor Seitz’s skills as a leader and a passion for serving Hoosiers make him a tremendous asset I’m proud to have joining our team.”
After getting the offer from Braun, Seitz said he and his wife, Deena, took quite a bit of time talking about it before coming to a decision. “We drove around this fine city admiring the barricades and construction for
The decision to join Braun came down a couple factors for Seitz. The personal relationship with Braun was one but he also sees the opportunity as a position suited for his talents. Additionally, he sees it as a way to further the area’s interests at the state and federal level.
Under his leadership the city landscape has underwent some major changes with the addition of The Parklands, the new River Centre under construction near the Riverwalk, the Clark-Thyen Cultural Center, the addition of economy workforce housing and senior housing on Vine Street.
“I kinda laughed as we put some plaques on our fire engines,” he said. “Well, I thought ‘I’ll have my name on those plaques for 25, 30 years and then nobody will know who I am.”
Seitz was elected for his first term in 2011 and was re-elected in 2015 after a historical tie with Democrat Wayne Schuetter led to a special three-person committee making the final decision based on several challenged absentee ballots. He was awarded the election by a single vote.
Seitz said not facing a re-election is a bit of relief although he was prepared. “I will miss the door-to-door conversations,” he said. “Those were always fun.”
In breaking the news to his family, he noted that his daughters were relieved they wouldn’t have to go through another campaign. “They worked very, very hard in four elections,” he said. “My daughters told me they learned to enjoy the position after the election. They said they cherished it but they also said, they were glad they wouldn’t have to go through another election.”
He added that the election process and subsequent service is worth it though.
“Let me assure you that, while I’ve played a role in what is happening in Jasper, this dynamic team deserves credit for all our accomplishments,” he said in his announcement to the media today. “We will continue to build upon the collaboration we have established in our region as a leading Indiana city and a city of leaders.”
Seitz’ resignation goes into effect January 1. Pursuant to state law, his replacement will fill out the remainder of his term after being selected by a caucus of Republican Precinct Committee members that will be convened by Mark Messmer, the Dubois County Republican chair.
According to Messmer, he has notified the 13 precinct committees of the caucus and it will likely occur after Christmas.