Vonderheide selected as mayor

Dean Vonderheide met with family members that had arrived to congratulate his appointment as mayor Wednesday afternoon.

Dean Vonderheide will finish Mayor Terry Seitz’s term as mayor of Jasper after a caucus of members of the Dubois County Republican Precinct Committee voted in his favor.


“I’m delighted to be elected through the caucus to be the next mayor of Jasper,” Vonderheide said. “We’ve got a great momentum going in the city and I am going to keep that momentum going.”

Vonderheide received nine of the 13 votes for the seat with Nancy Eckerle receiving the balance. Bernie Fallon and Levi Hulsman didn’t receive any votes.

Vonderheide will likely be sworn in this Friday at the City Hall during the swearing-in ceremony being held for county officials elected into office in November. Following Jasper Mayor Terry Seitz’s resignation on January 6, Vonderheide will fill the remaining year of his term.

He has already indicated he will run for mayor in 2019.

Vonderheide, 65, began his first term on the Jasper Common Council in 2016. He has served on the Dubois County Contractual Library and Jasper Public Library boards since 2011. He is currently the president of the Jasper Public Library Board but will be required to step down since being appointed the mayor.

Vonderheide said he had considered running for mayor in the past but when his neighbor filed to run, he decided not to file. “I didn’t think it would be appropriate to compete against him,” he said. “But being in the council the last three years has opened my eyes to a lot of the opportunities in Jasper and how we can influence the region.”

He said that the switch from the legislative side to the executive side of governing the city would not be difficult drawing up his 31 years at Kimball International where he served in executive leadership positions.

The city will begin the process of updating its comprehensive plan over the next year. While projects like the Thyen Clark Cultural Center and River Centre addressed in the previous comprehensive plan are underway, Vonderheide said the update will expand the roadmap for the city.

“Challenges are opportunities, that’s the way I look at them,” Vonderheide said while explaining he is looking forward to working with the county and other municipal governments in the area.

He is excited to step into the role. Referring to his own family roots as well as his daughters and granddaughters living in the city, Vonderheide said he is here to ensure they and upcoming generations continue to become involved in the city and have solid futures.

“I’ve been a coach my whole life; I started out coaching and teaching and one of the things coaches value the most is seeing people thrive with new skills and developing their potential,” Vonderheide said. “I think Jasper has a lot of potential. I want to see Jasper succeed and I want to see the area succeed.”

As Vonderheide steps into his new role as mayor, the Republican Committee will now have to choose a replacement for his at-large seat on the council. Eligible candidates are required to have voted on the Republican ticket in the last primary they voted in and be a citizen of Jasper.

Candidates must fill out and send an official declaration of candidacy form to Messmer at 795 E. Scherle Lane in Jasper. Forms are available at the Dubois County Clerk’s Office and at Messmer’s office at Messmer Mechanical in Jasper. The cutoff for consideration is January 9, 2019, at 9 a.m. The caucus will be held in the Pfaffenweiller Room at Jasper City Hall on Saturday, January 12, 2019, at 9 a.m.

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