The Whitley County Commissioners’ chambers in the Whitley County Government Building was standing room only Wednesday night as the county’s Republican precinct committeemen deliberated for more than two hours to find a new at-large county councilman.
After seven rounds of voting, Paula G. Reimers of Columbia City narrowly defeated Matthew J. Boyd for the county council seat being vacated by Jim Banks.
Banks resigned his spot effective Nov. 2 to run unopposed for the Indiana State Senate seat vacated by retiring Sen. Dr. Gary Dillon.
“I’m excited,” said Reimers.“ “I’m ready to keep my word and do my best for the taxpayers, utilizing everything I’ve learned from my years in government.”
Reimers said staying up to speed on issues is the engine that will drive her as she serves the remainder of Banks’ term.
“I just want to see good government,” she said. “I want to see people working hard for the taxpayers. I have traveled the state, talking to government officials and legislators and I know it’s important for people (working in elected office) to do their homework.”
Reimers wasted no time keeping current with pertinent local issues.
After winning the council slot, she traveled to the basement of the government building and observed a hotly-debated Whitley County Plan Commission meeting as residents expressed their concerns about the possibility of “wind farms” coming to the county.
Each of the 10 candidates were allowed to make opening statements before voting began.
“We had 10 great candidates,” said Banks. “Each of them gave great speeches and worked very hard on this and I think the caucus ran the way it should, very smoothly.
“I think the interesting part of the evening was how split up the vote was among the candidates.”
By the second vote, Reimers and Boyd had received 10 and nine votes respectively.
James A. Macino and Stephen P. Smith had received five and four nods respectively.
Reimers and Boyd went to a dead heat by rounds five and six, with Reimers edging out her opponent in the seventh round, 18-15 with one abstention.
Reimers said she will assume Banks’ council seat following the submission of paperwork that the State Senate candidate will have to file with the county clerk’s office.
Reimers’ term ends in 2012.