First candidate files to fill council seat

Stephen Smith became the first person to file his candidacy to fill the seat on Whitley County Council that will become vacant in November.Jim Banks resigned that seat, effective Nov. 2, due to his election to the Indiana State Senate. Banks is unopposed in the race for the seat held by retiring senator Dr. Gary Dillon.Smith is a South Whitley resident and local businessman. In 2009 Smith and Dwayne Knott entered into a partnership with ALLPro Towing Inc. and started Whitley Environmental after being awarded the county’s recycling contract.Since that time they have invested more than $1 million in the community with their business and created 20 new jobs.As a local business owner, Smith knows that local government’s role in job creation and recruitment is essential for Whitley County to continue to grow.“I want to work with government to make it as easy as possible for small business,” Smith said, adding that without small businesses, then there aren’t jobs for people and people aren’t spending money. Prior to entering into business with Knott, Smith owned a small construction business and, while interested in politics, never had the time to get involved. Now, with increased flexibility in his business, he has an opportunity to seek his first public office. “I’m excited about the opportunity,” Smith said. Smith and his wife Toni have three children and one grandchild. Smith and his family attend New Hope Wesleyan Church. Candidates interested in filling the county council seat have until 72 hours prior to the caucus to file their intent. Candidates who wish to declare their candidacy need to file paperwork, a CEB5 form, with Debbie Beers at the county clerk’s office. The form is available at her office or through the state at The form must be returned to Beers at the clerk’s office.Whitley County Republicans will then conduct a caucus at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Whitley County Government Center to select a candidate. Precinct committeemen from all 34 of the county’s voting precincts will choose Banks’ successor. The winning candidate will take office Nov. 3. The term runs through 2012.