TERRE HAUTE —
Local Republicans expanded their reach into county government with an oath and celebration Thursday night.
Members of the Vigo County Republican Party caucused briefly inside the Sycamore Club that evening prior to swearing in county councilman Brad Anderson as incoming commissioner. Anderson, who defeated Democrat incumbent Paul Mason in the November general election, will vacate his council seat representing the 4th District. Party officials selected former county councilman and local businessman Michael Morris to replace him there.
Randy Gentry, chairman of the Vigo County GOP, described the decision as a good one.
“It was unanimous,” he said of the vote.
Anderson’s victory means he’ll be Vigo County’s first Republican commissioner in 18 years, and his seat on the council represented the lone Republican on that body since Morris’ defeat in 2008.
Gentry said Anderson’s voice on the board of commissioners will be welcome, not just for the party, but for the community.
“It’s just an exciting time,” he said, adding he’s known Anderson for 20 years.
Morris, 61, served as a county council member at-large between 2004 and 2008. President of Morris Trucking, he said that business has been in the family since his grandfather, Ivan Morris, founded it in 1925.
The 4th District covers Vigo County’s southern end starting near Hulman Street, he said.
All Hoosier counties and municipalities are struggling with revenue shortages and shrinking tax bases these days, but the council’s work is something he enjoys.
“And so you continue trying to do the same services with less revenue, and it’s a real challenge,” he said, recalling how he enjoyed getting to know department heads and helping with their issues in years past.
Anderson was sworn in by Vigo County Superior Court Judge Michael Lewis, and later congratulated Morris on succeeding him in serving the district he represented for 18 years.
“We do appreciate you guys coming out on a night like tonight,” he said, referencing the snowy mix of rain which began earlier Thursday afternoon. “Now, let’s go win some more races!”
Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.