Batesville has a new city council member.
On March 31, four Batesville area Republican precinct committeepersons (Donald Dickey Sr., Donald “Dogger” Dickey Jr., John Moton and Mike Weiler) met at the Sherman House to pick a replacement for Bob “Tuba” Narwold, who resigned as the District 3 member in mid-March.
Originally, two (Jim Fritsch and Anthony Schantz) were vying for the term that ends Dec. 31, 2015. However, at the beginning of the caucus, Ginger Bradford, Ripley County Republican Party chair, said Schantz had notified her earlier in the day that he was withdrawing his name.
Since the event was open to the public, about 12 others were also in attendance. However, Bradford said no one else would be able to speak or offer any opinions during the caucus.
Fritsch announced, “I’ve been involved with the Main Street committee, facade and signage committees .... (and) helped host fundraisers at my house. I have name recognition in the town.”
Moton stressed, “We are hoping to get a majority back on the council and retake the mayor’s office.” He wondered how Fritsch would work with the other Republican councilman, Kevin Chaffee.
The nominee pointed out, “I have a good working relationship with Kevin .... and he and I have always had a personal rapport and political rapport as to what we want to accomplish.”
Dogger Dickey said, “There has been a lot of talk about the spec building .... Do we need it or not? Now with GE Lighting pulling out of the industrial park, is it worthwhile to do the project?”
The candidate emphasized, “I was against it before GE was moving out. It’s a huge amount of money to stick into something that may or may not happen.” The architect didn’t agree with “putting so much time into the industrial park when the downtown is a wasteland after 5 p.m.”