TIPTON – Residents of Tipton County voted for change on Tuesday, with a pair of anti-wind candidates coming out of the primary election victorious.
Gerald Shuck beat out incumbent Republican County Commissioner Phil Heron, 1,817-1,266, to win a key seat, while Republican Jim Leffler edged fellow challenger Mike Orr for the District No. 3 County Council seat, 452-373.
Shuck said he thought Tuesday’s primary served as a notice that citizens are not only looking for change regarding the development of wind energy in the county, but for more transparent officials.
“I believe that it wasn’t just about the wind issue as much as it was people wanting to see some change,” he said.
Shuck, who is retired after spending 31 years with Haynes International, said economic development will be a huge issue he is looking forward to working on in office, should he win the seat in the November.
“Economic development is one of the most important issues facing the county,” he said. “We’ve declined in population over the last few years. It’s going to take new businesses to attract new families to Tipton County.”
Leffler, who has been one of the most vocal opponents of wind farm development in the county, said Tuesday’s vote showed that residents are looking to stunt the development of wind farms.
“What it means to me is that the wind people sent a message and want to change things, as far as abatements are concerned,” he said. “We should have swept, but we lost a couple of seats, but we couldn’t get them all. It’s all about wind, we’re going to change that issue in this county if I have anything to do with it.”
Incumbent Republican Dennis Henderson was able to retain his District No. 4 County Council seat by defeating challenger Eric Parent, 352-287, in the county’s other contested race.
Henderson, who has also served as a county commissioner, said he is looking forward to his second term on the county council.
“I’ve been here my whole life and I think that’s important to the voters here,” he said. “So many of them I’ve met over the years in one way or another.”
Henderson said he is happy to put the primary election behind him with a number of important things to tackle as a council member in the months ahead.
“Maybe we can have some peace and not so much turmoil,” he said. “It’s almost budget time, so there won’t be a lot of time to think about this. We’ll need to get working on that soon.”
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