Democrats rally at B'ville

Wanda English Burnett

Ripley County Democrats met in record number at the Sherman House in Batesville Saturday evening for their annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

US Congressman Baron Hill was at the event, shaking hands, encouraging people to “stand firm.” Although he had already been through three parades that day, and had more events that same evening, the Congressman met with Ripley County constituents in his continuing manner of “getting back to the basics” and “talking with local people”.

Hill, who is known for his walking ventures, walked the entire 20-county area he serves this August, talking with people about their needs one on one. There are 760,000 people in the 9th district he serves.

Trent Decker who spoke later in the evening on behalf of Hill, noted that while every decision in the last two years hasn’t been popular, some have had to be done to change the economic situation the country was in. Hill has pledged to “never vote to support work to privatize social security.” He has taken another hit by supporting tax cuts to the middle class and not the wealthy.

Other state officials at the dinner included Sam Locke, who is running for State Auditor and was the first speaker of the evening. He too, along with his wife, Cara, were going on to another engagement in Rushville, yet that same evening. He told the crowd while he is new to politics, he is not new to managing large sums of money. He is a former military officer and manages a large non-profit for the Presbyterian Church.

Cesar Roman, representing Vop Osili, candidate for Secretary of State, told the large crowd, “this election is about jobs.” He told briefly the three functions of the position Osili is running for - registering businesses, security and fraud protector and chief elections officer. He said Vop stands for Voice Of the People, and assured that this candidate would be just that because he believes in hard work, values and integrity.

State Representative Dave Cheatham spoke on behalf of himself as well as Brad Ellsworth, who is running for US Senator to replace the seat Evan Bayh held for years. Ellsworth’s wife, Beth, was in attendance at the meeting standing in for her husband, who is also on the campaign trail. He is a former sheriff and has worked in law enforcement for 25 years. He has also served as the 8th District Congressman with his wife telling the crowd, “he loves constituent service.”

Cheatham said “Ellsworth reminds me of a Lee Hamilton in the making,” to which the crowd cheered. He also talked about Baron Hill doing a lot of things he doesn’t get credit for such as funneling stimulus monies into the counties he serves and the Madison Milton Bridge project.
While State Representative Bob Bischoff was unable to attend the event, he was praised by several speakers. Cheatham said, “he has taught me how to take care of people in his district. He does a great job.” Cheatham said the Democrat party is for fundamental principals such as acting responsible, which will get you ahead; hard work should be rewarded; and solve problems by working together. He said he’s tired of the “hate” campaigns and wants to get down to business serving the people.

Local County Council candidate, who has no opposition this fall, Ed Armbrecht, spoke briefly. He told about how Representative Bischoff had gone to bat for Ripley County to the tune of preserving $2.2 million dollars that could have easily gone to the state. He wanted people to know about this because “Bob never said a word...he did it because it needed to be done.” Armbrecht shared that Bischoff didn’t work for the money so he (Bischoff) would be recognized, he simply saw something that needed to be taken care of and did it.

“We need people like that representing us,” Armbrecht noted. He further stated that it is important for the people of Ripley County to elect William (Bill) Dramann as the next sheriff. “Let’s get this guy elected,” he challenged those gathered. He talked about Dramann’s integrity as a County Councilman, where he presently serves, and said he will be financially responsible when elected as sheriff, a position he held for two terms before.

Others on the local level spoke, including Bill Dramann, who pledged his best to the citizens of the county; Garry Sapp, who has been serving as Franklin Township Trustee for 28 years; and Janice Wittich, who is in her first adventure in the political realm running for Brown Township Trustee.
There were a number of Democrats running for election this year and all were named by Democrat Chairman Mike Baker, who had his wife, Stephanie, helping with the many door prizes and silent auction items. The group enjoyed a roast beef dinner with all the trimmings complete with music by harpist Pat Hicks of Napoleon.

Decorations of red, white, and blue brought the patriotism of the group to the forefront as they took a positive look at what some are calling an unpopular time for Democrats. Democrats admit they’ve had to work hard this election but believe the words of candidate Locke when he said, “We’re going to win because our hearts are in it.”

(Editor’s note: A complete listing of all candidates will be published in a paper just before election.)

Pictured above, Beth Ellsworth, standing, talked with local Democrats at their Jefferson Jackson Dinner held Saturday at the Sherman House. Her husband, Brad Ellsworth, is running for US Senator. Also pictured is Mrs. Joe Decker, front left, Janice Wittich, back left, running for Brown Township Trustee, Anita and David Chandler. At right, Congressman Baron Hill shakes hands with sheriff candidate Bill Dramann, wishing him well.