PRINCETON — Warren Fleetwood of Fort Branch filed a petition of candidacy as the Democratic candidate for Gibson County Commissioner District 3 Tuesday morning.

Fleetwood was nominated in a Monday evening meeting of Gibson County Democrats as a challenger to incumbent GOP Gibson County Commissioner Gerald Bledsoe of Owensville, who fended off GOP challenger Richard Wallace of Owensville in the June 2 primary election.

Fleetwood, a Mitchell native and 20-year resident of Gibson County, said he doesn’t consider himself a career politician, but served two terms on the Fort Branch Town Council, including the post of president. In his tenure on the town council, he noted community improvements including the parks, a new community center and working to help locate the Vincennes University Gibson County campus near Fort Branch.

He describes himself as a fiscal conservative, and while he is a Democratic candidate, he said he has friends in both major political parties. “I believe people need to know their candidates and what they stand for,” he said Tuesday morning.

“I’m fiscally conservative, and I strongly oppose zoning,” he said. Fleetwood said his decision to enter the county commissioner race was cemented on March 17 when commissioners voted 2-0 to re-adopt a comprehensive plan which is the basis for studying proposed zoning in Gibson County. He said Bledsoe chose not to attend that meeting and offered no position statement on the matter. “That was a turning point, in my thinking. We need someone to represent Gibson County in the good times and bad.”

Fleetwood said his main objective would be to eliminate wasteful spending and focus on using resources to better serve the entire community, making note of a recent request by commissioners for additional funding for attorney fees.

The county recently hired an architect to help propose design of a new Gibson County Jail or expansion of the existing facility, which is the focal point of a federal lawsuit against the county that alleges overcrowding and under-staffing.

“My theory is, they need to look at this jail issue and get this taken care of...It’s gone on for way too long...We need action.”

Fleetwood said that while he opposes zoning, he is committed in one of his first priorities, to adopting a safety ordinance which he said would protect the Doppler radar tower and other safety interests in the county.

“Gibson County is the envy of many, many other counties,” he said. Positioned between two major interstates with access to rail, industry such as Toyota and related companies, institutions such as Vincennes University, Oakland City University and “an agriculture industry second to none,” he said the county is beginning to see an influx of people moving here.

“As a commissioner, I will help foster more growth, whether it is East, North or South Gibson,” he said.

Fleetwood said he supports local law enforcement and fire protection districts in the county.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Southern Indiana and master’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan University. He is a teacher Mount Carmel schools.

He and his wife, the former Alana Kuester, have four children.

He has served as president of Fort Branch baseball and softball leagues, served as a 4-H judge in several area counties, serves on the parish council at Holy Cross Church, previously served on the Union Township Advisory Board and as president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce in Evansville.

Email Andrea Howe at andrea@pdclarion.com.

— Email Andrea Howe at andrea@pdclarion.com

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