Last week Randy Stumler announced he was heading for the Azores. His adventurous move created two openings. An outstanding candidate has stepped forward to announce that she would like to fill one of the vacancies.
Suellen Wilkinson has decided to seek Stumler's unexpired term on the Floyd County Council. For those who know Ms. Wilkinson this is wonderful news. For those who don't know her, let me offer why it is, in fact, wonderful news.
Ms. Wilkinson has lived in New Albany for 19 years. During 16 of those years she worked at the Floyd County Museum, now known as the Carnegie Center for Art and History. She was instrumental in raising it to the level it holds today as one of the shining examples of what New Albany is capable of achieving when its citizens work together for the common good. She was at various times the Director of Development and the Director of Business Operations. She has been involved in many of the good efforts of our community. Her resume also includes volunteer contributions of work with the Arts Council of Southern Indiana, Leadership Southern Indiana, the Library Board, and the Board of Directors for Rauch Industries. Although she is now retired, she can still be found many days at the Carnegie Center.
Prior to moving to New Albany Ms. Wilkinson held several key positions in government in her home state of Wisconsin. She was on the Governor's staff and the Attorney General's staff. She was the state Chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party.
All of these positions highlight her ability which would be a welcome asset on the County Council. Her involvement in the community gives her strong background knowledge of the most capable and committed people in our midst. The high regard shown toward the Carnegie Center stands as a testament to her work there. It bears mention, of course, that the Carnegie Center depends on the contribution of time and effort from its entire staff under the direction of Sally Newkirk, but Ms. Wilkinson is the subject at hand, and her effectiveness with the Center is one of the important qualifiers for her service on the County Council.
The balance of Randy Stumler's County Council term will be filled by a caucus vote to be held August 5. It is critical that in filling this unexpired term we look toward who is best qualified to stand for election in the fall. Ted Heavrin has already secured a spot on the November ballot. The person named to fill out Stumler's term will be, in essence, the Democratic Party's farm team. This short period of time is that person's brief opportunity to get known in the wider community. Unabashedly, I think Suellen Wilkinson is highly qualified and well suited to assume the duties of a County Council representative. I think we are fortunate that people of her caliber and qualification are willing to serve in this position. As a Democrat, I don't think we could find a stronger candidate to complete the slate we offer to the voters in November.