At a time of transition for Whiteland, voters endorsed two current town council members and voted for one new voice.
Republican incumbent Chris Hadley beat out newcomer James Klenner for the nomination for his seat in Ward 2, representing all areas of the town west of U.S. 31. Hadley gained 51 percent of the votes, compared with 49 percent for Klenner.
In the at-large election, representing the entire town, Republican Kent Beeson was seeking a second term and won the Republican nomination, along with first-time town council candidate Scot Ford, who took the nomination for the other open at-large seat. The pair beat out incumbent Bob Zehr. Ford took 40 percent of the votes, Beeson had 37 percent, and Zehr had 23 percent.
All of the winners will now move onto the general election in the fall, where they could face a Democrat or independent candidate.
Ford, who had served in the past on Whiteland’s plan commission, the board of zoning appeals and the redevelopment commission, said attracting new business was one of his tops concerns. He wanted to work to improve infrastructure, including upgrading the sewer system, where inefficiencies are contributing to increasing water and sewer rates for residents.
Those aspects resonated with voters, he said.
“A lot of it had to do with the condition of our infrastructure, streets, sewers. I think that people want change. The fact that we have $6 million in debt, that’s a problem we have to solve,” Ford said. “I see things changing in this town, and I’m hoping to be part of it.”
Beeson also campaigned on attracting more controlled growth, with new industry and new residents that can help raise the tax base. He emphasized the importance of guidelines and rules to bring in new developments that fit the town.
“The voters are seeing that we’re moving in the right direction. People want to continue to see positive things,” he said. “We’re going to continue on with what we’re doing in the town, and keep the stuff we’ve started moving in the right direction.”
Hadley, who has been the town council representative for Ward 2 since 2007, had watched Whiteland develop its own assets that made it prime for growth. Its location makes it an attractive area for new industry to locate, and he wanted to serve another term on the board to help improve infrastructure and establish a stronger economic base for the town.
Republicans David Hawkins in Ward 1 and Phillip Wilson in Ward 3 were unopposed in the primary.
Whiteland Town Council Ward 2
Whiteland Town Council At-Large