By Brenda L. Holmes
PLAINFIELD — With all five town council seats up for grabs, the Primary Election race is heating up in Plainfield.
There are currently eight Republicans running to fill the five open seats.
Two of Plainfield’s incumbents, Renea Whicker and Robin Brandgard, are running unopposed for their council seats.
Whicker is running to fill the District 2 seat on the council and completed her first term in that office. Prior to sitting on the town council, she was on the Plainfield Plan Commission for four years.
“I am a citizen that desires to stay informed and be an active participant in the community where I live and make a difference in the future of Plainfield for my children and my students,” Whicker said.
She said she wants to return to office to continue the work that needs to be done on the local level.
“These past years have included challenges not only to our federal, state, and county governments, but to our municipal government as well,” Whicker said. “Department heads worked diligently to cut budgets where cuts can be made. While making every effort toward a paper-free environment, some departments have been able to plan purchases in buying groups, thus going the extra mile and taking the time to save money.”
Brandgard, representing District 4, is also running unopposed. He has been serving as the board’s president. He graduated from Plainfield High School in 1961 and worked 45 years for Allison Transmission, GMC, before retiring in 2007.
“The main issue that the Plainfield Town Council is facing right now is funding the town’s budget and maintaining the services that the citizens of Plainfield want and expect,” Brandgard said. “Through good management and the prudent use of funds available, the town council has been able to do this while not letting any employees go.”
He said he’s running for office to maintain the currently high quality of development and planned growth expected in Plainfield. He said it’s very important to him that the council serves all of the citizens equally and to maintain and improve the town’s “quality of life.”
Running for District 1 are incumbent Kent McPhail and challenger Lance Rhoades.
McPhail has resided in Plainfield for more than 20 years.
“During my tenure, the town has experienced the most rapid growth in its history,” he said. “I am proud of how we have managed that growth to develop the most stable and diversified tax base in the county and Central Indiana.”
He said he’s ready to look toward the future and feels he’s the best man for the job.
“Our challenge for the future is to continue to manage and control this ongoing growth and to continue to provide our citizens with the quality of municipal service that they demand and deserve,” he said.
McPhail has been the executive director of the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce since 2002 and plans to retire later this year. Prior to that, he spent more than 30 years in supervisory and management positions in the steel industry.
Rhoades is coming to the race after several years in politics. He has been a part of Indiana’s political delegation with the National Beer Wholesalers Association, which is the trade association for the beverage business. Rhoades graduated from Plainfield High School in 1973 andworked for his family’s business, Rhoades Beverage Co., for 35 years before purchasing it. He also built the Sports Center and currently owns and operates RE/MAX Centerstone franchises in Plainfield, Brownsburg, and Speedway.
“Each year we would go to Washington, D.C., to meet with our state’s senators and representatives to discuss the needs of our Indiana businesses,” he said. “This is one of the main reasons I am now running for town council. I have been in business here in Plainfield for over 35 years and I know many of the other business owners here.”
He said he’s concerned with helping businesses that have helped Plainfield become the town it now is.
“I know firsthand what problems they face and what has or has not been done by the town to support our businesses,” he said. “I am not as concerned with bringing in new businesses.
“The Town of Plainfield has experienced tremendous growth in the last two decades and we have added some great amenities such as the trail system and the Aquatic Center. But these additions must be carefully ran and maintained to ensure they do not drain our future tax dollars.”
Battling for District 3 are Francy Daum and incumbent Bill Kirchoff.
Daum was born and raised in Hendricks County. She attended Plainfield schools. She is a mother and grandmother who is retired from both the real estate and banking industries.
“I have a concern that Plainfield may be accumulating too much long-term debt,” Daum said. “Especially in a time of economic downturn. While other communities are cutting back on expenditures, Plainfield appears to be spending freely.”
She said she has a sincere desire to bring a new transparency to Plainfield town government and to seek to encourage citizen input on issues.
“I believe strongly that council agendas should be published well in advance of meetings; thus giving citizens an opportunity to review ordinances and resolutions and express their views prior to passage,” Daum said. “The Internet, e-mail, and electronic notices can be used to keep citizens informed of government actions before and after being adopted into law.”
Kirchoff said he is running for re-election because he’s committed to serving the community. He is currently serving his eighth year as vice president of the board and his 12th year on the council. He is retired from Cinergy, which is now Duke Energy.
“I bring a strong management and customer service background from my career at Cinergy,” he said.
He said he wants to continue to help navigate smart, balanced growth in Plainfield and planning for providing the appropriate infrastructure and municipal services.
Kirchoff also said he wants to “manage the financial budgets and resources, making the tough decisions to balance the needs of the community, the pay/benefits of our employees, and the revenues that the town receives.”
The District 5 seat also has two Republicans running — Ed Gaddie and Greg Monnett.
Gaddie is the incumbent in this race. He has been a resident of Plainfield for 45 years and Hendricks County for 70 plus years.
“I’m trying to help taxpayers save money in these hard times,” Gaddie said. “We need to cut back on spending at the state, school, federal, and town (levels).”
He said it’s his goal to make sure the next generations do not have take on too much debt.
“(Getting) grant money will be hard on the next generation,” he said. “My grandkids and maybe my sons and daughter will take on the problem.”
Gaddie is retired from Allison Transmission and EDS (Electronic Date Systems).
Monnett has lived in Plainfield for 18 years and is a funeral director.
“I believe the main issues facing the town of Plainfield are growing our economic stability (new business, filing our distribution centers in our warehouse districts with adequate paying jobs), keeping our low tax rate without raising taxes, finding funding for our infrastructures possibly by increasing permit fees, traffic violations, town court fees, etc., and finding a way to give our town employees a raise,” he said.
He has been a member of the Plainfield Board of Zoning Appeals for the last eight years.
“I’ve been able to meet with a lot of town residents and work with our town departments on various matters that effect the entire town,” Monnett said. “I am ready to make the move to the next level of our town government.”
Other than town council, there are two more Republican incumbents running for a spot on the November ballot. Wes Bennett will once again run for the job of clerk-treasurer and Jim Spencer will run to be the town court judge.