2 seek Democratic nomination for council seatApril 9, 2019
By LEANN BURKE
FERDINAND — For the first time since he ran for office 20 years ago, Town Councilman Ron Weyer has an opponent.
Both Weyer, 64, and Steven Pancake, 50, will appear on the Democratic primary ballot — early voting starts today — as they compete for the party’s nomination for the at-large council seat.
“It’ll be good to do some campaigning again,” Weyer said.
Weyer first joined the Town Council in 2000 after many calls from the council members of the time encouraging him to run for the office. At first, he said no, but they eventually convinced him. Weyer has seen a lot come and go in Ferdinand in the 20 years since then, but he can’t pinpoint one thing he’s liked the best.
“I just think there’s a lot of good things going on in Ferdinand,” he said. “Obviously I can’t take credit for them, but I like to think I was part of making Ferdinand a good place to live and raise a family.”
Right now, Weyer is most involved with the town’s overhaul of the electric infrastructure. That project replaced equipment the town has had since the 1950s and ’60s, and created a backup system.
Weyer is also involved with the update of the town’s water and sewer infrastructure and the trail project around the Old Town Lake, which his son, Matt, is heading up as president of the Ferdinand Park Board.
All the projects are part of the reason Weyer decided to seek re-election.
“I’d like to see them through,” he said. “I hate to get stuff started and not see it through.”
When the council makes decisions, Weyer said he tries to think things through and use good common sense while also being open to new ideas. A main focus for him is being fiscally responsible and making sure the town operates without a deficit. If re-elected, he plans to continue to lead in the same way.
“I hope people will look at my record and what I’ve done, and realize that I intend to continue on that same path,” he said.
Weyer has lived his whole life in Ferdinand, where he is co-owner of Weyer Electric Inc. He and his wife, Lou Ann, raised three sons — Matt, Nick and Brad.
Like his opponent, Pancake has also lived his whole life in Ferdinand, which he said makes him invested in the town’s well-being and future. After recently retiring from Jasper Engines and Transmissions, Pancake decided to seek office to get a new face in the town’s leadership.
“The whole town needs a younger system coming through,” Pancake said. “Some of them have been on there for 20 years almost. It’s overdue for a change.”
Looking around town, Pancake said, he sees areas that could use an update, particularly the main stretch through town. He’d like to see consistent curbs throughout the town as well.
Pancake also has concerns about trucks running through town if a proposed coal-to-diesel plant in Dale goes through. He’d like to see an ordinance in place that requires large trucks and hazardous material trucks to use the town’s bypass.
“The trucks are going to come through Huntingburg and Jasper, and they’re going to come right through Ferdinand,” he said. “There’s a big risk there, and I think the town of Ferdinand should have some kind of road they can take to go around the town; not go straight through town.”
Pancake is also concerned about the town council only having three members. If elected, he said, he’d explore growing the governing body to five members.
Pancake’s biggest goal, if elected, is simply to change it up and bring in new ideas.
“The town needs a new person in there, and things need to change,” he said. “It’s just set in its old ways.”
As a single retiree, Pancake said he’ll have plenty of time to put in the work needed to make the change he believes the people of Ferdinand are ready to see.
“A lot of people are wanting new change, according to what they tell me,” Pancake said. “It doesn’t seem like [current officials] get anything done. They’re just stuck in their old ways.”
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