3 officials opt to not run for re-election


The makeup of Jasper and Huntingburg’s rosters of elected officials will look a little different next year.

Huntingburg will for sure have at least one new council member. Jasper will have a new council member and a new clerk-treasurer.

Huntingburg Councilman Kerry Blessinger decided to not run for a second term.

“I’m a firm believer that if you’re going to run in a public position, you really need to be involved,” he said. “My business has picked up over the last three to four years. So that’s been a crunch for me, to keep up there.”

He plans to stay involved in city business as an interested citizen.

“I’m going to be lurking around in the shadows,” Blessinger said. “I’ve told a couple of them guys, you might see me on the other end of this sometimes, out there in the audience.”

Blessinger encouraged other residents and concerned citizens to do the same.

“It would be nice if more people attended our meetings and speak their concerns. That’s what the councilmen are there for,” he said. “You get elected by the people, so you need to know what the people want.”

Independent Amber Wahl and Republican Jose Alfredo Dubon are running for Blessinger’s District 4 seat.

Jasper Councilman John Bell also cited work commitments in his reasoning for not running for a second term.

“With changes in my professional life and my personal life, I felt like it was time for me to put my focus on other things, in a different direction.”

Bell said he will miss serving on the council.

“I’ve enjoyed my time on the council,” he said. “And I’ve met some wonderful people.”

He has already started the transition. He has resigned from the city’s redevelopment commission so that new council member Phil Mundy could join. “I did that to allow him to get acclimated in his new role as councilman,” Bell said.

Mundy joined the common council in January to complete the last year of Dean Vonderheide’s term as an at-large councilman. Vonderheide resigned to became mayor of Jasper.

As for Bell’s District 3 seat, Republican Chad Lueken and Democrat Daniel Kreilein are hoping to win that position and replace Bell.

Jasper Clerk-Treasurer Juanita Boehm has decided to retire from her position this year.

“They always say that a person will know when it’s time,” Boehm said. “It’s time.”

The Democrat worked in public accounting for 23 years before becoming Jasper’s clerk-treasurer in 1996.

Boehm volunteers in various community groups, and plans to continue. She does not plan to get a part-time position in the financial field. “If I do, it will be through volunteer work,” she said.

Democrat Allen Seifert will replace Boehm next year, as no one is running against him for the clerk-treasurer position.

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