Bartels ready to ‘bridge the gap’ for constituents


Republican Stephen Bartels poured a glass of 2016 cabernet sauvignon blanc from an oak barrel in the back of his wine stock on Tuesday night.


Bartels — who co-owns Patoka Lake Winery — may bottle it in a year or two. He hasn’t decided when. By then, his first full term in the District 74 Indiana Representative seat could almost be up.

The Republican defeated Democrat Larry Kleeman, 3,875-2,260, for the seat on Tuesday.

Today, he will contact democratic leadership throughout the district and set up meetings to introduce himself and “bridge the gap,” he said. Running for office has opened his mind to different viewpoints.

“The people that supported and voted for me, I want to say thank you,” Bartels said. “But more importantly, the people that did not vote for me, I want to say, I represent you. I’m here to listen to you. And I have an open mind, so, I ask them to reach out to me with what their needs are.”

District 74 includes Cass, Ferdinand, Jackson, Jefferson and Patoka townships in Dubois County as well as portions of Spencer and Orange counties and all of Perry and Crawford counties.

Bartels will schedule three summits with the district’s emergency personnel, educators and professionals who work with children, as well as local governments before the second week in December to determine bills that need to be drafted for the upcoming legislative session.

Though disappointed with the outcome, Kleeman enjoyed getting out and meeting constituents during his run for office.

“The part of interacting with people and learning new things and meeting new people, it kind of reinforces the experiences I’ve had over my life,” he said. “And it truly is a small world.”

He’s interacted with people that share many connections with him that he never would have met before the campaign.

“That enriches my life, and that’s something that can never be taken away.”

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