Candidates for Elkhart County sheriff to debate Wednesday

NOW: Candidates for Elkhart County sheriff to debate Wednesday

ELKHART, Ind. -- Three candidates will face off in the Republican primary race for Elkhart County sheriff Wednesday. 

All three candidates are long-term members of the sheriff's department. They include Investigator Fred Mock with 35 years of experience, Captain John Perry with 30 years of experience and Captain Jeff Siegel with 26 years of experience. 

The debate is set to start at 6:30 p.m. at the Indiana University South Bend Elkhart Center on Franklin Street. 

"I think it's going to be a good opportunity for people in the community to get to know what the candidates have to say and what their positions are," said Angela Davis, a board member for the Elkhart County League of Women Voters. 

Davis will serve as one of the panelists at the debate, asking the candidates questions submitted by the public. 

The three Republican candidates are the only ones competing for the open seat. 

"I don't remember there being three Republican candidates in a primary race before," said Davis. 

She hopes to focus on topics important to Elkhart County during the debate. One topic in particular: immigration. 

"I'm hoping people can see the three candidates, what they have to offer, how they'll represent the community and how they'll represent issues like immigration and women's rights," said Davis. 

ABC 57 News is hosting the debate along with the American Democracy Project, the Political Science Club of IU South Bend and the League of Women Voters of Elkhart County. 

Dr. Elizabeth Bennion, professor of Political Science at IU South Bend, organized both the debate for Elkhart County sheriff and the debate for St. Joseph County sheriff. 

She says she looks forward to seeing how Wednesday's Elkhart County Republican candidates approach big community issues in comparison with the Democratic candidates from St. Joseph County. 

“How much does partisanship matter when we’re talking about public safety and how much convergence is there?" said Dr. Bennion. "And one of the things that that tells us if there are a variety of points of convergence where St. Joe County Democrats and Republicans in Elkhart County are talking about some of the same solutions, that tells us that we as community members should work together across party lines  to help the sheriff department in making our communities safer."

There will be a reception after Wednesday's debate for voters to speak one-on-one with the candidates. 

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