Elkhart Councilman announces resignation, two candidates emerge to replace him
ELKHART, Ind. - Elkhart First District Common Councilman Gerry Roberts announced Monday night that he will be resigning his seat on the Common Council. His family is moving out of the first district which would make him ineligible to hold the seat. Elkhart Democrats will have to caucus to find his replacement. So far, two candidates have expressed their interest in filling Roberts' seat: Aaron Mishler, an Elkhart nurse, and Dave Osborne who held the seat for eight years before Roberts was elected.
"(Gerry Roberts has) been a wonderful councilman, and I'm very sad to see him go," Mishler said.
Mishler said he believes his unique perspective as a nurse is what makes him the ideal candidate to replace Roberts.
Osborne is touting his experience as a council member.
"I was the councilman, previously, for that position for eight years," Osborne said. "The last election, I waited until the end to file because I wanted to see if somebody else would come forward, and Gerry Roberts stepped forward. So, I didn't bother to run. When I heard Gerry was going to resign, I thought 'well this might be an opportunity to get back and serve the city and do some of the good things I've done in the past.'"
Roberts is the chairman of the Elkhart Common Council Public Health and Safety Committee a seat the Common Council will have to replace once Caucusing is complete. Both Mishler and Osborne agreed that the Coronavirus continues to be a pressing issue for the City of Elkhart.
"As a nurse, a major issue, right now, facing the city of Elkhart is COVID-19, and I feel like my unique perspective as someone who has dealt with COVID-19 directly will help me with the council an help the City of Elkhart overall," Mishler said.
"Of course, I'm interested in seeing how we can deal with this COVID situation because I think this is going to be with us for quite a while," Osborne said. "I think it's going to take a lot of work on the part of the city in order to make things work out for everybody."
Mishler and Osborne both said they are running for the betterment of those around them.
"I'm a fifth generation Elkhartian. I've been in downtown Elkhart for the last 45 years and renovated several historic properties and stuff," Osborne said. "So, I know the district well."
"I'm doing this also for my daughter," said Mishler. "I have a five-year-old daughter, and I want her to grow up in a wonderful city. Elkhart already is a wonderful city, and I want my child to grow up in a wonderful city, and I want everyone else's child to do that as well."
Filling Roberts' seat will take a process.
"(Roberts) will submit his letter (of resignation) towards the end of the month," said Elkhart County Democratic Chairman Chad Crabtree. "When, that happens, I cannot move forward until a vacancy occurs. When that happens, I will call a caucus of the precinct chairs within the first district which will be eight precincts, call them together and they will select the replacement."
Crabtree hopes to have the caucus done and a replacement elected by mid to late August.
Aaron Mishler is also running for a state representative position in the Indiana House of Representatives. If he wins that election and the first district council seat, he will have to resign the council seat and local Democrats would caucus again.