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Democratic candidates face off in St. Joseph County sheriff race

NOW: Democratic candidates face off in St. Joseph County sheriff race

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Democratic candidates for St. Joseph County Sheriff faced off for the first time ahead of May’s primary.

ABC57 News is hosting several debates along with the league of women’s voters IUSB’s Political Science Club and the American Democracy Project and the first one took place Tuesday.

Voters attending the event agree the candidates were very experienced but talent alone isn’t enough for them.

Quite a few said they’re interested in seeing who could actually provide change to the department.

“I want to see if what they’re saying is really going to happen, because it hasn’t happened yet and yet they’re in leadership positions,” said voter Anita.

Anita was one of a room full of people looking to keep the candidates honest as they made their pitch Tuesday to head St. Joseph County’s law enforcement.

While they talked issues like school safety, the opioid crisis and more, some audience members wanted to know how they will handle issues inside the department.

“I think it’s so important that minorities are on the force, that women are on the force and there is a collective understanding of different areas, different diversities, different cultures,” said voter Joan Evans.

Seeing those issues addressed is part of the reason why the forum was packed.

And considering last year’s midterm elections only saw a 29 percent turnout in the county, some hope that interest continues come May.

“Our commitment to each other is to vote in people that are going to be good legislators,” said Pam Claeys, a representative from the League of Women Voters.

Wednesday, Elkhart County Sheriff candidates will face each other for the first time at IUSB's Elkhart Center starting at 6:30 pm.

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