Voters in Monroe County, Indiana, elected a total of 61 local officials in 2022, who start their terms of office on Jan. 1, 2023.
That includes judges, a county commissioner, the sheriff, the recorder, the clerk, the assessor, the prosecutor, county councilors, town councilors, township trustees, township board members, and school board members.
About one-third of them took their oath of office in a public ceremony starting at noon on Sunday, New Year’s Day in the Nat U. Hill room at the county courthouse.
It was a bipartisan event, featuring remarks from Monroe County Republican Party chair Taylor Bryant, and her counterpart for the Democratic Party, David Henry.
Bryant thanked the families of newly elected officials for attending the event. “I think families are the foundation to a strong elected official.” She added, ‘Having a supporting family is a really big deal.”
Bryant also addressed those who were taking their oath of office that day: “The community is stronger, because each of you chose to serve. Your visions for these offices, and your willingness to take the lead really is what makes our community strong.”
In his remarks, Henry rejected the characterization that the 1830s French writer, Alexis de Tocqueville, had given the people who were starting to settle the area that would become known as southern Indiana.
According to Tocqueville, those future Hoosiers were “in every respect, inferior to the Americans who inhabit the older parts of the Union.”
The quote from Tocqueville continues: “But they already exercise a great influence in its councils, and they arrive at the government of the commonwealth before they have learned to govern themselves.”
Henry pointed to Indiana’s sheer number of elected officials per capita, saying “Hoosiers like them some government.” Henry’s response to Tocqueville, “Yes, Alexis, … we have learned to govern ourselves.”
New Year’s Day is for many, traditionally a day for viewing football games on television.
So Henry drew a parallel between sports teams and elected officials, saying, “Our voters have assembled a talented team for the next term.” He continued, “In picking you off the bench and sending you into the game, we the voters expect the teamwork that will carry us to community consensus, to a sustainable commons, for a better government, for an inclusive and equitable civic life—for the greater good.”
Henry added, “We are relying on you…to both listen and to lead; to both grow and to sustain; to both do and not do; to prove the skeptics wrong; that is to say, to govern.
Photos: Jan. 1, 2023 (Nat U. Hill Room swearing in ceremony)