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Local Government Reform
March 10, 2009

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Mary Hart

Mary Hart has worked in the Trustee's Office for 28 years. She is widowed with one child and two grandchildren and serves on several area boards such as, Cape, Emergency Food and Shelter Grant, Aurora, the Initiative Based Assistance Program and is also the President of the Indiana Township Association. Mary was elected to office in June of 1995.


Joe Kiefer

Joe Kiefer served on the Evansville City Council from 2000-2007 and has served on the Vanderburgh County Council since 2008.  His long-term goals include studying combining local government and looking for ways to streamline government, eliminate waste, and make government more efficient and responsive; instituting "Citistat" a government accountability program that helps make local government more responsive, efficient, and less costly; removing lights from the Lloyd Expressway; equitable pay for police officers and city workers; establishing a new Zoning Code adhering more closely to the master plan; making Evansville a magnet for high tech industry; supporting local schools and universities; and the completion of I-69 and a suitable bypass around Evansville.


Joseph Kernan

Joseph Kernan attended the University of Notre Dame on an athletic scholarship, playing baseball. He graduated in 1968 with a degree in government. In 1969, he enlisted in the Navy as a Naval Flight Officer. He served as a Reconnaissance Attack Navigator, flying 26 missions over Laos and North Vietnam. On May 7, 1972, his plane was shot down and Kernan was captured, beaten and held as a prisoner of war in Hanoi for 11 months. After his release, he continued on active duty until 1974.

After returning to civilian life, Kernan worked in the private and public sectors, including serving as mayor of South Bend.  In 1996, Kernan was asked by gubernatorial candidate Frank O’Bannon to be his running mate.  Kernan was sworn in as governor after Gov. O'Bannon suffered a massive stroke and died on September 13, 2003.  After a hard-fought 2004 gubernatorial campaign, Mitch Daniels was elected with 53 percent of the vote to Kernan's 45 percent. Kernan left office on Jan. 10, 2005.


Jeff Kniese

Jeff D. Kniese has served on the Vanderburgh County Council since 2001. He is a Senior Vice President of Mortgage Banking at Integra Bank Corporation. Prior to joining Integra in 2001, he spent over 14 years with Old National Bank holding several positions in retail lending and insurance with his last position as Vice President responsible for their corporate-wide life and health insurance division. Prior to Old National he spent two years with Morris Plan & Thrift.

Mr. Kniese is the Republican First Ward City Councilman on the Evansville City Council. While on City Council, he has served the Finance, Public Works, Administration-Safety-Development, Salary Administration, Vanderburgh Community Foundation and Youth Leadership Committee’s and is a past President of the Evansville Board of Public Safety. He is a member of the Evansville Police East Sector Citizens Committee and past member of the Area Plan Commission. He has also been a precinct committeeman for the local Republican Party for 15 years. He has been involved with local politics for the past 25 years serving as Finance Chairman for the local Young Republicans, campaign manager for former City Councilman Jim Price, delegate to the Indiana State convention and assisted with numerous campaigns in various capacities.

Mr. Kniese is an Evansville native and holds degrees in Finance from the University of Southern Indiana and Economics from Western Kentucky University. He is also a graduate of the National Consumer Lending School in Oklahoma City.

Mr. Kniese serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana, the YMCA of Southwestern Indiana, the Evansville Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs Committee, WNIN Board, Evansville Endowment Fund Board, was previously involved in numerous other community organizations.  He is the 2002 recipient of the Unsung Hero Award presented by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. This award was presented to only five individuals throughout the state of Indiana in 2002 and Mr. Kniese is only the second person from Evansville to have received this award since its inception.


James H. Madison

James H. Madison is the Thomas and Kathryn Miller Professor of History and former chair of the Department of History, Indiana University, Bloomington. Among his publications are The Indiana Way: A State History; Eli Lilly: A Life; A Lynching in the Heartland: Race and Memory in America; Bloomington: Past & Present (with Scott Sanders and Will Counts), and Slinging Doughnuts for the Boys: An American Woman in World War II.

Professor Madison's teaching has ranged from the freshman introductory history course to courses on Indiana history and on World War II and seminars on automobile culture and on leaders and leadership. He serves also as director of the Liberal Arts and Management Program (LAMP), an honors-level program that offers majors in the College of Arts and Sciences courses in cooperation with the Kelley School of Business and special LAMP seminars.

In 1994, the University awarded Professor Madison the Sylvia E. Bowmen Distinguished Teaching Award. He has also taught, as a Fulbright Professor, at Hiroshima University, Japan, and at the University of Kent, Canterbury, England. He is the recipient of the Indiana Historical Society's Hoosier Historian Award and has been a fellow at Harvard University, the Newberry Library, and the Huntington Library. In 2001 the Organization of American Historians named Professor Madison a Distinguished Lecturer.


Cheryl Musgrave

Cheryl Musgrave was appointed commissioner of the Department of Local Government Finance by Governor Mitch Daniels on July 13, 2007. Mrs. Musgrave brings more than a decade of public service experience to her role in overseeing local government for the state of Indiana.  Mrs. Musgrave was elected as Vanderburgh County Commissioner for District Three in 2004 and became president of the Vanderburgh County Commission in 2005.

From 1995 until being sworn in as County Commissioner in 2005, Mrs. Musgrave was County Assessor for Vanderburgh County. As assessor, Mrs. Musgrave led the way in providing access to public information over the Internet for free by establishing the first Indiana Web site with assessment information. She was the first Vanderburgh County official to introduce the live Internet streaming of public hearings. She championed the county and city’s powerful joint Geographic Information System (GIS) project, which required the digital re-mapping of the entire county. Her efforts culminated in a free online map connected to assessment and sales information. The GIS project required three levels of local government to cooperate (city, county, and township) and provide funding.

During her two and a half terms as County Assessor, Mrs. Musgrave was active in working with her colleagues in county government in Vanderburgh County and across the state. She served on the Legislative Committee of the Association of Indiana Counties and was Legislative Co-Chairman of the County Assessor Association.

Mrs. Musgrave is a 1979 graduate of DePauw University and a graduate of the Lugar Series of Excellence. She is married to Bob Musgrave and is the mother of two children.


Mizell Stewart III

Mizell Stewart III, Editor, Evansville Courier & Press is a veteran newspaper journalist who has coordinated coverage of such high-profile news events as the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the deadlocked 2000 presidential elections, has been editor of the Evansville  Courier & Press since 2007. 
Stewart came to Evansville from the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal where he served as managing editor. Before moving to Akron, Stewart was a consultant for the former Knight Ridder newspapers. While in that role, he helped lead a team of Knight Ridder journalists who coordinated coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath at the Sun-Herald in Biloxi, Miss. The newspaper’s coverage won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

Stewart also is the former editor of the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat where he directed several award-winning reporting efforts, including the newspaper’s coverage of the deadlocked 2000 presidential election and an in-depth examination of Florida’s foster care system.  Stewart began his newspaper career in 1982 as a 16-year-old summer intern and is a journalism graduate of Bowling Green State University. He has lectured at The E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and in the Department of Journalism at Bowling Green State University. He has given presentations on leadership, management, reporting, and diversity for the American Press Institute, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the National Writers Workshops, Investigative Reporters & Editors, the National Association of Black Journalists and the World Journalism Institute. He was a Pulitzer Prize juror in 2001 and 2002. In 2007, Stewart was named a McCormick Tribune Fellow by the National Association of Minority Media Executives and attended the Advanced Executive Program at Northwestern University.


Tony Wolfe

Tony Wolfe has been on the Gibson County Council since 2000, and is currently President of that body. He is the immediate past president of the Indiana County Council Association, an affiliate of the Association of Indiana Counties.  He serves on Congressman Brad Ellsworth’s agriculture committee.  His area of special interest is studying property taxes and their impact on Rural Indiana. He has spoken to thousands of people in the last several years concerning re-assessment, tax restructuring, and the political implications of tax law in Indiana, in a presentation called “Property Tax 101”.  It is a simple presentation designed to teach taxpayers how to read and analyze their property tax statements to insure they are getting the correct tax bill. More recently, his presentations have focused on the implications of tax caps to local units, the shift in tax burdens to different property classes, and the “unintended consequences” of well-intentioned legislation created by the General Assembly in Indiana.

Tony still lives within mile of his birthplace on the family farm. He graduated from Princeton Community High School, attended the University of Evansville studying mathematics and political science, and served eight years in the Indiana Army National Guard, reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant. 

Tony recently retired after 21 years with Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., as a Senior Regional Manager for seven counties. During his time with Indiana Farm Bureau, he became a specialist on local property taxes, and active in legislative affairs at the state and local level.  He is a past SWCD Supervisor, was chairman of Congressman Frank McCloskey's Eighth District Agricultural Advisory Committee, past director on the Gibson County Community Foundation Board, and served on the Indiana DNR Oil and Gas Citizen Council.  Tony and his wife Debbie own and operate Wolfe Farms near Hazelton, Indiana.



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