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January 22, 2014

KITCHELL: Logansport's political past revealed on WFYI

Jim Shella’s long-running show “Indiana Week in Review” indirectly paid some homage to the significance of Logansport politically.

Shella, who covers the Indiana Statehouse for WISH, included a segment with former State Treasurer Julian Ridlen and the political campaign memorabilia museum they have opened here. Julian and his wife, Sue, have more background than just eight years in office in Indianapolis when it comes to politics. Sue’s father, the late Logansport attorney Leland Smith, was Indiana Secretary of State. The Ridlens spent time in Washington as college students and were on hand in 1963 to hear the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

Shella and panelists also mentioned another Logansport political name from the past in Tom Huston, who also has a political memorabilia collection. Huston, whose family donated land for Huston Park on the north bank of the Eel River, worked in the Nixon administration.

Finally, the “Indiana Week” group discussed the three potential candidates running for state treasurer on the Republican ticket. Among that trio is Kelly Thompson Mitchell, the first female to be elected county commissioner in Cass County. Mitchell has worked for former State Treasurer Richard Mourdock. Although she is running third in fund-raising currently, Mitchell has experience working in the office on her side.

The three references for politicians from Cass may be a record for the show, but it also points to the long-running history of Logansport as a pivotal place for candidates to campaign. Logansport is situated in a county named for a Democratic presidential candidate, but it has the longest running Republican Lincoln Day Dinner in the state. It has been home to U.S. senators and congressional candidates, not to mention the Landis family which produced not only a federal judge who was baseball’s first commissioner, but a state supreme court justice and federal appointees.

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