by Mitchell Kirk
Precinct officials of Cass County’s District 1 elected Phillip Rains at a special caucus Thursday night to replace Brent Kelley, who resigned from the county council earlier this month.
“It’s an important job,” Rains said after filling out his paperwork following the vote at the Cass County Republican Headquarters. “It’s something I always wanted to do. I’m retired, my kids are raised and the mortgage is paid off. It’s time to do something.”
The Lucerne resident will represent the townships of Adam, Bethlehem, Boone, Clay, Harrison, Jefferson and Noble.
Rains currently drives a school bus for the Caston School Corporation and is retired from farming corn, soybeans and hogs and from working in construction and engineering for Verizon. He said he plans to apply his background in agriculture to his new position.
“Most of the county’s revenue comes from farm ground and I know how hard it is to farm and hopefully I can help with that,” he said.
Rains added he thinks the most important financial issues facing the county are maintaining adequate wages for county employees and finding the funding to keep highways maintained.
Rains also served on the Pioneer School Corporation board for 16 years, 10 of those as president. He served on the Indiana School Board Association for two years, Cass County 4-H Board for six years and Cass County 4-H Council for 13 years.
Cass County Republican Central Committee Chairwoman Julie Byrd said officials from eight of the district’s 12 precincts were present for the caucus. At least seven had to be present for the vote, which was held privately.
Tracy Williamson of Bethlehem Township also applied for the post.
“We would have been happy with either one,” Byrd said. “They both love the community. Phil is going to do a great job.”
Kelley cut his term short earlier this month after moving out of the district into Logansport and taking a position as executive director of the Cass County YMCA.
Kelley, who served two consecutive three-year terms on the council, said he takes pride in looking back on his time as a public official.
“I enjoyed it,” he said. “Not all decisions were easy and some of them were extremely difficult to make and some of them weren’t very popular but when you’re looking out for the fiscal interests of the taxpayers of Cass County, sometimes those tough decisions have to be made.”
Rains was elected to finish out the remainder of Kelley’s term, which concludes in December 2014. He said he plans to seek reelection at that time.