Former county commissioner Kevin Meyer has reentered the realm of county politics after being elected by Democratic Party leaders on Saturday to fill the at-large county council seat being vacated by Tim Crowley at the end of the year.
Democrat precinct committeemen, led by chairman Sandi Stewart, gathered at the Harmony Society to choose between three men: Meyer, Dan Reitmeyer and Ray McCormick.
Meyer emerged the victor in just one vote.
Meyer, who has been a farmer, an insurance salesman, a salesman at the former Vincennes Tractor and now a business developer with architectural and engineering firm RQAW, was elected as a county commissioner in 2009; he served only one term and did not seek re-election.
The workload of a commissioner, he said, was simply too much.
But as soon as he left office, he said, he began imagining a way back; he missed the service and camaraderie of county government.
When his wife, Beth, read in The Sun-Commercial of former judge Tim Crowley's pending resignation, they both saw it as the perfect opportunity to throw his hat back in the ring.
“My wife and I, we always discussed ways I could get back into county politics,” he said. “And when she read that in the paper, she said to me, 'Kevin, this is an opportunity we need to talk about.'
“When she said that, I knew.”
Meyer said he learned a lot as a county commissioner; he's learned even more, he said, in his years since in working with RQAW. He's formed valuable friendships, he said, that he believes can be used to help the county along unknown paths.
“I think the most exciting thing to me is the knowledge I will be able to bring, knowledge that I didn't have before,” he said. “I've built relationships, not only in southwest Indiana but all over the state. I go to a lot of conventions, attend commissioner meetings, council meetings, visit with mayors daily. I've built tons of relationships and friendships.
“There will be times when we won't need to reinvent the wheel,” he said. “I can reach out to someone I know somewhere who has gone through a similar situation, call them up, ask them how they did it. I think that will make things easier on us.”
Meyer, too, points to his life in rural Knox County; he lives outside of Monroe City on a farm. He also holds a CDL license and used to drive trucks. He's an outdoorsman, he said.
“When you live out there, you learn about roads, bridges, those are things I notice everyday. So I bring a lot of that knowledge, too, ” he said.
And being the only Democrat on the county council, he said, isn't likely to be an issue, just as it wasn't for Crowley either.
“I already know each and every one of these guys,” Meyer said of his fellow council members. “So that's not going to pose a problem for me. And I don't think it will for the majority of the council either.”
Crowley, a former county Superior Court I judge, officially gave to Stewart his written intent to retire on Nov. 14, and state law allows local party leaders just 30 days to hold a caucus to elect a replacement.
Crowley will attend his last council meeting of the year on Tuesday.
He has bought a retirement property in Florida, he told the council last month, and plans to split the year between Vincennes and his new home there.