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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Next Chapter

City hands the baton to the county for 2024 elections

Fresh off a busy Evansville campaign cycle that saw the city elect its first new mayor in 12 years, it is Vanderburgh County’s turn to hold elections in 2024, and voters will weigh in on a pair of races for the county’s Board of Commissioners.

Ben Shoulders announced on Jan. 24 that he will not run in this year’s election for a third term on the commission. Not only that, Shoulders said he is resigning from the District 1 seat, foregoing his final year in office.

The Democrat says he has accepted a private sector job, the specifics of which will be made public on Feb. 5.

“It is an opportunity that my family and I couldn’t turn down,” Shoulders told Evansville Business. “I am genuinely excited for this opportunity.”

Shortly after Shoulders’ news broke, fellow Democrat Mike Goebel filed candidacy papers to seek the position. Goebel is a current member of the Vanderburgh County Council and a longtime teacher and coach at Mater Dei High School.

Republican Jonathan Weaver, a former at-large member of the Evansville City Council and former Vanderburgh County Assessor, already had announced a campaign for Shoulders’ seat on the county commission.

The Vanderburgh County Democratic Party will conduct a caucus at 9 a.m. Feb. 3 at Ironworkers Local 103, 5313 Old Boonville Highway, to name a replacement to serve Shoulders’ final year on the county commission. Goebel told Evansville Business on Jan. 26 that he will enter that caucus.

Shoulders’ seat is one of a pair of races this year on the Vanderburgh County Board of Commissioners. The other spot up for election, the District 3 spot, is held by Republican Cheryl Musgrave. Musgrave has filed to run for a new term. Hope Fussner, a Democrat who works for Reckitt as an innovation project manager, also is seeking the seat.

The three-member commission serves as the executive body of Vanderburgh County government, essentially acting as “mayor of the county,” and each one makes a $42,130 annual salary. The seat held by the current District 2 commissioner, Republican Justin Elpers, next comes up for election in 2026.

Recent priority projects by the commissioners have included rural broadband expansion, adding four pickleball courts and two tennis courts at Burdette Park, and tweaking local building requirements to allow smaller lots and the construction of more homes.

The 2024 elections will help to determine how those priorities might change, or stay the same, moving forward.

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Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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