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Welmer Selected As New Bartholomew County GOP Chair

Written by Mark Webber, from The Republic

Luann Welmer, Columbus’ Clerk-Treasurer, was chosen as the next Bartholomew County Republican Central Committee chairwoman during a vote Saturday at YES Cinema.

Saturday’s secret ballot election with 102 county GOP members casting ballots represents a seismic change in local GOP leadership, with the local party turning its leadership to a younger generation.

Welmer, will lead the party, with her slate of candidates also being elected, including Josh Burnett as Vice-Chair, Leah Beyer as Secretary and Liana Lienhoop as Treasurer.

"We feel they have a lot of connections that haven’t been tapped yet who want to get involved," said Welmer. "They want to become part of the party and the success we’re having. These officers can reach out to young groups and ask them to become involved."

That strategy, as well as reviving the Young Republicans’ Club in the Columbus area, is intended to create an enthusiasm that will keep the local GOP moving forward, according to Liana Lienhoop, the daughter-in-law of Bartholomew County commissioner Carl Lienhoop.

"When Luann reached out to me, she was pretty clear she was looking for energy, ideas and making sure our party was focused on doing things that are not only good now, but will also help the party build for the future," Burnett said.

Welmer, who has served as Columbus clerk-treasurer since 2011, succeeds Barb Hackman, the current Bartholomew County Treasurer, who announced earlier her intention to step down as chairwoman. Hackman became head of the county party following the death of Ted Ogle in early 2013.

Welmer described Hackman’s performance as party chairwoman over the past eight years with one word — "amazing."

While the Republican Central Committee does many things, Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop said their two most significant responsibilities are fundraising and candidate recruitment.

Since all county, state and federal officials representing Bartholomew County are Republican, Welmer said there’s no doubt they’ve been successful with one exception — the Democrats have the majority on the Columbus City Council.

Instead of resting on their laurels, Welmer said it is now very important to keep the party together and ensure that whatever efforts are made in the community will go towards reflecting the party’s conservative values.

Welmer is a graduate of Purdue University. She and her husband, David, are members of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. They have two adult children, Lydia and Elliott.

The procedure for selection of a county party chairman and three officers is spelled out in the Rules of the Indiana Republican State Committee.

Every four years, new officers are chosen with secret ballots on the first Saturday in March between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Those eligible to vote are precinct committeemen and their appointed vice-committeemen who have been elected in primaries held during presidential election years, the rules state.

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