Dawn Barr and Ronald Ping

Two candidates are on the ballot for the Union Township seat on the Franklin Union Needham Township Board.

The township board in Indiana’s first merged township is composed of a member from each of the townships. The township board advises the township trustee on budgetary matters and helps execute the township government duties including providing aid to the indigent, fire protection and cemetery maintenance.

The seat for Union Township is currently held by Dawn Barr, who was chosen by the former Union township board to represent the township on the merged board. Barr, a Republican, is challenged by Democrat Ronald Ping.

Each seat on the three-member FUN township board is opposed this year, with one Democrat and one Republican in each race.

The Daily Journal emailed questions to each township board candidate about their experience and goals for the office. With some edits for grammar and formatting, here are the responses we received from Union Township candidates:

What drew you to run for this office?

Barr: I was asked to take over the position when Norma Deer passed away to finish out her term. I then ran after that term was over and wasn’t sure if I would run this term. Once we made the merge and I saw how much more we could do for our community in Union Township, I decided I definitely wanted to run again.

Ping: I feel a need to be involved in the process of governance at some level. The most basic level would seem to be the township trustee board, assisting the most in need and deserving of our fellow citizens when their needs are most urgent, and helping oversee the funds for that assistance are properly allocated and accounted for.

What qualifications for you have for this office?

Barr: I have lived in Union Township for over 30 years. I am involved in my community and know many families within my community as many of our children went to Union Elementary. I was PTO co-president for a term. I am a wife, a mother, very involved with my church and a business owner. I feel that I have connections with several local businesses and individuals that would hopefully benefit our community with donations, job opportunities, et cetera.

Ping: I have several years of experience overseeing the fiscal and financial health of several successful businesses. I believe I possess the necessary skills to understand and navigate multi-levels of bureaucracy. I believe myself to be a good judge of character and generally get a good read on people and situations.

What, to you, are the most important duties of this office?

Barr: The most important duty is assisting our township board in helping families and individuals in need within our community.

Ping: I believe the most important duties are supporting the township’s first responders and meeting the needs of those requiring relief assistance and advising the trustee on those issues.

What are the most pressing issues facing the township, if there are any?

Barr: The most pressing issue is helping families in need of assistance.

Ping: Without detailed knowledge of daily current issues, I would have to say a review of the current state of township finances is the most pressing matter before the board.

What are your top three priorities and how will you execute those?:

Barr: First, is new assistance opportunities. I would execute these by meeting with fellow board members, discussing new assistance opportunities, researching what opportunities other townships offer and coming up with a plan to implement new services as we agree on. Secondly, transitional housing, with execution by meeting with the board, discussing, finding a location and working on getting the funding to make this happen. Thirdly, raising assistance Awareness in Union Township. I would work with the board to find ways of bringing more awareness of what the township offers.

Ping: First, is ensuring fiscal prudence and responsibility. Secondly, assuring those in the most need get the necessary assistance or tools to get that assistance. Thirdly, better promote the duties and responsibilities of the trustee office.

Do you think people are aware of township services? What ideas do you have to raise awareness?

Barr: I feel like people within the community of Union Township aren’t as aware as other communities. I would like to work with the board to bring more awareness to all the services the FUN Township has to provide to them.

Ping: I don’t feel most residents are aware of the township’s services or responsibilities. I believe that awareness should be raised and promoted and will seek methods to accomplish that if elected.

What else would you like to say to voters?:

Barr: If re-elected into this position, I will work with my fellow board members to bring as much assistance as possible to our communities. I am very passionate about helping others in need and feel this is a great opportunity to make this happen.

Ping: While I bare no animus toward Ms. Barr, I do feel her views as well as the views of the family members who preceded her have been well represented on the Township board for many years now, and perhaps its time for a fresh set of eyes to look out for Union Township’s interests and the interests of those seeking the township’s help. Also, although I am by no means wealthy, I intend to donate any salary I receive back to the township.

The Barr File

Name: Dawn Barr

Party: Republican

Age: 54

Family: Husband Chris, two children

Occupation: Premium Property Management Group, president and property manager

Educational background: Elkhart Memorial High School, Vincennes University

Political experience: Union Township Board, Franklin Union Needham Township Board

Military Service: none

Memberships: Emmanuel Church

The Ping File

Name: Ronald Ping

Party: Democrat

Age: 65

Family: Wife Patricia, three children

Occupation: Retired from Now Courier, Inc., regional operations manager

Educational background: Perry Meridian High School, IUPUI

Political experience: Ran for Union Township Board in 2018

Military Service: Army, 1974-1975, honorable discharge

Memberships: None