By Jonathan Bailey | ABC 57 (South Bend)
Oct. 12, 2020
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. — Candidates to become commissioners St. Joseph County’s 2nd District participated in an online forum on Sunday. Republican Derek Dieter and Democrat Oliver Davis fielded questions from voters for about 30 minutes each.
The forum was hosted by Indiana Faith in Action and the Open Space & Agricultural Alliance.
One of the topics of discussion Sunday was how each candidate would address access to better mental health services for the county.
“At first it was a county issue but now cities are having to face it. We have to fund our county health departments again,: said Davis. “We have to fund those because our jails as you stated have become our mental health centers.”
“It reverts to mental issues that’s not being held accountable for St. Joe County,” said Dieter. “They keep saying ‘Oh, it’s a South Bend problem,’ no, it’s a St. Joe County problem.”
Both candidates also had strong opinions on the controversial expansion of the Indiana Enterprise Center.
“Everybody has a right to sell their land if they want.” said Dieter, “They have a right to farm. They have a right to complain about it but since they’ve started this there really hasn’t been an avenue for the people who live in that area to be a part of it.”
“I’ve stood with you all, when we were sitting there past midnight dealing with that situation and it was frustrating to realize that people hadn’t done their homework,” said Davis. “I did my homework over the last 12 years when I was on city council, more over I was on the area plan.”