possess the right of self-government.”
Timothy believes localized, “close to the people” township government needs to be preserved and improved in Indiana!
As a Penn Township Firefighter, Timothy Wesco has taken great interest in understanding the role, functions and history of township government. As a result, he has come to regard it as an important and effective form of governing that must be preserved and improved.
Originally proposed by Thomas Jefferson in 1784, townships are embedded in Indiana’s early history being formed here prior to our becoming a state in 1816. We are one of twenty states that currently have some form of township government.
Even though most people know little about how township government works, here in the 21st District and across Indiana, the townships represent an essential key to democracy: a locally controlled government which is close to the people. The more localized a government and the more access the people have to that government, the better it is. This is what Jefferson intended in his original proposal--a government that stems directly from the people or, in other words, self-government.
Repeatedly over the past six years, the question of eliminating townships has been raised in Indiana. Indianapolis law makers are diligently seeking to do away with this locally controlled form of government. The first battle came in 2004 with House Bill 1155 which proposed total elimination. Since that time, each session of the General Assembly has heard bills to either reform or to completely eradicate township government.
The tragedy of such bills is that they end local control over fire protection, poor relief and the tax rates that pay for these services. Small rural communities would no longer have the votes.
Here in St. Joseph and Elkhart Counties, if the southern townships lose self-government, the major urban centers of South Bend, Mishawaka and Elkhart (where there are far more votes) will control rural taxes and the rural fire service. This is not a representation of the people; it obstructs the essential principle of self-government.
Timothy Wesco believes we should strive to encourage townships to work together and to be more efficient, but he is committed to opposing any measure that would eradicate township government. Township government is a vital part of our state government and embodies the very principle of government of, and by, the people.