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GOP lucky to have Shine in mentor role


Allen County Republican Chairman Steve Shine has helped many people like me get involved and make a difference in Republican politics in northeast Indiana.

He’s always been fair and understands that politics is the art of getting good people elected first before good policy can be enacted.

He also understands that while every conservative may not have come from the same mold, they are still conservatives and they belong at the table of the Republican Party.

Winning elections is not about excluding conservatives. It is about building coalitions and majorities. Shine understands this.

I’m proud to call Shine a friend and believe there are a lot more people like me he can mentor and bring into the fold of Republican politics in our area. That’s why I support him for re-election as chairman of the Allen County Republican Party.

When I moved back to my hometown of Columbia City in 2007 after living in Colorado for a few years, Shine helped me get involved in local politics. When I volunteered to become chairman of the Whitley County Republican Party, having no idea what I was getting into, he mentored me. When I ran for Whitley County Council, he donated to my campaign. When I ran for state Senate in District 17, he publicly supported me and helped me win 90 percent of the vote in the part of the district that then was located in Allen County.

I’ve seen Shine artfully incorporate conservatives and libertarian-leaning activists into the local party apparatus by appointing them to leadership posts. When I co-founded the Conservative Breakfast Club several years ago, Shine was an early supporter who addressed the group about party affairs and how local activists could become more engaged.

It has been no secret that the Republican Party has struggled in recent years.

Shine has skillfully pulled the Allen County GOP out of those tough times by raising needed funds to deliver campaign programs needed to successfully elect Republicans at all levels.

The GOP chairman’s role is not an easy one; as someone who has been there and done that, I know what it takes. It’s not a job in which you can make everyone happy and still guide the organization to success. The Allen County GOP is lucky to have Shine as its chairman, and I likely wouldn’t be doing what I am today if it weren’t for his help along the way.

State Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, wrote this for The Journal Gazette.