The Journal Gazette
Sunday, December 05, 2021 1:00 am

Secretary of state gets in-party challenger

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

Rookie Secretary of State Holli Sullivan is getting competition for her post.

Sullivan was appointed in March to fill a vacancy created when Connie Lawson stepped down early. Sullivan, a Republican, quickly announced she would run for election to the post in 2022.

Lifelong Newton County resident Kyle Conrad announced last week he also will seek the GOP nomination during next summer's Indiana Republican State Convention.

Conrad is jumping into the race to offer delegates an alternative candidate with election and administrative experience to oversee the vital duties of secretary of state, a news release said.

“I've heard from all four corners of Indiana, from county chairs and clerks to election board members, about how much experience matters and how important it is when it comes to elections and the secretary of state,” Conrad said. “Now is not the time to learn as we go.”

Conrad has more than 30 years of election administration experience, including a decade as Newton County clerk. More recently, he has worked at Governmental Business Systems, an election service and equipment provider in Indiana. In that capacity, he was involved with the programming, testing, training and certification of voting equipment.

He also is in his third term as a Newton County commissioner.

Sullivan previously served as state representative since 2014 and is a former Fortune 500 automotive engineer and small-business owner. As a lawmaker, she was a member of the House Elections Committee but focused more on transportation issues.


The Southwest Allen County Schools board president tried to describe his appreciation that 29 people applied for an open trustee seat.

“I'm delighted to have so much enthusiasm regarding the board because in my first four years as a board member, I don't believe we had 29 visitors just to come watch meetings in that time,” Bradley Mills said. “It's great to see the enthusiasm.”

Mills attended Wednesday's meeting specifically for the final selection. Moments before the meeting started, he explained to the audience he was late for a family engagement, so he didn't intend to stay for the entire meeting.

“I did not want to miss this vote tonight,” Mills said. “After the vote's done for the board member, I'm going to leave. It's not because I'm angry. It's just because I've got to go. I just want to make that perfectly clear.”

Board members helped hasten his departure. They agreed to move the item from the end of the agenda to the top, after the consent agenda.

The board chose Doug Copley to replace Tom Rhoades, who resigned last month because he moved outside the district.

Fellows sought

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced last week that applications will be accepted through Jan. 28 for the 2022-23 Governor's Fellowship.

The governor's fellowship is highly selective and provides experience in Indiana state government by placing fellows in various state agencies on a rotating basis throughout the year.

“Our governor's fellows are such a valuable piece to our team,” Holcomb said. “The wide range of assistance they provide over the course of their fellowship is key to serving Hoosiers in a timely and thorough manner.”

The program is open to college graduates who either received their bachelor's degrees beginning in summer or fall 2021 or in spring 2022.

Fellows are paid, full-time employees who participate in the daily activities of state government.

Many Governor's Fellowship participants have gone on to successful careers in both the public and private sectors – with some serving at the highest levels of local, state and federal government.

The application and submission guidelines can be found at To be eligible for consideration, the application and all supporting materials must be postmarked or submitted via email by Jan. 28.

Applicants should know if they have been selected for an interview no later than Feb. 14. The fellowship will begin July 1.

Ashley Sloboda of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

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