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Root withdraws from St. Joe County Council re-election bid

An area that covers Osceola and parts of northern and eastern Mishawaka will elect a new representative to the St. Joseph County Council for the first time in two decades in November.

Incumbent Mark Root has withdrawn from his re-election bid.

Root, a Republican who works as director of library services at Bethel University, has held the council’s District I seat for 20 years. Last year he replaced Democrat Rafael Morton as council president after Republicans won a 5-4 majority on the council in the 2022 elections.

It was unclear why Root has dropped out of his re-election bid. He did not return WVPE’s interview requests.

Root had drawn two challengers in the May Republican primary election: Kent Hizer and Andy Rutten. The winner will face Democrat Tami Springer.

Hizer is president of the Penn Township trustee board, and is national sales manager at Riten Industries, an Ohio-based metal fabricator.

Rutten ran unsuccessfully for Penn-Harris-Madison school board in 2022. He’s been part of a conservative group that has criticized the corporation’s mask policies during the pandemic, accused it of teaching critical race theory, and opposed its social-emotional learning.

Parrott, a longtime public radio fan, comes to WVPE with about 25 years of journalism experience at newspapers in Indiana and Michigan, including 13 years at The South Bend Tribune. He and Kristi live in Granger and have two children currently attending Indiana University in Bloomington. In his free time he enjoys fixing up their home, following his favorite college and professional sports teams, and watching TV (yes that's an acceptable hobby).