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Democrats field candidate for St. Joe County commissioner

Joe Carbone
Joe Carbone

A retired labor leader will give the Democrats a candidate for St. Joseph County Commissioner in the November election.

St. Joseph County Commissioner District 3 covers Mishawaka, Osceola and the county’s southeast corner. It’s believed to lean Republican since the all-Republican commissioners in 2021 redrew district boundaries for the new decade.

Republican Party leaders elected Tony Hazen to the seat in January after Deb Fleming resigned to seek care for a medical condition. Hazen had no opponent but that changed on Wednesday when, just before the noon filing deadline, Democrat Joe Carbone filed to run against Hazen.

Carbone is a 69-year-old retired communications worker who lives in Osceola. He ran unsuccessfully in 2012 and 2016 for council member Mark Root’s seat.

"I just felt it was too important of a position not to have somebody running," Carbone said.

Carbone is originally from Detroit and moved to the South Bend area in 1985 to follow his job with Ameritech. He still serves as vice president of the Northern Indiana Labor Federation.

He mentioned four issues he feels strongly about. He criticized commissioners for closing Portage Manor, he would make sure that county government never limits library books available to youth, and he supported Microsoft’s recent rezoning for a data center in Granger.

And Carbone opposes an ordinance the county council will consider Tuesday that will place new restrictions on proposed solar farms.

"We want to be a community that is inviting corporations and other companies to be here, but also a nice community in order to live."

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).