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Anti-abortion rights advocate takes county GOP helm

Jackie Horvath Stout
Jackie Horvath Stout

St. Joseph County Republicans have chosen a major party donor and anti-abortion rights advocate as their next chair.

County GOP precinct leaders recently elected Jackie Horvath Stout as party chair following the resignation of Tyler Gillean, who wanted to focus more on his family and career.

While Stout is her married name, she prefers to go by Horvath. In 1996 she founded South Bend-based Horvath Communications, which builds and leases cell towers nationwide. Now that her daughter Erin Horvath is company president, Horvath, who majored in political science at Indiana University, says she can spend more time indulging her love of politics.

In this year’s gubernatorial primary, Horvath was a major donor to Curtis Hill, the former Elkhart prosecutor and Indiana attorney general who had his law license suspended for groping women at a party.

Horvath owns Hoosier Conservative Voices, a political action group that her son Ben runs, and she’s most passionate about opposing abortion rights. Two years ago she founded the anti-abortion advocacy group Voices for Life.

"You probably can't think of a more polarizing issue than abortion and most of them are pretty civil discussions," she said. "We just knock on the door and have discussions. We really enjoy that and both sides really grow from those types of discussions."

Horvath says it’s sad that Republicans and Democrats are so polarized today. She wants to improve that.

"I think eventually we'll get back to where the Democrats and Republicans can sit down and have conversations. It happens on the national level and both sides are guilty of it. Both sides are guilty of the divisiveness. I don't know, I'm hopeful. I'm an optimist by nature."

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).