Jean Lushin has been Center Township Trustee since 1982 — a total of eight terms. He’s run unopposed in the past several elections.
This year, he’ll have an opponent in the primary, after retired pastor Rev. Robert A. Lee announced he’ll challenge Lushin for the Democratic nomination.
“I’m not running against the incumbent, I’m running for the office,” Lee said. “I’m convinced I can do it, and do a good job.”
Lee retired this past year as the longtime pastor of Second Missionary Baptist Church, and he said he waited to enter politics until retirement to avoid any potential conflicts.
“I’ve been approached several times in 20-plus years, for several positions,” Lee said. “And I don’t move — it may sound cliché or preacher-ish — but I don’t move by the whims of men, I move by the direction of God.”
One of his main aims, if elected, will be accessibility to the low-income individuals served by that office.
“I want to be available and be seen. Everything is tempered by the fact that the office belongs to the people, not to the person,” Lee added.
Lushin hasn’t yet announced whether he’ll run, but the longtime trustee, who twice ran for Kokomo mayor, clearly thinks Lee was recruited to run by Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight. Goodnight defeated Lushin in the race for mayor.
“I understand [Lee] was recruited by another public official,” Lushin said. “I’m sorry he’s taking the position that we’re not doing a good enough job at the trustee’s office.”
Howard County Democratic Party Chairman David Tharp said he won’t be endorsing either candidate. He added he won’t endorse in races for offices inside Howard County, only for races in districts which include other counties, such as congressional districts. The only caveat would be if one candidate is clearly unqualified to run, he said.