Martha Lake

Martha Lake

Howard County Auditor Martha Lake, a longtime Republican official who also served as treasurer and ran for Kokomo mayor in 2015, has announced she will run for an at-large seat on the Howard County Council.

Lake noted in a media release distributed Monday that sitting at-large councilman Stan Ortman, a Republican, has decided not to seek re-election, a decision that opens up one of the council’s three at-large seats in this year’s election.

Lake previously served two terms as auditor – the county’s chief financial officer – from 1997 to 2004 before working two terms as Howard County’s treasurer from 2005 to 2012.

She is currently in the final year of another two-term, or eight-year, stint as auditor, which started in 2013. Indiana law limits auditors to serving two terms in a row; they are required to sit out at least one four-year term before running again.

As auditor, Lake works as the secretary for both the council and the Howard County Board of Commissioners, a role she believes has prepared her for a seat on the council.

“To date, I have attended and provided accurate, up-to-date financial information for 15 years for both the council and commissioners,” she wrote in the release.

“I have attended and provided all financial information for 15 years of budget sessions. Howard County has set many valuable trends and records across the state of Indiana during my 23, almost 24 years of service as an elected financial official. I am very proud of all we have accomplished together.”

Lake said her priority is to see money “be managed frugally, responsibly” and in accordance with Indiana law. She called protecting taxpayers and residents her “first concern.”

The county’s auditor position, meanwhile, has already received electoral attention. Jessica (Rudy) Secrease, a Republican who currently works as first deputy in the auditor’s finance office, announced Friday she will run for auditor in this year’s election.

Now, Lake has made her own announcement.

“Serving on the Howard County Council has been a dream of mine. Although the Auditor’s and Treasurer’s offices manage funds and keep all financial records, I have never had the opportunity to vote with the Council when appropriations are set for expenditure,” wrote Lake.

“Because of my passion for and understanding of all areas of Howard County finances, it would be such a privilege to cast a vote on behalf of Howard County citizens when monies are appropriated to be spent!”

She added: “It would certainly be a new experience for me and I would be very grateful to be able to gain that new experience, and continue to work to guard taxpayer dollars as well as help provide the excellent service that you as citizens deserve.”

Ortman, whom Lake said “has done a great for on the Howard County Council for many years,” told the Tribune Monday he plans to discuss his decision at a later date.

Lake is also known in Kokomo for her run at mayor in 2015. She was defeated by incumbent Democrat Greg Goodnight by a margin of 55% to 44%.

George Myers can be reached at 765-454-8585, by email at george.myers@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @gmyerskt.

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