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Teen Running for Sheriff

Vigo County, Ind. - The local primaries are getting closer and closer, and in one Vigo County race, a candidate is using his first year being able to vote, as a change to run for office.

When Jase Whitesell's friends learned he was running for Vigo Co. sheriff, they thought it was a hoax.

"I was like, oh this is a joke," said Whitesell's friend Blaine Collins. "And then more and more started to pop up, and then on Facebook there's a big long post, and I was like, well I guess he's not kidding, so I'll help him out with whatever he needs."

Collins is right - Whitesell is not kidding about wanting to be sheriff, and he says there's a lot he could improve in the area.

"I felt like we need a change in this community," said Whitesell. "There's a lot of problems we need to solve, and I think they need to be done in the most ethical way."

The 18-year-old, who graduated early from West Vigo High in November, but will walk with his classmates in June, says he feels most passionate about combating the levels of drug use in the community.

"Meth, cocaine, heroine, it's terrible around this area," said Whitesell. "And I'd like to see a change and get rid of some things."

Whitesell says he would also fight for stricter gun laws to help protect people, as he sees issues with current accessibility to guns. 

"I could go to a pawn shop and buy one," said Whitesell. "But then again, I could have a buddy that buys one from a store and I could buy it from him - it's that easy to get a gun."

Rather than campaigning with signage throughout the community, Whitesell is choosing to focus on word-of-mouth and social media - marks of a millenial campaign.

But Whitesell believes his young age is a positive, and that now is the time for youth everywhere to stand up and lead.

"Our parents are getting older, we're getting into adulthood, we're gonna be starting to see more of these problems as we go through life, it's our turn to take a role in the community, so we need to change things for our lifetime."

Whitesell and Chief Plasse are the two candidates on the Democratic ticket, while Benjamin Pence and Jack Simmons make up the GOP ticket. Primaries are on Tuesday, May 8th. 


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