ELKHART, Ind. — An Elkhart County Commissioner candidate is hoping to ride a wave of grassroots support, spurred by extreme government overreach during COVID lockdowns and mandates, to an upset of a longtime Republican incumbent. Bob Barnes, 61, works in environmental health and safety at a local RV company. It’s there that he says he saw the power of the government to push unreasonable mandates.
“COVID was a preview and test on how the government could bypass the constitution. We cannot have our local officials allow that to happen again.” Barnes told REAL News Michiana, while at a small fundraising event on Thursday. “We need a county government that is willing to stand up and protect our liberties. People are looking for leaders who will stand up.”
Barnes is looking to unseat 16-year-incumbent, Frank Lucchese, in Elkhart’s 1st district. Lucchese, like many other Republican’s at the beginning of the pandemic, embraced COVID restrictions on capacity and mask mandates. Lucchese continued to support restrictions through at least January of 2021. However, he was vocal about wanting to end the mandates as early as April of last year.
Barnes is a longtime resident of Elkhart. He’s been married for 35 years. He has three adult children and one grandchild.
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