Candidate Questionnaire: Erin Schultes for District Two County Commissioner, St. Joseph County 

Erin Schultes

Editor’s note: Erin Schultes, a Democrat, is running against Rick Shaffer, a Republican, for St. Joseph County commissioner in the newly formed District Two. Mr. Shaffer was also sent a questionnaire but Watershed Voice has yet to hear back.

Name: Erin Schultes 

Age: 39

Address: Three Rivers 

Party affiliation: Vice-Chair of the St. Joe Co. Democratic Party 
Are you an incumbent? No, this is a new district so there isn’t one.

Family (optional): My husband Jason and I have been together since high school. We celebrated 20 years in June. We have 2 daughters. Lily is 5 and a half and Dahlia is 1 and a half. We also have 2 dogs (Daisy and Tater), and a cat name Thurman.

Background/Bio:  

Have you previously held public office, or have you served in a public leadership role? If so, what is your experience, and what are some of your accomplishments? 

I am the current Vice-Chair for the St Joe Co. Democratic Party. I have held the position for just over 2 years. I have had an interest in politics most of my life. Just never seemed like the right time. I decided to make it the right time.

How long have you lived in the area you are seeking to represent? 

We bought our house 3 years ago today.

In your opinion, what are the three most important issues to the area you are seeking to represent and its constituents, and why?  

  • Health care specifically mental health care. It is underfunded and needs to be de-stigmatized. 
  • Roads. Maintenance and repair on county roads is sad at best in St Joe County.
  • Parks. We have tons of beautiful parks in St Joe County, and I want to help ensure they stay that way and improve them.

What measures will you pursue to address those issues? 

I plan to join the parks, roads, and health committees so that I can work actively with other commissioners to make things better for our county.

Why did you choose to run for the position that you did? 

I felt that county government was a great place to start and would allow me to help people near me. 

What would you say is your leadership style, and how will you utilize its strengths in your position? 

I am a straight forward person. I can be overtly blunt and it’s very off-putting to some people. This however means I’m not going to spend all day blowing smoke up your ass. I unapologetically tell it how it is. I believe everyone should get a fair chance and have no problem helping as long as someone puts in the effort first. It’s OK to fail as long as you try your hardest and don’t just give up. 

How will you know that you’re accurately representing your community?

By connecting with constituents. I will be available by phone (call and text) and email. I will do my best to reply within 24 hrs. If the issue is bigger than what I can do I will help get my constituents in touch with who can or reach out to them myself depending on the issue.

Is there anything else your prospective constituents should know about you, your platform, your views, or your background.

My family has a long history of military service. This was not an option for me for due to medical issues. I feel that this position would give me the opportunity to continue my family’s tradition of service.

A few things about me:

I am pro-LGBTQIA+. I feel acceptance and equality are so very important. Many people don’t realize that though I am married to a man I am also a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. I am proud to be a part of this loving and embracing community. I am also the Vice-Chair for the Three Rivers Pride Committee. In June of 2023 Three Rivers will have its first Pride festival and we are all super excited to bring it to life.

I am pro-choice and pro Planned Parenthood. I feel that someone’s medical decisions should be between them and their doctor. There are many reasons why someone may need to access a medical abortion. None of them are your business unless you are the one who requires these services or that person shared that info with you. If you want to know more about my stance and why it personal for me, please reach out. I am more than happy to tell you my story. It’s a bit long-winded for here.

I am an avid crafter. I love art in all forms.

I am tattooed and pierced, and the exact opposite of what you generally see in government but I think that’s good. You can’t evolve and better yourself, your community, your state, or your country without change. When the same old thing doesn’t work anymore you find something that will. Screw the status quo. 

I am a Chef (Useless Creatures Brewing Co) and Professional Baker (Best Day Ever Baked Goods) I have loved cooking since I was very little. My daughter Lily has recently caught the love for cooking bug.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out!

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