Over 100 gathered for Lemmon’s campaign kickoff on September 30.
Kendallville Mayor Suzanne Handshoe, Lemmon’s campaign chair, welcomed guests and introduced Denise following lunch – which, of course, included delicious pork sandwiches.
Calling from China, where he was wrapping up a business trip for Whiteshire-Hamroc, Mike Lemmon, DVM, said of his wife, “Whatever Denise has been involved with, she has worked hard to do well. I pledge my support in this endeavor, and wish I could be there with all of you today.”
Denise then provided some background information about herself, her experiences, and areas of strength she brings to District 82 as she spoke, saying, “How very fortunate we are to live and work in a country where we have the freedom to speak our beliefs and to serve in many ways to share those beliefs. We each have our story …
“I was born in Indianapolis, adopted by my loving parents, and raised to believe that dedication and determination could always lead to the accomplishment of one’s goals. My folks worked long hours with much sacrifice to manage sending my sister and me to parochial grade school and high school where they trusted we’d get the education they were unable to. We lived with their expectations that we would be trust-worthy, hard-working, and focused on self betterment. For sure, we were expected to continue on to college and to always be ready and willing to learn! That foundation has been the compass that has directed my life’s choices and pursuits.
“Mike and I have been so fortunate to live and work here for the last 37 years. This is where we have raised our four children. This community has given us the ideal place to grow our agri- business in a community of caring, supportive people. We’ve attended this area’s schools and churches; bought this region’s products; accessed this area’s healthcare; paid taxes! We are blessed to know the heart of this district and it is that heart for which we work and play each day.
“I’ve had the opportunity and flexibility to work in the profit and not-for-profit business sector.
“You and I can talk about business – its challenges and its rewards – because I’ve been there.
“Trained as an educator, it’s been an honor to work in the school systems with students of all ages.
“That work continues in my administrative role for a community-based literacy organization.
“We can talk about formal education -its weaknesses and strengths – because I’ve been there.
“We can talk about the value of the things we learn outside of formal education – the wisdom we gain from our friends, and family, the sacrifices we make for the people we love, the joy we feel when we win and when we lose, the commitment we develop over time to contribute to our community – because I’ve been there.
“The health and wellness of our community is basic to all concerns of this region. Board membership and committee work with Parkview Health has offered a vantage point from which to learn and serve. There can be conversations about the promotion of our communities’ health – the roadblocks and initiatives – because I’ve been there.
“I’ve had the privilege to volunteer with amazing organizations and to promote the selfless philanthropy for which the people of this district are so rightly admired. It seems I’ve been learning about service to others and my community all my life. My teachers have been my co-workers on the farm, my students and friends at LEAP, people who build barns and auditoriums, volunteers who raise dollars and thousands of dollars. My teachers have been children and adults, Latino and Chinese, friends and acquaintances, people of like mind and of dissenting views.
“Please know how very grateful I am for the opportunity to live in a nation and a state and particularly in the heart of a district where citizens continue to value America’s form of government – a government that is “by the people and for the people.” I’m particularly grateful for an opportunity to seek to represent a district characterized by strong work ethics, a collaborative spirit, and a way of life consistent with mine. I seek the Republican nomination for the 82nd Indiana House District in next May’s primary because I’ve been working with and listening to the members of this community for many years and I will faithfully represent those concerns in the Indiana House of Representatives. Only 221 days remain to work hard before the May 2012 primary election. I’m excited to go forward with the objective of meeting with as many of you and this district’s families as I can … to learn about the issues that are important to you. For me, it’s not about career or professional politics. I’m a wife, and a mother, and a grandmother, first and foremost, and that’s what I will always be. If you honor me by electing me to serve you in the Indiana House, you will be electing a candidate who is committed to working diligently to be the best student, the best listener, and the best Representative that I can possibly be for this community which I care for so very much.
“So, today our journey begins. You have honored me and my family by sharing your valuable time today. As I work to earn the right to be your State Representative, I hope you will continue to share your time and support with me. With your help, with your commitment to sharing your ideas and concerns with me, with your participation and support over these next 32 and a half weeks, we will succeed in this campaign.
“Thank you all for being here and for making the first day of this journey one that my family and I will never forget!”
The new 82nd State House district covers all of Noble County, as well as portions of Allen, Whitley, Elkhart, and LaGrange counties.
Denise Lemmon currently serves as Executive Director for LEAP of Noble County, Inc. following four years as the community-based, literacy agency’s Chief Operating Officer. Prior to that, Denise served as a member of its board of directors. LEAP serves the educational needs of over 1500 Noble County children and adults each year. Her prior professional and personal experience includes: Program Officer of the Noble County Community Foundation, Office Manager for Whiteshire Hamroc, LLC, her family’s international agri-business, Speech Clinician for Central Noble Community Schools and Foundations of Noble County, and her most important role as “stay at home” mom for her and husband Mike’s four children.
Lemmon earned Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Purdue University. A former recipient of Albion’s Citizen of the Year honor, Lemmon has served as president of the Noble County Community Foundation Board of Directors, chairman of the Parkview Noble Hospital board quality committee, president of Parkview Noble Hospital Board of Directors, and member of the Parkview Health board and its board quality committee.
“I am excited to have come to this point in my life where I can step forward and give back to the community that has done so much for my family,” said Lemmon.