No stranger to politics, Graft’s father, Robert Phillips, was a four-term Columbia City Councilman and viewing politics through his experience, she always knew it was something she wanted to be involved in one day. She just didn’t know when. It wasn’t until several people remarked that she should run for the Auditor’s position that she began to take a close look at the position, her own skills and determined that it would be a good match.
“I feel I possess a lot of the qualities that would enable me to be very successful in this office,” Graft said. She has spent some time recently in the Auditor’s office, getting to know the staff and learning more about the specific duties involved in running an efficient, community-centric governmental office for the people of Whitley County.
A graduate of Columbia City Joint High School and Indiana University, she worked for 28 years in a family practice as a dental hygienist, learning first-hand skills that will serve her well at the helm of the Auditor’s office — business management, interpersonal skills and customer service. She has a strong aptitude for math and science.
Graft and her husband, Doug, are the parents of two children. Their daughter, Kayla, is in her sixth year of pharmacy school at Butler University and their son, Austin, is majoring in informatics and computer science at Indiana University. She is the daughter of Jeanie Phillips, a well-known community volunteer, and the late Robert Phillips.
She is an active member of Columbia City United Methodist Church where she serves on the Pastor/Staff parish relations committee as secretary. Additionally, Graft serves on the Parish Health Ministry, teaches Sunday school for toddlers and was a member of the church’s building committee, serving as secretary.
Outside the church, Graft is engaged in many community activities as well. She is a member of Tri Kappa, serving as secretary and past treasurer. She volunteers for the American Cancer Society and in the past, has served as a 4-H leader, a Girl Scout leader and was a Parkview Whitley Hospital Foundation committee member. She enjoys spending time with family and friends as well as gardening, golf and soaking up the summer days at the lake. Indeed, Graft is a recognizeable face in Whitley County, volunteering for numerous activities and attending many of the events that make Whitley County unique.
Having evaluated the Auditor’s position, Graft feels it is time for change.
“I feel that sometimes when people have been put in a position for a long time, they are less apt to change,” she said. “I know that I can bring real ideas and a fresh perspective to the position.”
Graft believes her approachable personality, common sense approach to tackling problems, desire for efficiency and reliability are qualities the taxpayers of Whitley County can appreciate in the Auditor’s office.
“I’ve always given 110%,” she adds, “and I look forward to serving the citizens of Whitley County.”