ChamberPAC 2016 Endorsements

ChamberPAC, the Political Action Committee of the SJC Chamber, endorses the following candidates in the November 8 General Election races:

South Bend School Board Races
Scott Siler - 3rd District
John Anella - At-Large
Maritza Robles - At-Large

St. Joseph County Races
Deb Fleming - County Commissioner, District 3
Roger Mathia, Jr. - County Council, District F
Mark Catanzarite - County Council, District G 

For ChamberPAC endorsement consideration, candidates go through a rigorous process, similar to a job interview. The process requires candidates to complete a questionnaire and participate in a formal interview with the Chamber’s Political Evaluation Committee or School Board Endorsement Committee for school board candidates. These committees are comprised of a bi-partisan group of volunteers from the business community. School board candidates seeking ChamberPAC endorsement also participated in the October 12 School Board Candidate Forum. Scores are compiled during each phase of the process and endorsement recommendations are then presented to ChamberPAC.

School Board: The most popular race on the ballot this fall is the race for the two at-large South Bend School Board seats. Eight candidates are vying for the two seats, six of whom participated in our endorsement process. Those included incumbents John Anella and Maritza Robles, and challengers Jasmine Brown, David James II, Karl Nichols and Annette Malone. Cory Gathright Sr and Jeannette McCullough chose not to seek ChamberPAC endorsement. Also in South Bend, three candidates are vying for the one third district seat. Leslie Wesley and Scott Siler sought ChamberPAC endorsement; incumbent Bill Sniadecki did not. The endorsement committee did not interview candidates in the one uncontested race in South Bend, the two uncontested races in Mishawaka and the three uncontested races in the Penn-Harris-Madison Schools.

St. Joseph County Commissioners: In District 3, Deb Fleming and Phil Dotson sought endorsement. The ChamberPAC has been encouraged by Fleming’s efforts to modernize county government, implement new technology, find efficiencies within the operations and grow the economy. ChamberPAC endorses her candidacy. In District 2, Dave Thomas sought the endorsement; Richard Ziegler, Sr. did not. ChamberPAC elected not to endorse in this race.

St. Joseph County Council: Also on the ballot this November are four of the nine county council seats; three of which have contested races. The county council will be instrumental in key budget decisions, especially during the full implementation of property tax caps. In District F, Roger Mathia, Jr. sought ChamberPAC endorsement; incumbent Mark Telloyan did not. The ChamberPAC endorses Mathia. In District G, Mark Catanzarite and John Henry sought the endorsement, and ChamberPAC endorses Catanzarite. In District I, Joe Carbone sought endorsement; Mark Root did not. ChamberPAC elected not to endorse in this race.


2016 Endorsements & candidate information


Scott Siler
South Bend School Board
3rd District

Scott Siler received an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree from Ball State University. Scott received a lifetime teacher’s license in 1982. He currently manages the training and organizational change management team in the IT Department at the University of Notre Dame. He also teaches classes for undergraduate and graduate students in the Mendoza College of JBusiness.

Scott is a former high school teacher and coach. His 24+ years of managing people and departments in education give him insight into what teachers, staff, principals and administrators need to succeed. His understanding of technology and its application to education will be a real asset as he understands how important the integration of that technology is into the curriculum. ChamberPAC believes Scott is the most qualified of the three candidates seeking the third district seat and would be a great addition to a much-improved school board. ChamberPAC endorses his candidacy.


John Anella
South Bend School Board

John Anella has served on the school board since 2014. He is a product of the South Bend Community School Corporation, a graduate of John Adams High School, the University of Notre Dame and Loyola University-Chicago. 

He is a senior vice president/investment officer at Wells Fargo Advisors. John’s 20 years of experience in business and finance as well as his background in accounting have been a real asset to the school board. During his time on the board, he has demonstrated the ability to work and collaborate with others and shown a willingness to engage the public.

John brings fresh ideas and an openness and willingness to change and adapt to succeed. ChamberPAC believes he has been a great addition to the school board and has played an important role in the improvement of the school corporation. ChamberPAC believes John’s performance is worthy of election to one of the two at-large seats and endorses his candidacy.

Maritza Robles
South Bend School Board

Maritza Robles is a retired administrator from the South Bend Community School Corporation where she was the director of bilingual services for more than 30 years. She brings a wealth of knowledge about expectations and needs of administrators, teachers, staff, parents and  students. Maritza has a strong grasp of the challenges ahead for the school corporation and has been an important leader on the board helping prepare the corporation to address those challenges. She played a key role with other board members in the selection of the new school superintendent. Maritza also holds a master's degree in linguistics and Spanish and a bachelor's degree in mathematics science education.

She first won election to the school board in 2012. ChamberPAC believes she has been a great addition to the school board and has played an important role in the improvement of the school corporation. ChamberPAC thinks Maritza’s performance is worthy of election to one of the two at-large seats and endorses her candidacy.

Deb Fleming
St. Joseph County Commissioner
District 3

Commissioner Deb Fleming has been a strong voice on the Board of Commissioners since her installment in 2014. She is a graduate of Mishawaka High School, and earned B.A. and D.M.D. degrees from the University of Kentucky. After her dental residency in Louisville, she moved back to the area to join her father’s practice in Mishawaka, and has been a practicing dentist for 25 years.

Prior to her time as an elected official, Deb was chairman of the St. Joseph County Republican Party from 2010 to 2014 before being caucused in to her commissioner role. She has been active in a variety of organizations, such as the Junior League of South Bend, Indiana Dental Association, and is visiting faculty for the prestigious Pankey Institute in Florida. She brings a small business philosophy to the board, with an eye toward modernization and efficiency of county government. ChamberPAC supports her re-election to the district 3 county commissioner seat, and endorses her candidacy 

Roger Mathia, Jr.
St. Joseph County Council
District F

Roger Mathia is a lifelong resident of the area,having graduated from Penn High School. Hestarted his career as a mechanic, moving his way up to service manager at Wyatt Farm Center and then was employed by St. Joseph County as a truck driver. Over the course of 15 years, he moved up to St. Joseph County Highway Commissioner, where he served until 2013. Roger currently operates a farm on the south side of South Bend. His sound financial and small business background, coupled with his experience working in St. Joseph County, will aid him greatly in making decisions as part of the county council. ChamberPAC supports his election to the county council district F seat, and endorses his candidacy.

Mark Catanzarite
County Council
District G

Councilman Mark Catanzarite has been a long-serving member of the county council for 19 years, and currently sits as the president of pro-tempore. A graduate of John Adams High School, with further education from Indiana University South Bend and Ivy Tech Community College, Mark serves as battalion chief for the city of South Bend Fire Department, having worked there since 1989.

He holds many leadership roles, including chairing the Engineering and Transportation Committee, serving on the NICTD (South Shore) Board of Trustees and the St. Joseph County Public Defender Board. He was instrumental in helping AM General expand its commercial vehicle assembly plant, as well as helping establish paramedic ambulance service for all of unincorporated St. Joseph County. This strong legislative background, combined with his experience working for the City of South Bend, provides a unique and important perspective when making decisions on the county council. ChamberPAC suppports his re-election to the county council district G seat, and endorses his candidacy.