Power & Politics: Putnam County Executive MaryEllen OdellPosted: Updated:
Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell is a proud patriot, an advocate for seniors and veterans and a woman who wants to keep recreational marijuana out of her county.
Born and raised in Carmel, Putnam County, Odell says she lives each day in memory of her mother, Muriel Hicks.
“She had a great sense of humor and she was always ‘family was first,’” says Odell.
Odell also makes it clear that she's proud of her family, especially her children. When she's not with her loved ones, Odell is running Putnam County.
The Republican first took office as a legislator in 2006. In 2011, she was elected county executive, overseeing the Republican-controlled Legislature and nearly 100,000 people.
“I wanted to do this. I wanted to stand up and send a message that things in Putnam could be better, and they have been,” says Odell.
Odell says veterans' needs are a top priority, so much so that she holds an honorary veteran status.
She is also leading a war against drugs. Odell says Putnam County's recidivism rate has declined dramatically from 85% to 15%. And the county continues to combat the opioid crisis with not-for-profits and agencies that target the stigma surrounding addiction.
“Once we were able to break that apart, people are just so open now, and that's a big part of recovery,” she says.
Which is why Odell says recreational marijuana does not have a place in Putnam. She says it’s a gateway drug and affects the brain.
Odell is also a staunch defender of gun ownership.
Additionally, she says the that county is sound financially.
She has three more years left as the CEO of Putnam, and she plans on finishing up her term as she started.
“Just be present for the people of Putnam County that count on good government,” says Odell.