Former Indiana Sen. Ron Grooms to lead Clark County Republican Party
Former Indiana Republican Sen. Ron Grooms was elected by caucus last week to serve as the new Clark County Republican Party chair. He replaces longtime Chair Jamey Noel, who stepped down months into a criminal investigation.
Ron Grooms, a retired pharmacist, former business owner and seasoned lawmaker, was elected to serve as the new GOP chair at a closed caucus Thursday.
He said he was the only person to fill out paperwork to declare candidacy for the opening. With no opponent, he was elected by a voice vote rather than by secret ballot.
Grooms said it became obvious last month that there would likely be a vacancy, and that a few people in the party had approached him asking him if he’d consider going for it.
He said he thought about whether he wanted to do it, whether he had time to do it, and whether he felt he could make a difference.
“And the answer to all of those was ‘yes,’” he said.
He said the opening provided him an opportunity to share his skills.
“I felt like I could offer some leadership and guidance to the party, with my many years of experience in the Republican Party and as an elected official,” he said.
Grooms previously served multiple terms as a Jeffersonville City Council member, starting in the 1980s and coming back to the council in the 2000s.
Voters also elected Grooms three times as state senator representing District 46, which, prior to redistricting, covered parts of Southern Indiana. Currently, Clark, Floyd and Harrison counties are now split between districts 45 and 47.
In 2021, he resigned from his third term as a state senator, with a year left in the term, after announcing earlier that year he would not run for reelection.
Grooms recently reentered political office when he was caucused in as a Clark County Council member to replace Darci Schiller, who was elected to the Clarksville Town Council in November.
He said he’s remained active locally since leaving the Senate, but said moving into the council seat reignited interest in doing more for the party and being part of the election process “and being a little bit more involved rather than continuing, more or less, as an observer of the political process in Clark County,” he said.
Grooms is also a retired pharmacist and operated Hanger Drug Company in Jeffersonville for decades. He said that’s also prepared him for his roles within the community.
“As a pharmacist, pharmacy owner, you develop a passion for helping people,” he said. “If you don't, you don't belong in the profession. And I think that carried over into my personal life and my community involvement and my family life.”
“I get satisfaction of helping people, and I get satisfaction out of problem-solving,” he said.
Grooms says he’ll be involved with the community and collaborate with others to help the party be successful.
“The more people I can get involved in the process and the more information we know about what the issues are and the more information that we get from the people who are benefitting and need help, the better job you can do in providing that help,” he said.
When asked, he said he feels Noel has been an effective leader as county chair.
“He’s produced results,” he said. “Look at the total number of Republicans elected today…90% of the offices are held by Republicans.”
He also said it’s too early to know how Noel’s case could impact the party or elections.
Grooms said he’ll also be forming a committee in the coming days to look at options for a vice chair, which opened up last month when former vice Chair Connie Sellers resigned amid the allegations of former Chair Noel.
Noel also recently resigned as Indiana’s 9th Congressional District Republican Party chair. He was replaced by Jackson County Republican Party Chair Amanda Lowery.
Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec Inc., the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation, and the Caesars Foundation of Floyd County.