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Yelton to oversee casinos, other gaming

Friday, January 14, 2005

Gov. Mitch Daniels, Judge Ernest Yelton and his wife, Mary Yelton, listen to reporters' questions Thursday in the governor's office. Yelton is being asked about his new position as Executive Director of the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Clay Circuit Court Judge Ernest Yelton was appointed Executive Director of the Indiana Gaming Commission Thursday morning by Gov. Mitch Daniels. The announcement took place in the Governor's Office at the State Capitol Building.

"He will bring complete integrity to the task," Daniels said of Yelton. "Judge Ernest Yelton is perhaps the most respected jurist in the state of Indiana."

After serving on the bench for 25 years, Yelton was sworn in for his fifth term as Clay Circuit Judge on Dec. 10. The new Gaming Commissioner received his law degree from IUPUI in January, 1974. Following five years in private practice with the Craig, Craig and Yelton Law Firm, the Pittsboro, Ind., native was appointed Clay Circuit Judge by Gov. Otis Bowen on Oct. 1, 1979. He filled the spot vacated by Judge Robert Neal who had been selected to serve on the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Yelton and his wife, Mary have two children. Adam, 25, an IU graduate, lives in Indianapolis. He works at the Malibu on Marilyn Restaurant which is across the street from his dad's new office.

Emily, 24, is a teacher at Deming Elementary School. However, she was approved at last night's Clay Community Schools Board meeting to be a physical education teacher at Northview High School. She and her husband, Alan Goff, live in Terre Haute. However, the school board also voted to not renew Mary Yelton's contract as the LEAAP Center administrator. The decision was due to uncertain future funding from the CAPE grant.

Ernest Yelton's new office is on the 9th floor in the Hyatt Regency Hotel. His state duties will begin Jan. 18. He and Mary will maintain their Brazil residence.

After his appointment, Yelton said the gaming industry puts $750 million dollars into the state coffers annually.

"Regulation of that is extremely important," he said. "Every citizen has the right to expect fair, honest and strict compliance."

Yelton was asked how he felt about gaming policies and any projected changes.

"When I spoke with the Governor during the selection period, my understanding was that the Executive Director is to regulate and oversee. Policy is developed with the Governor and legislation. My job will be to implement that policy. My feelings are not critical to that."

Yelton did express his feelings about the appointment.

"To be invited as a member of this historic administration is to me, the career opportunity of a lifetime. I eagerly look forward to working with Gov. Daniels and the rest of this amazing administration he's assembled."

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