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Issues


I’m running for State Representative in House District 42 because I care about the future, and we can do better.  I believe in public service, having served the people of Vermillion and Parke Counties for many years with Purdue Extension.  With my years working with the public, I have the ability and experience to do the job.  I believe the great people of Indiana deserve thoughtful, positive leadership and creative thinking to better manage public resources. I will advocate for the small towns and rural areas that make up District 42. I will listen to my constituents and use common sense to find real solutions to complicated issues.

TOP TWO ISSUES:

EDUCATION - Public schools should be supported and improved, not disrespected and destroyed. We need to focus on a new set of 3 Rs:  Respect teachers, Restore funding, and Return local control.  Some state leaders badmouthed public school teachers for a couple years to create the impression that our education system was broken and needed to be scraped.  Then they proposed radical changes to privatize schools and make money from them.  Public schools should not have funding pulled away to private and religious schools.  When the state raised the sales tax and took over the school general fund, they took much of the control away from local school boards. This power grab has turned control of our public schools over to unelected bureaucrats in the Department of Education.
 
To make matters much worse, Governor Pence has disrespected the voters who rejected Tony Bennett and elected Glenda Ritz as our Superintendent of Public Instruction.  The Governor, by executire order, created a new agency, CECI, staffed it with many former Bennett cronies, and has allowed it to undermine Supt. Ritz.  She should be allowed to carry out the will of the majority who elected her to lead our schools.
 
ECONOMY/JOBS - The state should empower and support local economic development efforts and job creation.  The state has a role to play, but it should not be picking and choosing winners and losers.
 
Jobs with livable wages should be the goal, and businesses that pay livable wages are better for our economy than those that don't.  The state should not just engage in smokestack chasing and ignore the existing businesses that can create more jobs through expansion.
 
In the last session, my opponent voted 4 times to stop any increase in the minimum wage, despite the fact it's purchasing power keeps dropping as prices go up.  I prefer the federal minimum wage be increased gradually, but since Congress can't get anything done it's time for Indiana to lead by implementing gradual increases.  I also want to study other options, such as a work study student minimum wage.
 
I will work to focus attention on local resources, including our agricultural industry, and Vermillion Rise, the former Newport army ammunition plant.  That site has the potential to revitalize the local economyour district with new jobs.
 
A job sharing system has been suggested as an alternative to traditional unemployment, and many people from labor, management, and business support the concept as a way to retain the skills of workers furing economic downturns.  I believe this concept deserves consideration.
 
The right-to-work legislation passed a couple years ago was largely designed to harm labor, not to improve the economy.  Supporters claimed it would create or bring thousands of jobs to Indiana, and that has not happened.  In fact, low wage jobs make up a higher percentage of all new jobs in Indiana than about any other state.

OTHER ISSUES OF CONCERN:

FAIR TAXES – Taxation has been a hot-button issue since the Boston Tea Party. The real issue is fairness in taxation and the responsible use of public funds. The tax burden for state and local government should be shared in a fair way that is easy to understand.  The property tax burden being shifted to the landowner is quite dramatic. The state property tax levy freeze makes it hard for local governments to attract business, and the tax caps force them to cut services. I believe government must be frugal and be responsible with taxpayer dollars.

AGRICULTURE – Agriculture is the backbone of this district.  Farmland assessments and farmland property taxes are rising rapidly and they will keep going up, hurting farmers just as crop prices are dropping.  I will offer a new approach to farmland taxes, not just minor tweaks to the current system that was designed and supported by farm organizations and the legislature.  For a new approach, you much change the players.  I have helped teach farmers and local officials about the farmland tax system, and have the insight to help develop a new system.
 
Any proposed regulations of agriculture must be studied carefully to assure benefits outweigh the costs, and District 42 needs a representative who understands the concerns of farmers.  I grew up on a Clay County farm, have farmed part time my whole life, and worked in agriculture as a Purdue Extension Educator in Vermillion and/or Parke County for over 27 years.
 
The majority party appointed a person whose training and work experience was in sports management, as vice chair of the House Agriculture Committee.  For them to appoint someone with no farm or agricultural background to this important post shows how little they think of agriculture.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT – Some reforms to local government deserve careful consideration.  Times have changed and local government can change too, but the goal should be to IMPROVE it.  For example, the state could help support a training academy for candidates and elected officials to help them learn to do their jobs better.  That could actually make government more efficient, instead of starving local units of funding through tax caps, and controlling their ability to manage and fund the services local communities depend on.

REFORM ETHICS - The recent string of obviously unethical behavior by several state "leaders" and employees have damaged our trust in state government.  Investigations by the current administration have made it clearn that in this case the system is broken and needs to be repaired to regain public trust.