The Indiana Citizen

The Crossroads of Civic Engagement

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BRIAN BUCHANAN

Republican Birth Date:

Indiana Senate District 7 follows the path of I-65 as it extends from the northwestern exurbs of Indianapolis past Lafayette and into more rural territory. It was represented for 18 years by Brandt Hershman, whose expertise in telecommunications, taxation and fiscal policy and advocacy of conservative economic causes established him as one of the state’s most powerful elected officials. After Mike Pence’s elevation to the vice presidency, Hershman was among the Hoosiers mentioned for a role in the Trump administration and was considered for a position in the Federal Communications Commission; at the end of 2017, he resigned to become a lobbyist in Washington, D.C.

Republican precinct officials in the Senate district chose Brian Buchanan, a Boone County Council member who works in sales for his family’s trucking and logistics business, to replace Hershman. In contrast to the authoritative delivery of his predecessor, Buchanan’s tone was unassuming as he made his first remarks on the Senate floor in early 2018: “When I was running in the caucus for this Senate seat, I said that my goal was just to help continue to keep Indiana — Indiana is in a great spot as a state overall — and I think you guys have all been doing great work. … I heard some debate up here the other day about we’re in a good spot, but how can we be better? So, hopefully I can contribute a little bit about how to keep Indiana good and take us to the next level and make us even better.”

In 2019, Buchanan was primary author on a bill aimed at making more uniform Indiana’s system of assessing property taxes by eliminating loopholes in the state’s taxation laws. Buchanan said his legislation was intended specifically to deal with inequities resulting from big-box retailers successfully appealing their property tax assessments by taking advantage of loopholes, shifting the tax burden elsewhere in communities. By one estimate, Buchanan’s home county had spent more than $400,000 on legal fees in fighting such appeals. “When we have a property tax system, it’s important that we all pay our fair share. A lot of large commercial property, when they file an appeal oftentimes they’re asking for a 35-40% reduction … but when you do that, it gets shifted to other tax payers.” The bill passed the Senate with seven Republicans voting against it; one of them, Noblesville businesswoman Victoria Spartz, expressed concern that the proposed changes could limit the options available to small businesses as well. The bill later died in a House committee.

In early 2020, Buchanan announced that he would seek election in his own right. He turned back two challengers in the Republican primary and in the general election won nearly 70% of the vote against his Democratic opponent, who sought during her campaign to call attention to Buchanan’s vote on one of the more contentious debates of the 2020 legislative session, involving a maternal health bill that would require businesses to make certain accommodations to employees who are pregnant; the bill, backed by the Holcomb administration, was seen as a measure to mitigate Indiana’s high ranking for mortality rates among infants and women during pregnancy. Senate Republicans successfully amended the bill to defer action to a study committee, a recommendation on which legislative leaders did not follow through after the 2020 session; Buchanan voted with other Republicans in support of the amendment. – Kevin Morgan

CONTACT INFORMATION

(800) 382-9467
200 West Washington Street Indianapolis, IN 46204
http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2020/legislators/legislator_brian_buchanan_1

EDUCATION

  • BS, Agricultral Education, Purdue University

COMMITTEES

Agriculture and Natural Resources; Education and Career Development; Tax and Fiscal Policy

KEY VOTES

SB 198-2019 (Sentencing, bias crimes). Allowed longer sentences in crimes based on personal characteristics, stripped of references to sexual orientation, gender identity and race. Yes

SB 516-2019 (Regulation of hemp). Allowed cultivation and regulation of hemp products in Indiana, did not change marijuana laws. Yes

HB 1001-2019 (State budget). Set funding for state agencies and services, including 2.5% annual increases for education, though not directly for teacher salaries. Yes

HB 1004-2019 (School safety). Increased access to funding for security systems and resource officers, was stripped of provisions for mental health screening. Yes

HB 1015-2019 (Various gaming matters). Allowed sports betting statewide and table games in more casinos, relocated a casino in Gary and authorizing a new one in Terre Haute. Yes

SB 1-2020 (Tobacco and vaping). Raised from 18 to 21 the legal age to buy tobacco or vaping products in Indiana. Yes

SB 148-2020 (Zoning and housing matters). Was amended to overrule local tenant protection measures like those in Indianapolis, Bloomington and Merrillville. Vetoed by governor. Excused

HB 1004-2020 (Health matters). Controlled surprise billing for out-of-network and other costs. Yes

HB 1070-2020 (Distracted driving). Made it an infraction to handle a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. Yes

HB 1414-2020 (Electric generation). Prohibited utilities from closing coal-fired generating plants without permission from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Yes

TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Indiana Republican Party, $14,481.98

Hoosiers for Quality Education, $6,500

NAIFA Indiana South, $4,500

Indiana Manufactured Housing Association/Recreational Vehicle Indiana Council, $3,000

NiSource Inc., $2,500

Rodric D. Bray Campaign CMTE, $2,500

Buchanan, Chad, $2,500

Mark Messmer Campaign CMTE, $2,000

KRG Finance, $2,000

Furrer, Brian & Lorene, $2,000

RATINGS

National Rifle Association Candidate Positions on Gun Rights 92
Indiana Manufacturers Association Positions 89
Indiana Manufacturers Association Lifetime Positions 89
Indiana Chamber of Commerce Positions (4 Year Average) 91
Indiana Chamber of Commerce Positions 89
LEAP Forward Positions (Indianna) 0
Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana Positions 39
Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana Lifetime Positions 46
Indiana AFL-CIO Positions 20
Indiana Manufacturers Association Positions 88

PROFESSIONAL CAREER

Sales management and customer development, Buchanan Hauling and Rigging, Inc.

DISTRICT

Population: 128,475

Race/Ethnic Origin: 92.1% white, 1.5% black, 0.6% Asian, 4.2% other, 1.6% two or more; 88.7% white non-Hispanic, 7.9% Hispanic.