The following Q-and-A was compiled by contributing writer David Bangert and was first published in his Substack newsletter, Based in Lafayette, Indiana.
Why are you running?
I will continue my work to make government responsive and ethical and to ensure that public funds are spent wisely. Many of the issues that face our society have a scientific or technological basis. It is important to have scientists such as myself in legislative bodies who can evaluate on a firsthand basis both the opportunities and challenges that a changing physical and technological environment poses. For example, there is a coming near-term revolution in agriculture that has the capacity to benefit consumers as well as producers, and it is necessary for Indiana to be poised to be a leader in that field. I have the skills to promote the government framework required to make that happen.
What are two priorities you want to get done during your term, if elected? And how would you get those done?
I would like to have the state study the feasibility of high-speed rail that connects Lafayette with Chicago, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. I would also champion the right of the people in the district to have affordable access to broadband internet and health care, choices in cellular phone service, better roads and high-quality public education.
Indiana’s new abortion law restricts abortions with limited exceptions for cases involving rape, incest and some medical complications. Do you support the way Senate Bill 1 was written? And what changes would you propose or support in the next legislative session?
I have a well-established record for defending personal privacy against government intrusion. I am also a well-known advocate for full access to health care and women's rights. I would have opposed SB1 and would welcome opportunities to work with my colleagues across the political divide who believe it should not be the law. Politicians who say that now that SB1 is enacted we should also have health care and child care options for women that they should have had all along are being disingenuous. Also, it has become common for politicians, including my opponent, to take extreme positions on these issues in the primary only to repeatedly shift them to appear more mainstream in the general election.
No matter who is elected, you’ll likely have to navigate a Republican supermajority in both chambers of the General Assembly when representing your district. How will you do that, and what makes your prospects for success better than those of your opponent?
As West Lafayette City Councilor I have worked for the good of the community with my close friend, Republican Mayor John Dennis. When I go door-to-door throughout the district (I have canvassed in every town of 500-plus voters and nearly every one of 300-plus voters) I knock on the doors of every active registered voter, not just the ones I think are likely to vote for me. I also make a point of meeting with Republican political leaders at events such as fairs, parades, council meetings and festivals. I listen to others, and I believe that others respect my sincerity even when they don't agree with me. Much of what I wish to achieve for my constituents should not be partisan issues.
Several bills in the General Assembly in 2022 called on the state to do more to oversee curriculum, particularly with so-called divisive topics dealing with race in America, and parental oversight of classroom instruction. Did those bills go too far? Did they not go far enough?
Educators must have the support they deserve so that they can be recruited and retained. They must be provided with the trust that as professionals they are qualified to create the curriculum. I will work to help our rural public schools have access to the resources they need to provide education that is comparable with that at excellent schools such as those in West Lafayette – a matter of fundamental equity as well as essential to economic development. There must always be an emphasis on inclusion as well as diversity. Public funds for education should fund public education – an issue with which I differ with my opponent.
Would you vote to legalize marijuana in Indiana? And if so, to what extent? If not, why not?
I believe that it is detrimental to society to be imprisoning people for marijuana use.
The General Assembly last session legalized permitless carry of concealed handguns in Indiana. Was that the correct move? And what do you believe is the next step involving gun legislation in Indiana?
I would have sided with law enforcement throughout the state of Indiana, including local leaders, and would have opposed that measure. I believe that it not only endangered law enforcement officers but also increases the probability of their employment of lethal force. I have worked together with local law enforcement to accomplish joint goals, and I would enlist them as well as the community in pursuing measures that reduce gun violence. I am especially concerned about gun-related lethality that affects young people including accidental shootings and suicide.
What would your approach be to the state’s surplus? Should it be saved? Should it be spent, and on what?
Affordable access to broadband internet and health care, choices in cellular phone service, better roads and high-quality public education are all necessary for economic development, and an investment in them would have been prudent.
What are one or two things that separate you from your opponent and make you the best fit for your district?
If you are a registered voter in District 23, there’s a good chance that you have met me. I am acting on my conviction that people have the right to know their representatives. I answer questions from the media and voters every day. I have immediately accepted the invitations of League of Women Voters and WLFI and that of WBAA to participate in candidate forums. My opponent has declined.
The choice in this election comes to this. I possess the Hoosier qualities of experience, a willingness to work hard, accessibility, responsiveness, public service, forthrightness, career accomplishment and contributing to my community, in addition to dedication to my family. I will not outspend my opponent. I will simply care more about you.