Senate District 30 encompasses the old money enclaves on either side of Meridian Street on the North Side of Indianapolis and extends north into Hamilton County and the newer wealth of Carmel. It was represented for the past 40 years by some of the most widely known Republican names in Indianapolis – Blankenbaker, Lubbers, Schneider and Ruckelshaus.
It might seem an understatement to say their successor, Fady Qaddoura, took a different path to the Statehouse. After a race that ranked as the state’s most expensive for a legislative seat with more than $1 million spent in mid-October, Qaddoura scored Indiana Democrats’ biggest win in 2020, unseating John Ruckelshaus, whose family name is one of the most recognizable in Indiana politics and who grew up in and around the Indianapolis Northside district that he sought to continue representing.
Qaddoura grew up on the West Bank of Israel. After immigrating to the United States, he began a career as an IT executive, only to lose the home where he and his young family lived to Hurricane Katrina. According to a feature in the Profile business magazine, Qaddoura "reinvented himself at the age of twenty-nine,'' moving his young family to Indianapolis and becoming an intern with the Indiana General Assembly.
The move launched Qaddoura on a career in Indiana government that included the Indiana Family Health and Services Administration, where during the Pence administration he helped in the launch of the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) 2.0, one of the nation's largest state-level expansions of Medicaid. Qaddoura later moved into Indianapolis city government as controller in the mayoral administration of Joe Hogsett, a position he resigned at the end of 2019, moving to the private sector with Katz, Sapper & Miller.
His Senate campaign identified as priorities the need for "common sense gun legislation to require background checks, ensure safe storage and improve red flag laws to keep our communities safe,'' and more attention to public education, including an increase in teacher salaries. Like Ruckelshaus, Qaddoura also stressed a need for more bipartisanship, citing his background in both Republican and Democratic administrations.
Arriving to a Democratic caucus outnumbered 4-to-1 in the Senate, Qaddoura quickly emerged as one of its most articulate voices -- and a leading voice on arguably the two most important issues of his first session, the 2021 redistricting as welll as the 2022 abortion ban. In both 2021 and 2022, Qaddoura authored legislation in support of independent redistricting only to see it die in committee. He vowed to keep trying as long as he is in the Senate -- and thanks to a redrawing of his district to include more Democratic support from Indianapolis precincts, he seems increasingly likely to be there for as long as he chooses. -- Kevin Morgan