The Indiana Citizen

The Crossroads of Civic Engagement

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Democratic Birth Date: 12/23/83

House District 97, which includes most of Downtown Indianapolis and communities to its south and west, has been a Democratic stronghold for decades, often with the acquiescence of the Republican Party, which hasn’t run a candidate in two of the last three general elections.

The district was last represented by Republicans in 2006, when Jon Elrod defeated four-term incumbent Ed Mahern by eight votes; Elrod lost a bid for re-election to Mary Ann Sullivan. When she opted to run for the Indiana Senate in 2012, Justin Moed took her place in District 97 and has held onto the seat easily, facing no opposition in five primaries.

Most neighborhoods in the district struggle with homelessness and abandoned housing and need help with commerical revitalization and connecting community groups to available resources. Public education is another hot-button issue that has riled communities to action, with success —keeping George Washington High School open and moving Manual High School back under IPS control after several years of out-of-state management.

Industry has a big presence in the district, which encompasses a major landfill, trucking companies, and Covanta waste management. Environmental issues are a regular struggle. A pervasive odor from Metalworking Lubricants over Southside neighborhoods has drawn Moed into legal action to help complaining residents.

On the flip side, the redevelopment of the former GM Stamping Plant as the new corporate headquarters of Elanco has the potential to transform a blighted section of the district along the White River. There’s also a small bit of agriculture within the district's boundaries—Moed himself lives on a three-acre farm near Bluff Road.

Until 2020, Moed’s only challenge in either a general or primary election had come the year after he made news for an involvement with an adult-film actress also linked to former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner; Moed was re-elected in 2016 with 61 percent of the general election vote. After an unopposed run in 2018, he won 55 percent of the vote against Republican and Libertarian opponents in 2020. -- Megan Fernandez



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  • Butler University (BA).


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. No

SB 516-2019 (Regulation of hemp). Allowed cultivation and regulation of hemp products in Indiana, did not change marijuana laws. No

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. No

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. No

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. No


Farmer; formerly legislative staff, home detention officer.


Population: 65,372
Race/Ethnic Origin: 77.8% white, 8.8% black, 8.4% other, 2.2% Asian, 2.9 % two or more; 72.8% white non-Hispanic, 13.9% Hispanic.