The Indiana Citizen

The Crossroads of Civic Engagement

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RANDALL FRYE

Republican Birth Date:

Indiana House District 67 includes the iconic town of Milan, home of the 1955 state champions who introduced the culture of Indiana high school basketball to the rest of the world. Milan’s high school remains, a survivor of sorts amid forces that in the years since have rattled the small town and others like it throughout the southeastern Indiana district. The gaming industry and a new automobile plant brought relief in recent decades, but average household income remains below the state median in five of its seven counties.

District 67 has been represented for the past 10 years by Randy Frye, a native of the area who returned after a career as a firefighter in Indianapolis. He is most vocal on support for public safety, veterans issues and the state’s motorsports industry; the Lucas Oil family is among his campaign contributors. In 2019, Frye authored and saw passed into law a bill that established a new task force to deal with the overcrowding of county jails, a problem throughout his district. Among its tasks is to identify alternatives to incarceration in dealing with substance abuse, another problem.

The district’s bigger employers include a Honda plant that began production in Greensburg in 2008 and three casinos along the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Rising Sun and Florence. Since they took shape during the 1990s, the riverboats brought a windfall in gaming taxes to the communities, particularly Lawrenceburg, but it since has abated with competition from casinos in Cincinnati. Legislation in 2019 providing for new casinos elsewhere in Indiana steered funding as a consolation prize to some existing locations, but a last-minute provision excluded Lawrenceburg and Rising Sun – a particularly hard hit to the latter.

The usually affable legislator led a futile charge against the bill on the session’s final night, warning his colleagues from the House floor that new casinos would be built “on the backs of the poorest people of our state.’’ In an interview with an area radio station, Frye said Rising Sun stood to lose nearly half of its annual revenue from gaming and warned that surrounding Ohio County was ranked as Indiana’s poorest before its casino opened. Nonetheless, the measure passed and was signed into law.

Frye occasionally has a Democratic opponent in the general election, most recently in 2018, when a woman from the northern part of District 67 called attention to deteriorating county roads and the ongoing opioid crisis. The district is reliably Republican, and Frye won by a 3-to-1 margin, as he did in the previous election. He was unopposed in both the primary and general elections in 2020. – Kevin Morgan

CONTACT INFORMATION

EDUCATION

  • AA, Cincinnati Christian College, 1995

COMMITTEES

Roads and Transportation; Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications; Veterans Affairs and Public Safety, chair

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. Excused

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. No

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. Yes

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

Fraley, Lincoln, $7,000
Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, $3,200
Indiana Fire Fighters, $2,500
Trucking Industry, $2,000
NiSource Inc., $1,500
Calvitto, Celeste, $1,500
Comcast Corporation & NBC Universal, $1,000
Indiana Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, $1,000
Indiana Motor Truck Association, $1,000
Batesville Tool & Die, $1,000

RATINGS

Indiana Manufacturers Association Positions 67
Indiana Manufacturers Association Lifetime Positions 74
Indiana Chamber of Commerce Positions (4 Year Average) 92
Indiana Chamber of Commerce Positions 84
LEAP Forward Positions (Indianna) 29
Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana Positions 45
Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana Lifetime Positions 34
Indiana AFL-CIO Positions 33
Indiana Manufacturers Association Positions 77
Indiana Manufacturers Association Lifetime Positions 85

PROFESSIONAL CAREER

Retired Indianapolis firefighter

DISTRICT

Population: 64,621

Race/Ethnic Origin: 97.7% white, 0.5% black, 0.3% Asian, 0.5% other, 1% two or more; 97.2% white non-Hispanic, 1% Hispanic.