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The state’s 13th Senate District, in the northeast corner of the state, is more rural and more agricultural but also much more industrial than much of the state. It includes three counties — Noble, Steuben and Lagrange — and the western part of Dekalb County. No city in the district has more than 10,000 residents. Many more of its residents make a living through agriculture than in the state as a whole. At least 3% of the jobs in each county are classified as farm jobs, compared with less than a half- percent in the state as a whole.

In this overwhelmingly white district, the largest minority group is a religious minority, the Amish — at least 10% of the district’s residents. Most of the Amish in Senate District 13 live in Lagrange County, which helps explain why 10% of the jobs in that county are farm jobs. Despite the unusually large amount of farm employment in this corner of the state, manufacturing is the king of payroll here. In Noble, Steuben and Dekalb counties, 35-38% of jobs are in manufacturing. That’s about twice the share of the workforce employed in manufacturing in Indiana as a whole. Even in Lagrange County, 27% of the jobs are in manufacturing.

Farming and manufacturing wield disproportionate clout in the district as sources of income, but the area is probably best known — and loved — by people elsewhere because of its lakes. There are more than 50 natural lakes in the district, and they cover more than 11,000 acres. Two state parks in the district — Chain of Lakes, in Noble County, and Pokagon, in Steuben County — together draw nearly a million visits a year. Lake James, the area’s largest, covers more than 1,000 acres and wraps around the west side of the 1,260-acre Pokagon State Park. Some houses in the most desirable sites on Lake James are million-dollar properties.

Politically, the 13th District is quite dependably Republican. In 2016, more than 70%  of the district’s voters backed President Trump. In 2008, when Democrat Barack Obama became the first Democrat since 1964 to win a presidential race in Indiana, voters in the counties of the 13th District backed Republican John McCain with 54-60% of their votes.

In this setting, the real election is the Republican primary. In 2020, Susan Glick defeated challenger Jeffrey Wible 61-39% in the primary. It was a strong win for her, but still a much closer race than her last race against a Democrat. In 2016, she won the general election by 76-24% against Democrat Justin Kuhnle; she was unopposed in the general election in 2020.

In the General Assembly in 2020, half of the 10 bills in which she was listed as an author pertained to natural resources or environmental protection. Two were enacted, involving the regulation of pesticides and the ability of wastewater utilities to recover infrastructure costs. Through bills that failed, she had sought to create study committees on invasive species and carbon sequestration. In all, five of the bills she wrote were enacted, including a measure that makes it easier for victims of harassment, intimidation or human trafficking to keep their addresses confidential in public records.

In 2017, Glick, an attorney, was placed on probation for two years by the Indiana Supreme Court after investigators found that she had allowed 21 estates to languish for years. The order placing her on probation also said that she had failed to keep co-executors of an estate informed of its status from 2010-2016 and had filed to file the estate’s income- and inheritance-tax returns on time.

“All attorneys strive to adhere to strict professional standards, and I’m disappointed that I failed to live up to that,” Glick told The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne. “I regret the embarrassment I’ve caused to the members of the bar and the fellow practitioners. It’s just embarrassing.” – Bob Caylor