The residents of Indiana Senate District 44, which includes much of Jackson County, will lose nearly 20 years of lawmaking experience with the retirement of Bedford attorney Brent Steele at the end of 2016.
Another Bedford attorney, Eric Koch, hopes to fill that gap by capturing Steele’s seat in the Nov. 8 general election. Both men are Republicans.
Koch, who has served as the District 65 representative in the House of Representatives for the past 14 years, is the first cand-idate to announce plans to pursue Steele’s seat.
Jan. 6 is the first day candidates can file a declaration of candidacy.
“Working together, we found solutions and moved Indiana from good to great,” Koch said of his work in the House.
That work includes authoring personal privacy legislation and legislation to promote rural broadband and investment in broadband infrastructure. He also wrote legislation this year to improve internal controls in state and local government and promote investment in water infrastructure and protect water resources, Koch said.
“Still, work remains to be done and more challenges — known and unknown — lie ahead,” he said. “I look forward to the opportunity to shape our future in the Indiana Senate.”
Steele said in July that he had decided not to seek re-election because he wanted to devote more time to his family.
Koch said his decision to run is based upon a couple of things including the fact that both districts cover a lot of the same area.
“These are people I have represented a long time and have grown to know,” he said. “I think it will be a very easy transition in that regard, and I have had a close working relationship with local governments in these communities for a long time.”
House District 65 includes Pershing and Salt Creek townships in Jackson County, all of Brown County, most of Lawrence County and parts of Monroe and Johnson counties.
Senate District 44 includes all of Jackson County with the exception of Grassy Fork, Vernon and Washington townships. It also includes parts of Bartholomew and Monroe counties.
Former Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, who also is a Bedford resident, is serving as the honorary chairwoman of Koch’s campaign.
A graduate of Georgetown University and the Indiana University School of Law, Koch is an attorney in private practice and a small business owner.
He is an eighth-generation Hoosier and was raised on a farm. He and his wife, Connie, a teacher at Shawswick Ele-mentary School, have three sons.
Name: Eric Koch
Political experience: State House District 65 representative for 14 years
Family: Wife, Connie; and three sons