For the first time in 14 years, Indiana House District 65 is getting a new representative.
The seat is being vacated by Rep. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, who is running for a spot in the Indiana Senate this election. Democrat Chris Woods and Republican Chris May, both from Bedford, are vying to replace him. The district covers all of Brown County, most of Lawrence County and parts of Monroe, Jackson and Johnson counties.
Education, the drug epidemic and infrastructure should be the top three priorities for state government if you ask Woods.
“I believe our economy will have a long-term positive impact if these three areas are effectively addressed,” he said.
In education, Woods believes in expanding early education opportunities, rebuilding the state’s testing procedures, ensuring transparency in educational funding and requiring that “all schools that receive taxpayer money play by the same rules.”
Working with health care professionals to facilitate rehabilitation and create affordable treatment programs, and partnering with law enforcement to “develop better drug prevention and educational programs” is how Woods wants to tackle the drug epidemic in the state.
In infrastructure, Woods said he will develop “a long-term bipartisan plan” with the whole state in mind as well as ensure District 65 receives its fair share to improve roads and bridges.
“I am a strong believer in giving more power and control to the local governments giving them the flexibility needed to address specific needs,” he said.
Woods said he supports Democratic governor candidate John Gregg’s plan which redistributes state funds and allows local communities to apply for that money to help with projects that are the most urgent. Recipients would have low interest rates and control over their own projects without any tax increase for taxpayers, he said.
Woods said he also will work to make high-speed internet available throughout the state.
May said the state should focus on accountability, fiscal responsibility and having a “pro-business approach” for “the growth and progress of south-central Indiana.”
“I will bring those values with me to the Statehouse. I understand the needs of our local communities and will protect our hard-earned tax dollars at the Statehouse,” he said.
For infrastructure, there’s not one correct answer, May said. “A comprehensive revenue stream should be developed, utilizing a variety of mechanisms while being sensitive to revenue potential, sustainability, business friendliness and ease of implementation,” he said.
May said there also is not a “one-size-fits-all model” for education, and that he applauds Indiana’s educational options, like vouchers, that allow families to “select the best educational options for their children,” he said.
“The goal is to provide students the opportunity to succeed regardless of their life circumstances or where they choose to receive their education,” May said, stating that he would advocate for students in District 65 by working to make sure the school funding formula is fair to district schools.
Occupation: Sales engineer and small business owner
Political experience: Three-term Lawrence County commissioner
Occupation: Union pipefitter with Harrell-Fish Inc.
Political experience: None
State Representative District 65
Represents: All of Brown County, most of Lawrence County and parts of Monroe, Jackson and Johnson counties
Term: 2 years
Duties: Review and approve the state budget, propose and vote on legislation impacting the whole state
Salary: Base salary of $24,140, plus a per diem of $159 a day during the legislative session