A retired postal worker and former union leader from Elizabethtown is seeking a seat in the state legislature.
Steve Schoettmer, 62, is seeking the Democratic nomination for District 69 state representative, a seat currently held by Jim Lucas, R-Seymour.
“I’m not running against Jim Lucas,” said Schoettmer, a 1973 graduate of Columbus (North) High School. “I’m running against the Republican super majority.”
Citing what’s often called Right To Work legislation, as well as the repeal of the Common Construction Wage, Schoettmer claims Statehouse Republicans have crushed the wages of the working class.
Manufacturing employees’ wages in Indiana have slipped from sixth best in the nation in 2005 to 31st just three years ago, even though Hoosier productive output was one of the best, Schoettmer said.
“We need to find ways to put upward pressure on the wages,” the former union leader said.
Since the Indiana House is 70 percent GOP and the Senate is 82 percent Republican, any legislator who brings a different perspective or affiliation isn’t allowed to participate in debates or discussions at the General Assembly, Schoettmer said.
“They just let you come in and vote for whatever they come up with,” Schoettmer said.
After U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan announced congressional Republicans will try to reduce federal health care programs this year, Schoettmer said Hoosiers should expect the same thing from Indiana lawmakers.
“State-administered health care must be protected from those who would diminish its effectiveness and inclusiveness,” Schoettmer said. “People in the margins are going to die because the wealthy cannot get enough.”
Since Republican vote totals in statewide races are significantly less than the share of seats held by GOP lawmakers, many political observers suspect gerrymandering, the redrawing of electoral maps to favor one political party over another.
The Elizabethtown man advocates for adequate funding of pre-kindergarten, K-12 education and higher education, which he said should include career training for trades.
“Our quality of life, our dreams and our futures depend on it,” Schoettmer said.
Name: Steve Schoettmer
Experience: Retired after 35 years with the U.S. Postal Service. Former union president of the Columbus Area Local 3740, which includes Columbus, Greensburg, Hanover, Madison, North Vernon and Seymour. Former state president of the Indiana Postal Workers Union.
Education: 1973 graduate of Columbus (North) High School. Attended Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus. Received training in San Diego to become a national arbitration advocate.
Children: Four adult children