April 23, 2008
Neither of the area's longtime Democratic state representatives, Paul Robertson in District 70 and Dennie Oxley in District 73, have opposition this spring. However, both will face a challenger in the fall, as Tim Hunt has filed in the GOP primary election for District 70 and Steve Davisson has filed in the District 73 Republican primary. Like their Democratic counterparts, neither Hunt nor Davisson face a challenger on May 6. (*) Denotes incumbent.
*Paul J. Robertson (D)
Spouse: Jill Ann (Moss) Robertson
Children: Four adult children: Jennifer, Chad, Heather and Jessica; one grandchild: Faith Eliana Warner
Occupation: Retired history/government high school teacher of 36 years; Indiana legislator
School and year graduated: North Central High School 1964; Indiana State University, B.S. 1968; Indiana State University, M.S. 1971
Additional education: Taft Institute for government teachers; graduate courses at Indiana University and Indiana State University
Political affiliation: Democrat
Previous political experience: Indiana Legislator from 1978 to present
Duties of position sought: My job is representing the people of Harrison County and parts of Clark and Floyd in the General Assembly in Indianapolis, where we propose, discuss, debate and pass laws affecting the citizens of the State of Indiana.
Why are you seeking office?: I believe there is no greater privilege than serving the public, which is why I have enjoyed being your state representative. I wish to continue making Southern Indiana a great place in which to live, work and raise a family.
What qualifies you for the office?: In a nutshell, experience and common sense.
My goal as a legislator has always been to represent my constituents in an honest, ethical and forthright manner. My highest priority has always been being accessible to listen to everyone's concerns. I feel that I have achieved these goals in the years I have served as state representative, and I pledge to maintain that commitment in the future.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign?: In 2008 we passed the Governor's Property Tax Reform Bill into law. Homeowners will see a 30-percent reduction in their property tax statewide. We must continue to fine-tune the governor's program to ensure that property tax reductions are fair and permanent.
Other priorities include: Quality schools for our children, access to affordable health care, and above all, good jobs for Hoosiers.
Have state legislators and the governor adequately addressed the property tax problem?: The governor's plan for a statewide average of a 30-percent property tax reduction is a giant step forward. The cap of 1 percent for homes, 2 percent for farms and rental property and 3 percent for businesses will help prevent property tax from increasing so rapidly. I believe the Governor's Property Tax Plan is a work in progress, and we will continue to work on it until we have lasting property tax relief.
How can we help ailing local governments that are already strapped for cash?: It's very important that we continue to work cooperatively with local governments, giving them the ability to raise needed funds to provide for services that are necessary in their communities.
With gaming revenue being vital to the regional economy, what can the state do to ensure that the area isn't hurt by casinos in Kentucky?: We must continue to work closely with the multi-plus billion dollar gaming industry to ensure that Indiana will remain competitive with the surrounding states.
Is the state taking the correct steps to ensure that the Indiana economy remains strong?: We have a well-educated and hard-working labor force in Indiana, which is a tremendous economic stimulant unto itself. We already have a solid infrastructure, such as roads and transportation. I believe Indiana is moving in the right direction for a strong economy.
What can the state do to assist local governments with economic development?: The Economic Development Corporation was created to work with the local economic development officials to attract business and industry to their communities.
As far as Harrison County is concerned, I will continue to work hard to ensure that the $23 million from the riverboat stays in Harrison County.
Has the state fully addressed illegal immigration? What should be done?: The immigration bill passed the House this year, but failed to pass the conference committee. This is an issue we will address again in the 2009 session.
Contact information for voters: E-mail H70@ai.org; Indianapolis office 1-800-382-9842; home 347-2015
Tim Hunt (R)
Spouse: Lisa (26 years)
Children: Christopher, Morgan
Occupation: Director of Business Development, Koetter Construction
School and year graduated: Jennings County High School 1975
Additional education: Associate's Degree, Business Administration/Accounting, University of Southern Ohio, U.C.
Political affiliation: Republican
Previous political experience: None
Duties of position sought: Indiana House of Representatives District 70
Why are you seeking the office?: To truly represent our district on all issues, including morale and family values, and reduce state government spending to improve the quality of life for all Southern Indiana residents.
What qualifies you for the office?: "I am a true business leader." Think outside the box. "Not a professional politician."
What do you consider top issues in the campaign?: Property tax reduction, marriage amendment, state and local spending, providing good quality jobs for Southern Indiana.
Have state legislators and the governor adequately addressed the property tax problem?: It is a great starting point. We need to dig deeper. Why do we have to rent our houses or property after we pay off our mortgages from the state?
How can the state help ailing local governments that are already strapped for cash?: If the state trims their own waste and then promote business growth, both local and state governments would see true benefits.
With gaming revenue being vital to the regional economy, what can the state do to ensure the area isn't hurt by casinos in Kentucky?: That is a tough issue to address. Kentucky hasn't completed the deal as of yet, but we need to look at improving our gaming revenues.
Is the state taking the correct steps to ensure that the Indiana economy remains strong?: More effort needs to be addressed to small business growth. Large employers are failing daily. Small businesses need the real help.
What can the state do to assist local governments with economic development?: If our tax climate adversely affects businesses, we all lose. If business grows, so do employees' wealth. Business issues should be protected.
Has the state fully addressed illegal immigration? What should be done?: No. We need comprehensive immigration reform and enforcement now.
Other: Politicians should not be lifetime; term limits would ensure fresh ideas and processes that would protect our resources. I am not a professional politician! Our country's founders did not want professional politicians running the affairs of government.
Contact information for voters: www.friendsoftimhunt.com or 1-812-248-4316
*Dennie Oxley (D)
Children: Demi, 7; Audrey, 3
Occupation: State representative, House District 73; Project coordinator, Beam, Longest and Neff, LLC
School and year graduated: Crawford County Junior-Senior High School 1989
Additional education: Bachelor of Science, Indiana University Southeast 1993; Master of Science, Indiana University Southeast 1997; Administration license, IUS 1998
Political affiliation: Democrat
Previous political experience: State representative, House District 73 1998-present
Duties of position sought: Lawmaker for the state of Indiana and representing the citizens of House District 73 in state government.
Why are you seeking the office?: An incredible love for Southern Indiana and its citizens, and an intense desire to make Southern Indiana the best it can be to live here, work here and raise our families here.
What qualifies you for office?: I love Southern Indiana. I have lived here my entire life, I have been educated here, and I have always worked here. I believe that I have a strong grasp of what folks from here need, want and expect from our state government because I have those same needs, wants and expectations. I take this job very seriously, and my commitment to the people of Southern Indiana is very deep. Southern Indiana deserves to have a strong and knowledgeable voice in Indianapolis, and I want to continue to be that voice.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign?: We took a huge step forward this session addressing property taxes by passing a sweeping, bipartisan bill which provides $900 million of property tax relief. As a result, homeowners will see significant reductions in their bills. In 2007, we passed legislation that extended health insurance to thousands of Hoosiers who previously had none. We are going to need to do even more to make health insurance available and affordable for all Hoosiers. Job creation and economic development will certainly be top issues. I also strongly believe that we must vigorously tackle issues affecting middle-class families, like college tuition increases and gas prices. Appropriately funding all levels of public education is certainly an issue, and I would expect the sagging economy and immigration reform to be major topics at both the state and federal levels.
Have state legislators and the governor adequately addressed the property tax problem?: I think between the framework the governor put forth and the improvements that we made in the General Assembly, a tremendous amount was accomplished. The hard caps for homeowners and other property owners should prevent property taxes from creeping back up the way they have in the past. However, there will certainly be new issues regarding how we appropriately fund education from this point on given that we have made so many far-reaching changes.
How can the state help ailing local governments that are already strapped for cash?: There is no doubt that the governor's plan is going to force local governments to have to make some tough decisions in the near future. As a legislator, I think that we have to give local governments the tools to make local government more efficient and, if absolutely needed, to diversify their revenue streams. However, Hoosiers are telling us that they want more of a say in how their tax dollars are spent, and this is why we approved voter referendums for building projects this session. I think that local officials are going to have to increasingly engage the community and build consensus around their future spending decisions.
With gaming revenue being vital to the regional economy, what can the state do to ensure the area isn't hurt by casinos in Kentucky?: With state tax revenues falling, there is always the risk that those in Indianapolis will look to the riverboats to bail out the budget. I worked to prevent this from happening in 2005, and I will continue to work to make sure that this industry is not singled out and overtaxed. If competition is coming, we need to have an environment where our riverboats try to keep their market share by investing in Indiana and making our area even more of a destination not just for gaming, but for overall tourism. We need to continue to use a good portion of the dollars generated by our riverboats to reinvest in our communities so that we can make them as attractive to tourists as possible in a variety of ways.
Is the state taking the correct steps to ensure that the Indiana economy remains strong?: The state is doing some things right, but I have concerns that the economic development success stories are not evenly spread throughout Indiana. I would like to see a more targeted approach where we increase the resources we put into those areas which have greater needs. Many states have implemented these targeted programs, and this is something that I want to continue to pursue in our state.
What can the state do to assist local governments with economic development?: One very significant thing that we have already done was create the Indiana Economic Development Corp., which works with local economic development officials. Having said that, I think the biggest concerns I hear expressed by local economic development officials are about infrastructure. That is why I have always worked to ensure that our communities have the infrastructure in place that is necessary for economic development. Of course, providing this infrastructure takes money. When the Indiana toll road was leased by the governor, I think some may have thought that our infrastructure needs were solved; however, the money generated by the sale of the toll road, quite frankly, has not been utilized effectively. We need to leverage our location in Indiana by putting some of the Major Moves money, if only just the interest, directly to work in our communities today by providing the infrastructure necessary for economic development.
Has the state fully addressed illegal immigration? What should be done?: Absolutely not. Ultimately, the solution must happen at the federal level, but we did have a very strong bill in the House this session. Most legislators supported proposals that would have penalized employers for profiting from hiring illegal workers. There was a lot of opposition from the business community, and this led to the legislation's demise. I found it interesting that some of those who claimed to be "tough on immigration" were really those trying to bring the legislation down. Hopefully, there will be a federal solution to this very important problem soon. Absent a federal solution, the state of Indiana must penalize employers who are profiting from illegal immigration.
Contact information for voters: P.O. Box 99, 1644 W. S.R. 64, English, IN 47118; home 338-4932; office 1-800-382-9842; e-mail H73@in.gov e-mail; www.in.gov/H73; www.dennieoxley.com
Steve Davisson (R)
Children: Five children: J. Davisson, 26, a sergeant in the National Guard and serving in Iraq; Chelsie Davisson, 24; Andrew Davisson, 19; Brooke Davisson, 18; and Tyler Davisson, 16; and three grandchildren
Occupation: Pharmacist at DanMar Family Pharmacy in Salem
School and year graduated: Scottsburg High School 1976
Additional education: Purdue University, School of Pharmacy, B.S. 1981; graduate studies in genetic toxicology at Purdue
Political affiliation: Republican
Previous political experience: None
Duties of position sought: Office sought is state representative for District 73. This district includes all or parts of eight counties, including Crawford, Washington, Clark, Scott, Jackson, Dubois, Perry and Harrison. The state representative represents his or her home district in the Indiana State General Assembly, passing laws, budgeting the state revenues and looking out for the best interest of folks in district.
Why are you seeking the office?: I've been inspired by our young men and women serving in our armed forces. These people are giving of themselves to our state and our country. If they can give like this for their country, then we, too, should step up and contribute to our government and community. As a pharmacist, I talk with many Hoosiers about their concerns. I believe we can do better! We need to create opportunities and provide responsible government spending.
What qualifies you for the office?: I'm not a politician but a concerned citizen who feels a need to step forward and try to provide this district with fair and honest representation. I work with the public and understand what they expect out of their elected officials. They want representation that puts them first instead of state party leaders, special interests and lobbyists.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign?: It is important to bring jobs to Southern Indiana. We must create opportunity for all Hoosiers to make a living and support their families. Responsible government spending is also an important issue, making sure taxpayers get a break. Health insurance must be affordable and accessible to all Hoosiers.
Have state legislators and the governor adequately addressed the property tax problem?: The property tax reform measures were a start, but there is much work needed to permanently remove the property tax burden off the backs of hard-working Hoosier families.
How can the state help ailing local governments that are already strapped for cash?: The state can help local governments by giving them the resources to modernize and reduce the costs to taxpayers of doing business and providing services to its citizens.
With gaming revenue being vital to the regional economy, what can the state do to ensure the area isn't hurt by casinos in Kentucky?: Indiana must not put all of its eggs in one basket. We must diversify our tax base and strive to bring new businesses that bring new jobs to the region. We can't afford to gamble on gaming revenue, but develop sustainable revenue from new jobs and economic growth.
Is the state taking the correct steps to ensure that the Indiana economy remains strong?: Indiana has been the beneficiary of many new jobs over the past three years. Southern Indiana hasn't seen the job growth that other parts of the state have seen. We must concentrate on selling our district to businesses that will bring new jobs to our hometowns. We must make sure that the interests of the hard-working Hoosiers are put first and not special interests and lobbyists.
What can the state do to assist local governments with economic development?: The state can provide resources to help local economics develop new jobs and economic diversity. They can offer special tax incentives or other proposals to businesses that would bring jobs into areas of need. It is important for state and local government officials to be salesmen for their communities and bring those new jobs back home.
Has the state fully addressed illegal immigration? What should be done?: We should enforce the laws on illegal immigration that exist on the books. Indiana should become a partner with other states on dealing with illegals. We must make sure companies do not knowingly hire illegal immigrants and punish those that do. We should welcome those immigrants who come here legally, but discourage illegal immigrants from making Indiana their destination.
Contact information for voters: www.stevedavisson.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; P.O. Box 341, Salem, IN 47167