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Issue of October 22, 2014
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2 seek GOP Senate nomination

April 09, 2014 | 08:45 AM

The Republican ballots for the May 6 Primary Election will include two candidates for State Senate District 47.

Erin Houchin of Salem and Harris Lloyd (Tad) Whitis of Laconia are seeking their party's nomination to challenge incumbent Richard D. Young Jr., who has represented the district since 1988 and is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

District 47 includes portions of Crawford, Dubois, Harrison, Orange, Perry and Washington counties.

Erin Houchin (click for larger version)
Name: Erin Houchin

Address: Salem

Family: Husband, Dustin Houchin, who serves as Washington County Prosecutor, and three children, Claire, Elaine and Graham.

Education/Occupation/Political experience: My personal and professional roots are in Southern Indiana and Senate District 47. For the last three years, I served as the Southeast Indiana regional director for U.S. Sen. Dan Coats. In this role, I traveled the district as the liaison between Sen. Coats and local job creators, small businesses, educators, elected officials, non-profit leaders and faith-based organizations. This role has given me unparalleled experience with the issues facing Southern Indiana. I received a bachelor's degree from Indiana University and hold a master's degree in professional studies in political management from The George Washington University. I have served as Ninth District chair of the Indiana Republican Party and as the statewide membership development coordinator for the Indiana Federation of Young Republicans. I have also served as vice chair of the Washington County Republican Party. In addition to political experience, I have worked for the safety and success of children in my roles with the Indiana Dept. of Child Services, the Community Alliance Promoting Education, New Hope Services and as a trainer for Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.

Contact information for voters: Website:; e-mail:; address: P.O. Box 28, Salem, IN 47167

Why are you seeking the office?: I am running for this office to make things happen. I have traveled this district on behalf of Sen. Coats, and what I have seen over and over again inspires me — possibilities. We have many opportunities in this district for creating jobs, supporting small businesses, improving educational outcomes for our children, and enhancing and promoting our quality of life. In doing these things, we must also keep in mind our core values. We must hold the line on state spending and keep taxes low. In addition, I support gun rights, and I am pro life. I hope to harness the enthusiasm and support I am receiving in this campaign to help make great things happen for Southern Indiana.

With the state's unemployment rate below 7 percent — 6.9 percent in December, according to the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development — what can the State Senate do to ensure that the recovery not only continues, but that it accelerates in a way that District 47 residents will feel it in their wallets?: We have to elect someone who can make things happen for the people of this district. We lack a strong advocate in the Indiana Senate. It is great that the economic environment is improving in our state, but we have to make sure that jobs are coming back to this district, and that new jobs are being created right here at home. I believe we do this first by freeing our existing businesses from obstacles like burdensome regulation and taxation. As your state senator, I will personally meet with job creators, find out what individual barriers they are facing and work to overcome those issues. In addition, we must attract new businesses to this area. Our communities are blessed with great beauty, a rich history and wonderful attractions. We need a state Senator who can sell this part of the state to businesses looking to expand or relocate.

Harris Lloyd (Tad) Whitis (click for larger version)
Name: Harris Lloyd (Tad) Whitis

Address: Laconia

Family: Mother, Catherine Jane Whitis; wife, Sally Harbaugh Whitis, clerk, Harrison County; son, Christopher Whitis, a landscape architect who lives in Nashville, Tenn., with wife, Jackie, and children, Liam and Eliza; daughter, Sarah Dougherty, marketing director at Harrison County Hospital who lives in Corydon with husband, Ian, and children, Ella and Hallie.

Education/Occupation/Political experience: Education: 1964 graduate of South Central High School, Elizabeth; 1964-1966, attended Indiana University Southeast, Jeffersonville; 1966-1968, attended Indiana University, Bloomington, graduating with a B.A. degree; 1968-1971, attended University of Kentucky College of Law, graduating with a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree; 1971, admitted to practice law by the Indiana Supreme Court and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana; 2004, Indiana Graduate Program for Judges; 2006 graduate of Indiana Judicial College. Occupation: Attorney (part time) and beef cattle farmer. Political experience: 1972, Republican candidate for State Representative District 69; 1972, delegate to Indiana State Republican Convention; 1974, president Harrison County Young Republicans; 1974, elected Prosecuting Attorney for Harrison-Crawford counties;1978, elected Prosecuting Attorney for Harrison-Crawford counties; 1982, unsuccessful race for Prosecuting Attorney for Harrison-Crawford counties; 1986, unsuccessful race for Harrison Circuit Judge; 1998, elected Judge of the Harrison Circuit Court; 2004, elected Judge of the Harrison Circuit Court; 2010, delegate to Indiana State Republican Convention; 2014, Republican candidate for State Senate District 47

Contact information for voters: E-mail:; phone: 812-737-2448

Why are you seeking the office?: PUBLIC SERVICE is my calling — elected Prosecuting Attorney in 1974 and 1978 and Circuit Judge in 1998 and 2004, these are 20 years of public service. I also served as a director of Harrison County Community Foundation for 10 years. I, along with many others, have been involved in obtaining the land which is now South Harrison Park and the former Elizabeth school which is now South Harrison Community Center and includes the Elizabeth branch of the Harrison County (Public) Library. As an attorney until I became judge, I represented the landowners in the sale of their farm which is now the championship Chariot Run golf course located between South Central school and South Harrison Park. In 2009-2010, Leadership Harrison County named me as Servant Leader.

With the state's unemployment rate below 7 percent — 6.9 percent in December, according to the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development — what can the State Senate do to ensure that the recovery not only continues, but that it accelerates in a way that District 47 residents will feel it in their wallets?: The Indiana State Senate and senator in District 47 need to collaborate with those elected officials, educators and employers, current and prospective, to continue to provide an educated and skilled workforce. Included is the continued cooperation of the Chamber of Commerce to invite and promote the location of employers in the district's counties highlighting the respective counties' resources. My experience in collaboration has included: As president of the Harrison-Crawford Bar Association, initiating the effort to sever the joint circuit leading to the creation of the Crawford Circuit Court and Prosecutor's Office, and retention of the Harrison Circuit Court, Prosecutor's Office, and creation of the Harrison County Court, predecessor to the Harrison Superior Court. Initiating the Harrison Circuit Court truancy program. Initiating the Harrison County Alternative School. Initiating the Court Appointed Special Advocate Program (CASA). Implementation of the Odyssey Case Management System in Harrison County, which allows the public to access court cases which are not confidential.

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Corydon Democrat, 301 N. Capitol Ave., Corydon, IN 47112 1-812-738-2211 email