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Robertson ‘proud to run on record’ against Thomas

Robertson ‘proud to run on record’ against Thomas
Robertson ‘proud to run on record’ against Thomas
Paul Robertson

State Rep. Paul Robertson, D-Depauw, is seeking his 13th straight two-year term in the Indiana House of Representatives. His opponent is Brian Thomas of Corydon, a Republican who’s running for public office for the first time. He works for Dave’s Pest Control in Corydon.
Robertson, 58, recently retired after a 31-year career teaching history and government at Corydon Central High School. Robertson said he is ‘conservative to moderate’ in his political philosophy. He said he always tries to do what’s best in the Indiana General Assembly for the state and his district, and ‘to work within the budget without being a burden to the taxpayer.’
Over the years, he has been a strong advocate for education and held leadership positions in the House. He now serves on the ethics, agriculture, natural resources and election committees.
Robertson said he’s proud to run on his record with the Democrats in the General Assembly who have moved the state forward in many areas while battling a nagging national recession the last few years. He said the late Gov. Frank O’Bannon and Gov. Joe Kernan’s ‘Energize Indiana’ program ‘enabled the state to get ready for the worldwide economy when it started to improve, and it is improving.’ Getting Indiana primed despite great financial difficulties was a bipartisan effort between the majority Democrats in the House and Republican majority in the Senate, Robertson said.
The historic property tax restructuring and economic development efforts by the state have created a favorable business atmosphere that’s attractive to out-of-state people and businesses, he said.
Robertson says that while the Republicans have been concentrating on issues like same sex marriage and home schooling, Democrats are concerned about the high price of prescription drugs that force the elderly and others with financial constraints to purchase prescription medicine in Canada. Another problem is the proliferation of meth labs in Southern Indiana. He said the Democrats are ‘ahead of the curve’ on stopping the outsourcing of jobs outside the country and advocating background checks on people who work with children. Robertson said he is proud that he has been able to secure funding for the Gerdon Youth Center in Corydon.
Robertson and his wife, Jill, have been married for 32 years. They have four grown children: Jennifer, 31; Chad, 27; Heather, 24, and Jessica, 20.
Brian Thomas was concerned that the Democrats were ‘holding up’ the marriage amendment to the Indiana Constitution in the Indiana House, where Democrats hold a narrow two-vote 51-49 majority, and Thomas was frustrated. If he ran for the House and won, he said, perhaps he could help change things, change which bills are heard in committee, and at least put the key decision-making process into the hands of the lieutenant governor on tie votes.
Thomas said he believes the Democratic Party is getting more liberal, and the conservative Christian viewpoint is not being heard. He feels Hoosiers need and want an option.
He also feels that Robertson, a state representative for many years, was once in a leadership position but now is going wherever the party goes. ‘We need leadership, not loyalty to the party,’ Thomas said.
Thomas, 37, has a strong background in agriculture, which, he says, will help him represent the farmers and the growing agri-tourism business of the 70th District. There’s a big push in the state to create a Secretary of Agriculture in Indiana, and he supports that.
‘A lot of companies make a lot of money in food and agriculture, but we don’t have anyone who has the background and understanding of agricultural issues to represent us and solve the problems.’
He sees education as another major issue. His wife, Delaine, is a teacher who has taught bilingual classes in Florida, dyslexic students in Louisville, and started a pre-school program at Unity Chapel United Methodist Church near Ramsey.
They have three girls: Hannah, 9, Hope, 6, and Rebekah, 2.
After graduating from North Harrison High School in 1986, Thomas joined the U.S. Air Force and did quartermaster work before becoming a member of an Honor Guard unit in Arizona. He was sergeant-at-arms at military funerals for veterans for two years. He said he felt a special privilege to do those assignments.
Thomas went to Purdue and earned degrees in agriculture and agribusiness. He worked at a greenhouse at the Epcot Center at Disney World in Florida for a year and then came home to start a hydroponics greenhouse business in Depauw. For three years, he sold vegetables and herbs to local and Louisville restaurants.