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Young, Thomas seek Indiana District 47 Senate seat

A Harrison Countian and Crawford Countian are seeking election to the Indiana State Senate in the District 47 race.
Newcomer Brian Thomas, a Republican, is trying to unseat incumbent Democrat Richard D. Young Jr. on Nov. 7.
Senate District 47 includes Harrison, Crawford, Spencer and Perry counties and portions of Dubois, Warrick and Washington counties.
The Senate consists of 50 members elected to four-year terms. Senators are responsible for representing the people of their district in the Indiana State Legislature. Part of this responsibility is writing and voting on proposed new legislation.
Thomas is secretary of the Harrison County Republican Central Committee.
Thomas said he wants to serve in the Indiana Senator because he wants to get Harrison County back in the picture.
‘Of the six counties in the district, Harrison County is growing the fastest,’ Thomas said, ‘but we have no one (from Harrison County) representing us in the senate.’
Thomas ran for Harrison County Councilman in 2004 but switched to the Indiana State Representative race before the election in November that year. Thomas lost to Paul Robertson, D-Depauw.
Thomas is currently employed by Black Diamond as a pest controller and is the publisher of The Capitol News. He has also worked as a district manager for Waffle House and owned his own hydroponics greenhouse.
Thomas said it is also important for District 47 to have a Republican in the Senate because the Indiana Senate is currently controlled by Republicans, as is the House and executive branch.
‘They can send back the same Democratic seat,’ he said, ‘but he’s powerless.’
Thomas said one of his most important goals if elected would be to protect riverboat money. As a Republican, Thomas said he could do a better job at stopping the Indiana Legislature from taking the money by stopping legislation in the Republican caucus.
‘It’s a benefit to Harrison County to be a Republican now,’ Thomas said.
Improving education and agriculture were two other important issues to Thomas.
‘The big issue is going to be on kindergarten,’ Thomas said.
He also said someone with an agricultural background would be the most helpful for this county.
Thomas said he believes in a balanced and fair government but also believes that government cannot do better in every industry.
He supports Gov. Mitch Daniel’s decision to sell Indiana’s toll road because they were not making money.
‘On that issue, it was a very smart move on his part,’ Thomas said. ‘It was a very positive thing.’
Young, 63, Milltown, is no stranger in the Senate. He got his start in the Senate when he was appointed to fulfill the unexpired term of the late Democratic Sen. Frank O’Bannon.
Young has been reelected four times, in 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002.
He has also served as the Indiana Senate Minority Leader since 1996.
‘It has been a great honor to serve District 47,’ Young said, ‘and I greatly enjoy the challenges of being their representative.’
Young, who started in politics as auditor of Crawford County, said public service is a high calling.
‘I get a lot of satisfaction about making Indiana the best that I can,’ Young said.
Young said he believes education and healthcare are two of the most crucial issues facing Senators in the next term.
‘We need to have educated people out there if we are going to survive,’ he said.
Young said one of the most challenging aspects of education is not only finding ways to educate children but also keeping them in the state once they have finished their education. He said he will continue to push for all- day kindergarten.
Young said he will also work to improve healthcare.
‘Healthcare is a really big problem,’ Young said.
He said there are currently 840,000 Hoosiers without health insurance. Young said he would look at opportunities for small businesses to participate in state plans. He said Democrats in the Legislature have put forth several plans to create a state sponsored health plan and will continue to do so until the state has affordable health care.
‘It’s something we have to find an answer to,’ Young said.
Young said protecting Harrison County’s riverboat money is also on his mind.
‘I have always been a champion of protecting the funds,’ Young said. ‘The best way we can protect it is to keep Paul (Robertson) in the house.’
Young said he was opposed to Daniel’s selling Indiana’s toll road to an overseas buyer and other privatization moves, like privatizing the food in Indiana’s prisons.
‘I just think it’s not a proper way to run a government,’ Young said.
He also said he did not agree with bringing foreign companies into the state so those companies can make profits.
‘I think making a profit off the citizens of Indiana is not the thing to do,’ Young said.
Young said during his 18 years as senator he has also worked to protect the rights of domestic violence victims, to bring in and retain jobs in Indiana, and has tried to reduce property taxes.
Prior to joining the Senate, Young served as the president and board chairman of E&S Distributors Inc. In addition, he is the owner of Blue River Valley Farm in Milltown.
Young graduated from St. Xavier High School in 1961 in Louisville and holds an associate’s degree in behavioral science from Vincennes University.
Young and his wife, Ashira, have been married for a year and between them have seven children and seven grandchildren. (He and his late wife of 41 years, Elaine, have five children and seven grandchildren.)
Young can be reached at 633-4946.
Thomas graduated from North Harrison High School in 1986 and holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Purdue. Thomas also spent four years (1986-1990) in the U. S. Air Force, and in his last two years of service, was in a Military Honors unit.
Aside from holding office in the local Republican party, Thomas is a member of the Farm Bureau and American Legion.
He and his wife, Delaine, have three daughters, Hannah, 11, Hope, 8 and Rebekah, 4, all good reasons to seek public office, he said.
‘My children live here; I was married here,’ Thomas said, ‘and just because I’m a Republican doesn’t mean I’m not going to do positive things for Harrison County.’
Thomas can be reached at 734-0348.