Educators vie for House seat
The two candidates vying for the District 70 State Representative seat ‘ incumbent Democrat Paul Robertson and Republican Rhonda Rhoads ‘ may be from different political parties but they do have some similarities.
Both are longtime former educators in Harrison County. Rhoads, of Corydon, taught for 29 years in the North Harrison Community School Corp., while Robertson, of Depauw, taught history and government for 36 years, spending 31 of those years at Corydon Central High School.
Both candidates earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana State University in Terre Haute. Robertson also earned a master’s degree from ISU, while Rhoads completed her master’s education at Indiana University in Bloomington.
In the May primary, Robertson, who has served as the District 70 state representative since 1978, was unopposed. Rhoads defeated Brett Lloyd with 63 percent of the vote to win the party’s nomination to be on the Nov. 2 General Election.
Here are the profiles for Robertson and Rhoads, with answers to the questions as submitted by the candidates:
Name: Paul J. Robertson
Family: wife, Jill Moss Robertson; children, Chad, Jennifer, Heather, Jessica; grandchildren, Faith, Eli
Education/Occupation/Political Experience: Bachelor’s degree from Indiana State University in history (1968); master’s degree from Indiana State in history and government (1971); history and government high school teacher for 36 years, 31 years at Corydon Central High School; coached basketball, track, cross country; state representative since 1978; chair of Education Committee in the House, currently Majority Whip.
Contact information for voters: Home phone, 347-2015; office phone, 1-800-382 9842
Why are you seeking the office? After the election of 2004, Indianapolis bureaucrats tried to steal away our riverboat money to redistribute statewide. I fought hard against their efforts and successfully stopped their $19 million money grab attempt. I will not support any tax increases; therefore, government must be efficient, and our tax dollars must be used wisely. I oppose placing tolls on any Ohio River bridges, which would add a new tax for our hard-working Hoosiers. I have a proven record of working with both parties for a more responsive, efficient government, and I seek re-election to continue helping to make state government work better.
What can be done to ensure the state does not have to make additional severe cuts to education and other areas? This time of economic crisis will go down in history as ‘the great recession,’ so, obviously, we will be working under extremely tight fiscal restraints in 2011. In order to protect education, our future, we must establish the education budget first and support only programs that are improving student learning. Then, we should scrutinize the budget line by line; everyone must be willing to tighten their belts. All members of the Indiana General Assembly must work together in a bipartisan manner to find the solutions that will rebuild Indiana’s economy, such as reducing the size of our state government in a reasonable and responsible manner. We must introduce targeted incentives for small businesses focused on job creation. We need to approach our financial hardships with innovative solutions that ensure sustained growth for all our citizens.
Name: Rhonda J. Rhoads
Family: I am married to Les Rhoads, who is a salesman for Orgil Inc. My son, Derrick Delaney, is married to Kelley Kemp, and they have one son, Logan, and are expecting a baby girl in January. I have two stepdaughters, Wendy Delaney and Danette Rhoads.
Education/Occupation/Political Experience: I have an Associate of Arts degree from Freed-Hardeman University, a Christian university in Tennessee. I also have a Bachelor of Science from Indiana State University and a Masters of Science in education from Indiana University. I am retired from the North Harrison Community School Corp., where I taught for 29 years. During my years as a teacher, I was instrumental in starting a soccer program at North Harrison High School in 1999 and coached the first team. I also taught for three years at the Indianapolis Christian School. I am the co-author of a website, www.watchfuleyeofhc.com, which was developed for transparency in Harrison County government. I was honored to serve on the Harrison County Council for eight years.
Contact information for voters: www.rhondarhoads.com
Why are you seeking the office? Our current state representative for House District 70 has served for 32 years, and I believe that it is time for a new conservative voice in Indianapolis to represent this district. The small business owners of Southern Indiana need a representative that will look out for their interests. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy because they create jobs and put people to work right here in District 70. I know that teachers want to truly educate their students, and they need financial support in their classroom. We need to find ways to keep our best and brightest teachers. If elected as your representative, there will be no need for a lobbyist group to watch out for this county’s riverboat money. I will be in Indianapolis to do just that, thus saving the taxpayers $48,000 a year. I will work diligently to protect the money that is so pivotal to Harrison and the surrounding counties. I am a gun owner and will always fight to protect our Second Amendment rights. Last but certainly not least, I want to protect the unborn, because we must respect the sanctity of life and the most vulnerable people in society.
What can be done to ensure the state does not have to make additional severe cuts to education and other areas? The solution is to make Indiana a friendly place for businesses to locate and grow. Being fiscally responsible will make Indiana attractive to potential outside businesses. The more businesses we have in Indiana, the more money comes into our coffers to pay for the services the state offers to its citizens. I will work to reduce the regulations and taxes placed upon small businesses. Less regulation and taxes will produce more jobs. School boards need to be mindful of the amount of tax dollars they receive and not look to the teachers as the first place to cut. Conservation of resources, group purchasing and time management should be the first means to budgeting our schools.