Statehouse open seat contested
Voters will have the opportunity to pick their candidate for state representative in Districts 70 and 73 during the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
State representatives are elected to two-year terms and are not subject to term limits. Their salary is currently set at $24,671.
To be a candidate, a person must be a United States citizen at the time of the election, must have resided in the state for at least two years and in the House of Representatives district for at least one year prior to the election, must be at least 21 upon taking office and must be registered to vote in the district he or she seeks to represent not later than the deadline for filing the declaration or petition of candidacy or certificate of nomination.
District 70 encompasses portions of Harrison, Floyd and Clark counties, while District 73 consists of parts of Harrison, Clark, Jackson, Lawrence, Orange and Washington counties.
The District 70 seat is currently held by Rhonda J. Rhoads, who is not seeking re-election. Vying to succeed her are Democrat Heidi Sellers and Republican Karen Engleman.
Republican Steve Davisson is the current representative for District 73. He is being challenged by Democrat Douglas Leatherbury.
Below are the candidates’ responses to a questionnaire from this newspaper. Leatherbury did not participate.
State Representative, District 70
Name and age: Heidi Cade Sellers, 58
Residency: Glendale Acres, Memphis, Ind., Clark County
Family: I am married to Jeff. We have four adult children: Andrew & Alex Jones, Jessica & Paul Sellers.
Education/Occupation/Political experience: I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in elementary education from Indiana University Southeast. I am retired teacher of 34 years, 29 years in West Clark Community Schools and 5 years at St. Mary’s Catholic School in New Albany, Ind. Currently, I am a developmental therapist for First Steps of Indiana. I also am a substitute teacher for West Clark, New Albany-Floyd, North and South Harrison schools. I am a precinct vice chair and member of Floyd, Clark and Harrison County Women Democrats. I was a candidate for State Representative in 2014, but I have never held a public office.
Why are you seeking the office (in 100 words or less)? I am seeking office to bring broadband to the entire district. It is important that we are connected in order to complete job searches, applications and school homework. This is no longer a luxury but a necessity. I also want to improve education and infrastructure. I know the value of a good education and the need for expanded pre-kindergarten to give all Hoosiers a fair start. We also need to improve our roads and bridges to attract businesses. Finally, I want equality of opportunity for all Hoosiers. I will advocate for living wage jobs for everyone, ensuring veterans are supported.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponent (in 100 words or less)? I am passionate about being a public servant and have never held a public office. I am not a career politician. I have been and will continue to listen to issues that concern residents of District 70. I will take my experience of 34 years of working in education with people of all parties and work tirelessly for everyone. I proudly wear purple to show red and blue working together, because that is the best way to make a difference for all Hoosiers.
How would you use state funds to benefit the residents of District 70 (in 150 words or less)? As the Crossroads of America, we need to use state funds to improve infrastructure for better roads and bridges to encourage new businesses and to provide safer infrastructure. This would make way for grant-based programs and encourage businesses to assist in assessing broadband Internet for our district, which is urgently needed in our area to welcome modernized businesses and improve our economy. We must also invest more in early education, as this is the foundation of growth of our children and is the future of our community. We must make sure that the next generation is prepared for job manufacturing and technological advancements and that begins with a good education foundation to ensure they are prepared for the ever-changing workforce.
Contact information for voters: Heidi Cade Sellers, P.O. Box 294, Sellersburg, IN; cell: 502-664-9409; email: [email protected]; Facebook: Heidi Cade Sellers for Indiana State Representative District 70; website: heidicadesellers.com
Name and age: Karen Engleman, 63
Residency: 7595 Engleman Road NE, Georgetown, IN
Family: Husband: Gary Engleman. Children: David Shireman, Jennifer Fischer, Chris Engleman, Jennifer Wernert and Greg Engleman. 12 grandchildren
Education/Occupation/Political experience: Corydon Central High School graduate, IUS, Bellarmine and Jefferson Community College. Currently serving as Harrison County Auditor. Former clerk-treasurer of Crandall and former County Chairman of Harrison County Republican Party.
Why are you seeking the office (in 100 words or less)? As county auditor, I deal with many laws and see areas that need improvement. The taxpayers cannot afford wasteful government spending. I will fight unnecessary spending. We also need fewer unfunded mandates on local government, since those could cause local taxes to increase. I would like the opportunity to take my knowledge and experience to Indianapolis to make a positive impact for the residents of Indiana House District 70. I would appreciate your vote on Nov. 8.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponent (in 100 words or less)? I am honest, hard working and dependable. I believe that I have served the residents of Harrison County well in my job as county auditor. I have earned the support of Indiana Farm Bureau, Indiana Right to Life and the Indiana Manufacturers Association. I support the 2nd Amendment and am a member of the National Rifle Association. I am a resident of Harrison County and will fight to protect our riverboat funding. I will listen to the needs of my constituents and will be open to new ideas to make District 70 a better place to live and work.
How would you use state funds to benefit the residents of District 70 (in 150 words or less)? Education, infrastructure and agriculture must be top priorities. Education must be a priority because our young people are our future. We need to support our schools and increase the availability of affordable college education (or vocational training for those not interested in college). Infrastructure funding must be a priority for maintaining our roads and bridges. These two priorities will help keep our workforce strong in District 70. We need to support our farmers so they can continue to feed the world.
Contact information for voters: Facebook: karenforstaterep; email: [email protected]
State Representative, District 73
Name and age: Steve Davisson, 58
Residency: 104 E. Eastern Hills Blvd., Salem, IN 47167
Family: Married to Michelle, 5 children and 4 grandchildren
Education/Occupation/Political experience: Graduate of Scottsburg Senior High School and Purdue University School of Pharmacy with B.S. in pharmacy; owner and pharmacist of Good Living Pharmacy; served 3 terms as state representative for House District 73
Why are you seeking the office (in 100 words or less)? I have a passion for serving others and believe that representing southern Indiana in Indianapolis is an important job that requires common sense and new ideas to deal with the issues our district faces. The substance abuse epidemic is costing our state millions of dollars and many lives, and I believe that as a pharmacist I can bring a professional perspective in dealing with this issue.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponent (in 100 words or less)? I have spent my entire working life in southern Indiana, raised my family here and served the community as a pharmacist. I have always been accessible and available to help people solve their health care issues. I have experience in the legislature and understand how to get legislation passed. I have built relationships with legislators on both sides of the aisle and advocacy groups to be effective in getting solutions to problems facing our communities and our state. I am always available to listen and willing to help or guide people to the right resources.
How would you use state funds to benefit the residents of District 73 (in 150 words or less)? There are many needs for state funds in our district. I would work to get state funds to use for creating an economic environment that supports business growth and new jobs. I also think that includes funding roads and infrastructure, funding our schools and improving our workforce as well as trying to improve the overall health in our communities. All of these things create better communities and a better quality of life.
Contact information for voters: Email: [email protected]; phone: 812-620-3150 Representative, District 73