MUNCIE — Democrat Sue Errington and Republican Brad Oliver agree, for the most part, on what the major issues are in their race for the Indiana House District 34 seat.“Jobs and education,” said Errington, formerly a state senator and member of Delaware County Council.
“Without question, jobs and growing the economy,” said Oliver, a first-time candidate.
When it comes to social issues, however, there is little common ground.
In an Indiana Right to Life questionnaire, Oliver — associate dean and education unit head at Indiana Wesleyan University and a former Muncie Community Schools administrator — indicated he felt abortion should never be legal, under any circumstances.
Errington is a retired Planned Parenthood official.
She cites her experience — both in community involvement over the past four decades and her earlier stints as a public official — that would allow her to “hit the ground running” in the Indiana House.
“I have served in the Indiana Senate,” she said. “I’ve worked with legislators on both sides of the aisle. ... As a senator, I was in the minority. If I wanted to get something done, which I did, I had to work with Republicans. So I look for issues where we can come together.”
While he hasn’t been a candidate before, Oliver said he didn’t believe “the real of public policy is new to me, per se.”
He spent two years on the Indiana Professional Standards Advisory Board.
“I always had an interest (in politics),” he said. “I made a commitment to be a dad first. I finally decided I have the credentials (and) the timing is right.”
Errington — unseated from her Senate District 26 seat by conservative Republican Doug Eckerty in 2010 — notes that she was that race’s leading vote-getter in the precincts that make up House District 34, which includes most of Center Township.
In May, she defeated two other candidates — including Dave Walker, strongly supported by the local Democratic Party’s central committee — to win her party’s nomination to the House seat.
While she shares a downtown headquarters with other nominees affiliated with the Team Democrat dissident wing of the party, Errington said she’s seen no evidence that mainstream Democratic activists are working for Oliver.The Republican, meanwhile, said support he could receive from “socially conservative Democrats” is the wild card in the District 34 race.
Democrat Dennis Tyler had represented the district for six years when he resigned from his House seat last January to become Muncie mayor. Veteran Democrat Mike White was appointed to serve the remainder of Tyler’s term, but White wasn’t a candidate in this year’s election cycle.
Republicans didn’t field a District 34 candidate in their party’s May primary. Oliver was appointed as nominee by GOP precinct committeemen in June.
Pledges to support economic development in the Muncie area, and to work to improve the state’s education system aren’t all this year’s House 34 nominees have in common.
Both have expressed concerns about a growing lack of civility in politics, and their own race has not been marked by personal attacks or accusations.
During the Delaware County Fair, both Oliver and Errington were upset when a punching bag bearing President Obama’s image was set up outside the GOP tent.
Oliver eventually left the fairgrounds with his supporters, not returning until the punching bag was gone.
“I don’t agree with our president’s views, but he is the president of the United States,” the Republican said. “I felt like I didn’t have any choice. ... I try to do the right things, and that’s what I’ll do at the Statehouse.”
Errington said her pursuit of civility could help stem the bitter partisanship that has disrupted recent House sessions.
“(That is) the way I go about things, in a calm manner... looking for ways to work with other people,” she said.
Hoosiers for Public Education Endorses Sue Errington
Sue Errington, the Democrat candidate for Indiana House of Representatives in District 34, has received the endorsement of Hoosiers for Public Education.
Hoosiers for Public Education is a bipartisan political action committee that supports the election of candidates for Indiana office of any party who support exceptional academic achievement for all students through Indiana’s public schools and oppose privatization of public schools through vouchers, tax credits and other means.
“We selected candidates to endorse based on either their long-time support of public education or for their responses to our questionnaire on public education and privatization issues,” said Joel Hand, co-chair of Hoosiers for Public Education.
“Supporting candidates who stand up for public schools is essential, because if Indiana continues the current rate of school privatization, we won’t have public schools left to defend,” said Craig Hartzer, Hoosiers for Public Education co-chair. “Public schools are an essential piece of our democratic system.”
Hoosiers for Public Education did not make endorsements in every race on the November ballot. The political action committee chose 16 candidates in its first round of endorsements; additional endorsements may follow.
For more information visit www.HoosiersForPublicEducation.org.
Hoosiers for Public Education is a bipartisan political action committee that supports the election of candidates for Indiana office of any party who:
· support adherence to Indiana’s Constitutional provisions to provide public education;
· support exceptional academic achievement for all students through Indiana’s public school programs and public school educators;
· focus public tax dollars on the K-12 education of public school students;
· oppose private school vouchers and tax credits for private education;
· oppose for-profit managers taking a profit from operating public schools; and
· stand against the privatization of public schools through any other means.
All You Can Eat Fish Fry - Sat. October 13th - Sponsored by Friends of Sue Errington & Muncie Fire Fighters Local 1348