By Douglas Walker
MUNCIE -- Democrat Sue Errington made it official Tuesday: She'll be a candidate in her party's May 8 primary to represent Indiana House District 34.
"Send me to the Statehouse and I will work every day to serve the citizens of House District 34," said Errington, a retired Planned Parenthood official who previously served on the Delaware County Council and as state senator.
Errington's announcement -- at the Roy C. Buley Community Center -- appears to set the stage for one of the more intriguing local primary races.
Last week, first-time candidate David Walker, an auto worker and UAW official, announced -- at Democratic Headquarters -- that he would be seeking the same seat, with the apparent backing of most of the Democratic Party's central committee.
Errington announced her candidacy to a group of supporters who included several members of the Team Democrat dissident organization, among them Muncie City Council member Linda Gregory and City Court Judge Dianna Bennington.
The Democrat, also a former teacher, said she was inspired as a teenager by President John F. Kennedy, whose efforts "struck a passion for me for public service that's lasted a lifetime."
She said her experience -- in public office, as a teacher and at Planned Parenthood -- "increased my desire and ability" to help others.
The district's greatest needs, she said, are "good jobs and the highest quality of education for our children."
Errington spoke out against Republican-backed legislation that would make Indiana a right-to-work state, banning labor agreements that require workers to belong to unions or pay union dues.
"State government needs to work with the unions, not kill them, weaken them or even talk about shutting them out of the Statehouse," she said, adding that Indiana has attracted more jobs in recent years than several current "right-to-work" states.
Errington said she was both "ready" and "excited" to "do all I can to help this community make the climb to the top," in part by pursuing state support for local economic development efforts.
Errington was unseated from the Indiana Senate District 26 seat in 2010 by Republican Doug Eckerty.
Since then, she said, she has received much encouragement to run for office again.
When District 34's representative since 2005, Democrat Dennis Tyler, was elected Muncie mayor in November, "that looked like an opportunity for me."
Veteran Democratic activist Mike White was elected by precinct officials last month to serve the remainder of Tyler's House term, which runs through Dec. 31. He will not be a candidate in this year's election.
Errington and Walker were not eligible to replace Tyler because they did not live in the District 34 boundaries that existed when he was most recently elected in 2010. They do live within the district's recently redrawn boundaries, however.
Errington announced that former Muncie Community School Board member Carl Kizer Jr., who introduced her at Tuesday's event, would be her campaign manager. Retired Ball State University professor Judith Roepke will be the campaign's treasurer.