INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Candidates for the Indiana House of Representatives District 83 race are speaking out about the issues facing Hoosiers in 2011 and what they plan to do about it.
Our partner in news, The Journal Gazette, spoke with both candidates seeking to take the place of Rep. Matt Bell, R-Avilla, who is not pursuing re-election this time around.
The Gazette said Republican Kathleen Heuer, 62, is a real estate broker with a bachelor’s degree in education. Heuer is married with seven children and is chairwoman of the board of directors of the Whitley County Economic Development Corp.
Democrat Wray McCalester, 62, quit college when he married and adopted a child. After working at GM for 30 years where he was also a union bargaining chairman, he is now retired but continues to pastor at a United Methodist church in Wolf Lake, according to the Gazette.
Heuer said she is against a tax increase and instead supports spending cuts when it comes to drafting a new state budget.
“I think we get our little red pencils out and start, line by line, looking at the budget,” she said.
McCalester wants to raise the tax base, using state tax dollars to put more Hoosiers to work rather than give work to out-of-state companies.
In the Gazette, McCalester said his first bill would require state government to make hired companies build headquarters here and hire Hoosier workers each time the state privatizes a function.
In regards to budget cuts, McCalester believes schools still spend too much on administration and need to trim from the top. Schools in Indiana currently take up a majority of the state budget.
“Obviously I don’t want to raise any taxes, because any taxes I raise, I have to pay too, and I’m on a fixed income,” McCalester said.
The Gazette said Heuer is most concerned with promoting job creation and thinks job growth could be encouraged by offering tax credits to businesses willing to take over old buildings that are sitting vacant in some of the state’s most hard-hit communities.
Heuer also said local government should make sure other sites are prepped with fiber optics and environmental studies to attract jobs, according to the Gazette.
“It’s not my voice you’re going to be hearing in Indianapolis,” Heuer said. “It’s going to be the voices of the voters in House District 83.”
McCalester said he would work against efforts to reduce unemployment compensation, saying that local lawmakers voted for benefit cuts last year even though those cuts did not make it into law.
“Before anybody wants to make a decision to cut benefits, they ought to try to live on the unemployment that’s available,” he said.
District 83 covers parts of Allen, Noble and Whitley counties. The winner gets a two-year term in the Indiana House earning $22,600 annually plus a per diem.
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