Candidates want to represent district in Statehouse

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

Kendall
Lindauer

Two candidates are hoping that voters will choose them to represent District 63 in the Indiana House of Representatives.

Democrat Teresa Kendall is challenging Republican incumbent Shane Lindauer for the state representative seat. Early voting started Tuesday and Election Day is set for Nov. 3.

District 63 includes Bainbridge, Boone, Columbia, Hall, Harbison, Madison and Marion townships in Dubois County and parts of Pike, Daviess and Martin counties. State representatives are elected every two years.

To get some insight into each person’s perspective, The Herald sent each candidate a questionnaire with a series of questions related to the representative position. Each candidate received the same questions.

The responses that follow are their answers in their own words.

Teresa Kendall

What qualities do you have (characteristics, education, experience...) that you feel would help you to be an effective representative?

I am an ISU graduate with a BS and MS in education, and a public-school teacher for 32 years. My experience in public schools has allowed me to see how state programs and policies from family and social services to education funding or building new roads, affect people in their everyday lives. I have seen firsthand what happens when a state program or a state law can change lives for the better and when some fall short. The responsibility of a state representative is to make our state government work for the people they represent and to assure that we are on a sound financial footing while using our state revenue wisely. I have taught thousands of students, worked full time while attending college, raised three kids, operated a small farm and managed a business, all valuable experience that would be an asset as the House District 63 state representative.

What two issues do you want to tackle as a representative? And what would you do, as state representative, to make change(s) in those issues?

Two issues I will pursue in the Statehouse are putting a stop to the Mid-States Corridor and fixing the education funding formula.

The Mid-States Corridor is a road that we do not need and at this time and is not a wise investment of tax dollars. Nineteen million dollars per mile, the estimated cost of the road could be used to improve the roads we have, in particular 231 that could be widened and have a passing lane added for a mere fraction of the cost and not force people to sacrifice their homes, businesses, farms and possibly destroy the Glendale Fish and Wildlife area or the Hoosier National Forest. The construction of I-69 is proof that these projects take decades to complete and do not bring the jobs and increased revenue promised. We need improved infrastructure, but it should be beneficial to all local businesses which include farms and small businesses located in the district.

The education funding formula will also be a priority for me as a state representative. Currently District 63 schools lose millions to fund private schools in other counties. In 2019 alone, $1.4 million was sent to Marion, Allen and Lake county private schools while local public-school districts had to raise taxes to cover that shortfall. Eliminating payments to private schools would support our schools without a tax increase. Public schools are one of the most important factors in the economic development of a community, and it is vital that the formula used to fund the operations of our schools is fair and equitable across the state. We need to fix that formula, so schools have the funds they need to operate, and teachers are compensated fairly. We should be investing in our children and communities, and I will make that my top priority.

What is the best indicator of economic health (stock market, unemployment rate, income…)? Based on those indicators, what is your opinion of Indiana’s economic health?

Economic health has symptoms that can give us a picture of what is happening, and I believe that the unemployment rate is one indicator that tell us what is going on. We can also use data from home sales, tax revenue collection and even population growth. There are also economic health warnings such as large income disparity, and loss of small businesses. Currently House District 63 seems to be in better shape than most of the country, but we need to invest in things that bring people to our area to work and live, like health care, better access to broadband internet and affordable middle income housing. Those are the factors that will keep and attract people to live and work in our area and will improve our economy.

Should Indiana offer businesses tax incentives/breaks at this time? Why or why not?

Tax incentives could and should be used, but they must be applied carefully and only for the benefit of the most people, such as a company that will add jobs. These incentives should be used in a way that will allow local businesses to expand and add jobs or keep the jobs that currently exist.

Would you support cutting social services if it meant lower taxes? Or would you support higher taxes if it meant more services? Why?

Many social services are funded by federal programs, but local services such as Tri-Cap, township trustees and charities that would depend on grants or tax funded programs should not be decreased, and there are times when an increase is justified. They are literally a lifeline for many families that are caught in circumstances beyond their control. “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me,” Matthew 25:40.

Why do you want to be a member of the Indiana House of Representatives? Why should I vote for you?

I care deeply for public education, agriculture, the environment and providing support for communities in District 63. I know that as a member of the Legislature, I will be able to be a steward of our tax dollars and a part of making good decisions that benefit the people of the district. As a representative I will be accessible to everyone and listen to what constituents have to say. I will be transparent about political funds, my voting decisions and how money is spent for our district so that people feel there is someone in the Legislature that truly represents them.

Shane Lindauer

What qualities do you have (characteristics, education, experience...) that you feel would help you to be an effective representative?

I believe that first and foremost, our elected officials need to have a servant’s heart. In the end, we work for our constituents, and we need to be available to those we represent whether we agree on an issue or not. The promise I have made to many people since being in this office, and I make again now, is that while I am going to do things you may disagree with, I will always give you an honest hearing and sincerely try to understand your position. Sometimes, we may come to see eye to eye, sometimes not, but those of us in public office must be willing to listen, seek understanding and help when and if we can. This is what it means to me to have a servant’s heart. This is the number one characteristic, which I believe supersedes any education or experience, a public servant needs to possess.

What two issues do you want to tackle as a representative? And what would you do, as state representative, to make change(s) in those issues?

Limiting to just two issues would be difficult. Since being in the legislature, I have had a strong focus on legislation that looks to get government out of our lives. The government is a bureaucracy, and bureaucracies tend to always grow. I have tried to find ways, and plan on doing so again if re-elected, that will responsibly remove barriers from our lives. Government agencies continue to interject themselves into our everyday lives. Even in Indiana, it has become ubiquitous. I hope to find ways to scale back overburdensome regulations.

Certainly, the lives of the unborn are extremely important to me. I have, and will continue to advocate for the pro-life position. Indiana has been one of the states at the forefront of pro-life legislation. I plan to continue to find ways in which we can advance this cause.

Also, I am an advocate for protecting our constitutional rights, especially to speech, religious freedom and our right to keep and bear arms. These will always be issues about which I am particularly passionate.

What is the best indicator of economic health (stock market, unemployment rate, income…)? Based on those indicators, what is your opinion of Indiana’s economic health?

I don’t believe that we can, or should, look at any one indicator to determine economic health. To make effective public policy, we need to look at as many metrics as possible. With that said, I believe that Indiana’s economic health was in great shape prior to COVID. Obviously, COVID changed things drastically. But prior to COVID, Indiana consistently had a unemployment rate below the national average, one of the best states for entrepreneurs and overall business climate, and a low cost of living. Unlike some of our neighbors, Indiana’s pension fund was in good shape. We had a balanced budget with a robust “rainy day fund.” Now, after COVID, there are new challenges, but I am certainly glad that the Indiana General Assembly has practiced fiscally conservative policies the past decade or so. This fact will certainly allow for a smoother recovery.

Should Indiana offer businesses tax incentives/breaks at this time? Why or why not?

Tax incentives are tools that allow businesses, or people, to keep more of the money that they earn or create. Some believe that by allowing tax breaks, we are somehow taking government money. In reality, tax money is our money ceded to government. With that said, the question would come down to what type of incentive? They are not all equal. Also, are the incentives fairly applied and available to all businesses provided that they meet the performance metrics? These are all questions that would need to be answered.

Would you support cutting social services if it meant lower taxes? Or would you support higher taxes if it meant more services? Why?

As state representative, other than those social services prescribed in the Indiana Constitution, I believe that social services, when provided, should be done at the local level (i.e. city, county, township). Likewise, taxes for those services should be handled by local units as well. As for the raising or lowering of taxes for state level services, I don’t believe we are in a position to know yet how Indiana’s financial situation will shake out. However, because of past fiscal responsibility, we are hopeful that we don’t need to either cut services or raise taxes.

Why do you want to be a member of the Indiana House of Representatives? Why should I vote for you?

My desire to be a state representative stems from my belief that we should be good stewards of that which God has blessed us. Namely, a system of government that is of, by and for the people. In reality, we the people are the government. I am just a representative. It is important that we elect people who understand this fact. It has been a true honor to have been in this position the past three years. I would be honored to have your vote and continue that representation.




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