2020 general election candidates

In an effort to make sure our readers are informed this election season, the Recorder is sending questionnaires to candidates so voters know where they stand on important issues.

We start this week with the Indiana House of Representatives. Next week we will publish answers from candidates for other elected offices.

Not all candidates had contact information, and some candidates did not respond. An asterisk (*) denotes the incumbent.

District 86

Edward O. DeLaney* (D) — Did not respond

Paul J. Tinkle (R) — Did not respond

District 87

Carey Hamilton* (D)

1. What platform are you running on?

During my four years in the legislature my focus has been — and if reelected, will continue to be — providing the opportunity for all Hoosiers to succeed. This means lifting up working families with livable wages, as well as providing affordable health care, child care and high-quality public education, including pre-K education, in every community. With a background in environmental policy, I also bring a focus on environmental justice. I will continue to support voting rights for all Hoosiers and as a pro-consumer legislator, I will continue to oppose special interests in support of policies that help Hoosiers thrive.  

2. What is an important policy related to social justice you would like to enact?

One of many social justice policies I support is decriminalizing marijuana. This policy is proven to significantly reduce the number of nonviolent offenders in the criminal justice system for a violation that is disproportionally enforced against people of color. In addition, there is significant scientific evidence that marijuana use is beneficial for countless medical uses. Decriminalizing marijuana is one step the state of Indiana can take to build a more equitable criminal justice system. 

3. How can we decrease the spread of COVID-19 while helping businesses stay afloat?

We have to both ensure that Hoosiers stay safe and that families and small businesses can get through and then rebound from the pandemic. Some of the most urgent economic needs are rent relief, food assistance and small business funding, including restaurants and minority-owned businesses, that have been underserved by CARES Act funds. To protect public health, we need to maintain mask requirements, social distancing and limits on the size of gatherings. 

4. What else should voters know about you?

As an effective coalition builder, I embrace the challenges of rebuilding public education and creating a more inclusive and sustainable economy where every Hoosier from every zip code has a chance to thrive. Visit hamiltonforindiana.com to learn more about me and my priorities.

Ryan C. Royer (R)

1. What platform are you running on?

I am running on a centrist Republican platform that is socially forward and includes common sense policy that would improve life for all Hoosiers. We need to continue to keep taxes low, ensure personal and civil liberties are not stripped away, drive new business to Indiana, become creative in tackling infrastructure improvements, institute meaningful criminal justice reform, and make sure that we are educating young Hoosiers for the economy of tomorrow.

2. What is an important policy related to social justice you would like to enact?

Social justice is something that I have wanted to act on well before the protests in the spring. The policies that I would like to enact would come from criminal justice reform. We need to revamp laws that tend to target or affect minorities the most. I would also like to see punishments for nonviolent offenders be reduced to community service and do away with any jail time.

3. How can we decrease the spread of COVID-19 while helping businesses stay afloat?

We can continue to fight the spread of COVID-19 through protecting the most at-risk individuals and allowing others to go back about their lives. This includes social distancing and respecting others that would like to have masks worn in their presence. Allowing individuals to decide what businesses they would like to visit and owning that risk is going to allow small business owners to get their businesses fully reopened.

4. What else should voters know about you? 

I would like the voters of the 87th House District to know that they can count on me to represent them and advocate for Hoosiers of all backgrounds. You will not regret voting for me, and I will not fail you. It is time for new leadership in the 87th.

District 88

Pam Dechert (D)

1. What platform are you running on?

I’m running to make Indiana a more inclusive, fair and quality place to live. I’m running to ensure no matter what zip code you live in, your child can go to a good school that prepares them for after graduation. I’m running to make sure that every Hoosier has access to great quality health care and that we limit prescription drug costs so no one must choose between feeding their family and going to the doctor. I intend to use my business background to ensure that the economy works for everyone, not just the wealthy. 

2. What is an important policy related to social justice you would like to enact?

Indiana is ranked one of the lowest in the nation for both infant and mother mortality rates. This dramatically affects Black and Latinx women more than anyone else. As a proud mom, I hope to enact policy that prevents deaths of mothers and babies by making sure health care is easier to access, and that doctors are held accountable for not taking the health concerns of people of color more seriously.

3. How can we decrease the spread of COVID-19 while helping businesses stay afloat?

My husband works in an industry that’s been devastated by COVID-19, so I understand the need to uplift struggling businesses. The assembly must lay out stronger, more specific protocols for businesses and events to follow while their businesses are open. But bottom line, if we want small businesses to last through the pandemic, we must be prepared to send out another round of financial support to businesses and Hoosiers who are struggling to survive.

4. What else should voters know about you?

This seat has been held by the same career politician for 35 years, yet he left the position early so that my opponent could be appointed without a fair election. I’m not here for backdoor deals with my party. I’m here to make Indiana work for everyone.

Chris Jeter* (R) — Did not respond

District 89

Mitch Gore (D)

1. What platform are you running on?

I’ll draw upon my real-world experience in small business and community development to drive investment in our infrastructure and economy, get my neighbors into affordable homes, get businesses into empty storefronts and bring good paying jobs back to our community. I’ll use my public safety expertise to make our broken criminal justice system fairer and more effective, address racial disparities and tackle the underlying causes of crime. Finally, I’ll work hard to make health care more accessible and more affordable and I’ll take on the big drug companies that gouge us while they profit off the opioid epidemic.

2. What is an important policy related to social justice you would like to enact?

We can’t begin to effectively address the disparities in our criminal justice system until we have good, robust data on the operations of our police agencies. I want to provide funding for these agencies to better collect data surrounding arrests, charges, jail stays, stops, sentencing and even internal HR metrics. We could house this data at a state level, make it totally transparent and then enact concrete policies that fix the problems we see.

3. How can we decrease the spread of COVID-19 while helping businesses stay afloat?

My family has had a restaurant on the east side for three decades, but I recognize that we can’t get our economy back up and running until we control the pandemic. While it’s been a struggle for many businesses, the phased reopening was necessary. What we needed was a comprehensive response from the state and federal governments to get through the more restrictive phases. If more people at the Statehouse understood the challenges of having a small business, maybe we would’ve been better served.

4. What else should voters know about you?

I grew up here, went to public school here and operated a small business here. If I get the honor to serve my neighbors, I’ll work for them, not for special interests. Visit www.MitchGore.com to learn more about what it means to have a neighbor in the Statehouse!

Cindy Kirchhofer* (R) — Did not respond

District 90

Jordan Nienaber (D) — Did not respond

Mike Speedy* (R) — Did not respond 

District 91

Beverly McDermott-Piazza (D) — Did not respond

Crystal A. Henry (L)

1. What platform are you running on?

I am running for state representative District 91 as a Libertarian. I support limited government, lower taxes and more personal liberty and freedom. Nothing should stand between citizens and their constitutional rights.

2. What is an important policy related to social justice you would like to enact?

I support the reform of cannabis laws. Cannabis prohibition is rooted in racism and even still today, people of color are arrested and harassed at a significantly higher rate than Caucasians, although rates of usage do not differ according to race. The scent of cannabis has been used as a reason for illegal searches and seizures against our Fourth Amendment rights.

3. How can we decrease the spread of COVID-19 while helping businesses stay afloat?

I believe the general public and businesses should be fully informed with all COVID-19 information, with as much accuracy and transparency as possible so they can make decisions best suited for themselves and their business. I believe we can combat COVID-19 with common sense, common courtesy and basic hygiene and still allow businesses to remain in operation at their discretion.  

4. What else should voters know about you?

I am a mother, wife, volunteer, advocate and activist. If elected, I will continue with due diligence to serve the public.

Robert W. Behning* (R) — Did not respond

District 92

Renee Pack (D) — Did not respond

District 93

Angela Elliott (D)

1. What platform are you running on?

My platform includes the 4 E’s: education, employment, the environment, and equality for all. We must change the fact that Indiana lags behind in all four of these areas. Excellent public education creates a solid foundation for children to be successful, contributing adults. Hoosiers need safe, well-paying jobs to support their families with stability and security. Indiana needs prudent policies and legislation to protect our air, water and soil to keep Hoosiers healthy. We must be a welcoming state to attract new business and new jobs and show that we value diversity and inclusion as strengths.

2. What is an important policy related to social justice you would like to enact?

I would like to support enacting the proposals put forward by the current Indiana Black Legislative Caucus to Gov. Holcomb this summer. They have done the work to identify immediate actions that can be taken and longer-term efforts to improve racial justice in Indiana. That proposal includes immediate actions to ban the use of chokeholds, racial profiling and no-knock warrants by police, and longer-term strategic improvements in police training and police-community partnerships.

3. How can we decrease the spread of COVID-19 while helping businesses stay afloat?

As individual citizens, we must continue to follow the current guidelines of wearing masks, physical distancing and good hygiene practices. Our state government should take advantage of all federal programs that help Hoosier businesses by matching funds when that is required to participate and helping Hoosiers navigate the complexities of participating in those programs. State agencies can also assist by taking a lead role in sharing best practices across businesses.

4. What else should voters know about you?

I am an experienced business professional, wife, mom and lifelong Hoosier. I worked at Eli Lilly and Company for over 20 years as a project manager, solving business problems with technology. I will be a pragmatic problem-solver representing District 93 at the Statehouse, with business sense and common sense.

John Jacob (R) — Did not respond

District 94

Cherrish S. Pryor* (D)

1. What platform are you running on?

My motto is “Fighting for What Matters to You.” Based on that motto I focus on fighting for more and good paying jobs, for better schools to educate our kids, for families to have health care and housing and for good and safe neighborhoods.

2. What is an important policy related to social justice you would like to enact?

I have several social justice bills I will be introducing this session. One is to end racial profiling by police and the other is for police to issue summons to appear in court rather than arresting a person for certain misdemeanor offenses. 

3. How can we decrease the spread of COVID-19 while helping businesses stay afloat?

I have been constantly asking people to wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and get tested. In my role as a legislator I think it is important to promote those things while also purchasing from businesses to help them stay afloat. 

4. What else should voters know about you?

I have worked hard for this district since being elected in 2008. It has been an honor to serve my district and fight to make life better for them and all Hoosiers. I ask for their vote on Nov. 3, 2020, so I can keep fighting to make their lives better.

Felipe Jesus Rios (R) — Could not find contact information

District 95

John L. Bartlett* (D) — Did not respond 

District 96

Gregory W Porter* (D) — Could not find contact information

District 97

Justin Moed* (D)

1. What platform are you running on?

I’m running to put you and our neighborhoods first. I believe we need to do more to empower our neighborhood and community leaders to create strong, healthy and safe neighborhoods. Investing in local schools, cleaning up blight and abandoned homes, access to affordable health care, upgrading our neighborhood infrastructure and keeping families and kids safe are the foundation of a good neighborhood plan.

2. What is an important policy related to social justice you would like to enact?

Improving access to affordable and meaningful mental health and drug addiction services. We need to ensure everyone can get the help they need so we aren’t left with prison or homelessness as the only end result for people facing addiction and mental health challenges.

3. How can we decrease the spread of COVID-19 while helping businesses stay afloat?

We need to be offering more grants and small business loans to our small businesses in the service and hospitality industry. From barbers and salons to restaurants and daycares we need to be supporting these businesses as they try to operate safely under COVID-19.

4. What else should voters know about you?

I run and operate an urban farm raising produce for local restaurants and food pantries and believe we need to do more to address access to healthy food in our neighborhoods.

Mark A Renholzberger (L) — Did not respond

John P. Schmitz (R) — Did not respond

District 98

Robin Shackleford* (D) — Did not respond

District 99

Vanessa J. Summers* (D) — Could not find contact information

District 100

Blake Johnson (D) — Did not respond

Wayne (Gunny) Harmon (R) — Did not respond

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