Chesterton Tribune



Pamela Fish facing Ed Soliday in Indiana House election

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In the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, Republican incumbent State Rep. Ed Soliday will defend his 4th District seat in the Indiana House against Democrat challenger Pamela Mishler Fish. The Chesterton Tribune invited both to respond to a candidate questionnaire.

Soliday did not return a questionnaire and did not respond to multiple voicemails. Nor did he attend a candidate forum hosted on Oct. 4 by the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce and League of Women Voters. As of this morning the Duneland Chamber of Commerce had not listed Soliday among the candidates who have agreed to participate at its forum on Oct. 26 at the Sand Creek Country Club. Fish, on the other hand, is listed among the participating candidates.

The Tribune set word limits for each question and reserved the right to edit responses for length.

(1) Age, place of residence, occupation.

Soliday: No response.

Fish: 55, Valparaiso, president and CEO of Midwest Environmental Systems Inc.

(2) What are your qualifications for office? (100 words)

Soliday: No response.

Fish: B.S. degree in public and environmental affairs from Indiana University. President/CEO of Midwest Environmental Systems, Inc. for 25 years. Porter County Clerk and a member of the Union Township School Board. Community involvement: Porter County Election Board, Porter County Common Construction Wage Commission, Porter County Domestic Violence Commission, Porter County Records Commission, Indiana County Clerks Legislative Team, Porter County Redevelopment Commission, Porter County Museum Board, Union Township Educational Foundation, Steering Committee for the U.S. Highway 6 Corridor Development, Valparaiso Downtown Parking Committee, Discoveries Unlimited STEM Mentor, Northwest Indiana Youth Jobs Council, and National Association of Environmental Professionals.

(3) Differentiate yourself from your opponent and indicate why you believe yourself to be a better candidate (100 words).

Soliday: No response.

Fish: As a business owner in Northwest Indiana for 25 years, I understand many of the problems facing small businesses. Serving on the Union Township School board, I worked with budgets and contract negotiations. As County Clerk I served on the Indiana Clerk’s Legislative team, worked on legislation, and testified at House and Senate Committee hearings. On the County Redevelopment Commission, we studied bringing dark fiber to our county to attract high tech manufacturing jobs. Success in this position requires a diversified background in many key areas as well as knowing what is important to your constituents.

(4) What are the key issues in this race? (125 words).

Soliday: No response.

Fish: Good-paying jobs are the greatest concern. Although Indiana touts a 4.5-percent unemployment rate, the jobs being created don’t pay enough to survive. Increasing dark fiber for high tech manufacturing and utilizing economic development funds for building SPEC buildings will create good-paying jobs.

Second, public education is important. Indianapolis has shifted the burden of adequately funding public education onto the backs of local school boards via referendums with three of four local school districts passing one. Negative legislation regarding public school teachers is causing a teacher shortage.

Roads and bridges are crumbling and drug abuse is increasing.

Finally, when a local board makes a decision the state does not agree with, the Indiana General Assembly passes a bill to overturn that decision.

(5) What can be done to reduce the financial burden of higher education costs on Indiana students and their families? (100 words)

Soliday: No response.

Fish: There are ways to combat the skyrocketing costs of college. High school students can take many dual credit classes. They average $25 per credit hour versus $300 plus per hour at a campus. Second, you can start at a local two year college. Third, some schools offer tuition waivers for teachers, veterans, Peace Corps workers, or children of civil service workers. Fourth, students can earn a degree in three years instead of four with summer classes. Fifth, staying in state eliminates out of state tuition costs. Finally, a state college is typically less expensive than a private college.

(6) For Soliday: You voted in support of HB 1386, which requires the Indiana Alcohol and Beverage Commission to issue three-way alcohol permits to the DNR without oversight, investigation, or involvement by the local ABC. Explain why excluding citizens at the grassroots level from the regulatory process, in matters of vital local concern, is a good thing and not a bad thing (125 words). No response.

For Fish: Do you support the enactment of HB 1386, which requires the Indiana Alcohol and Beverage Commission to issue three-way alcohol permits to the DNR without oversight, investigation, or involvement by the local ABC? (125 words) The main purpose of HB 1386 was to circumvent the local vote denying Pavilion Partners an alcohol permit for the banquet center they intend to build on publicly owned park land at the Indiana Dunes State Park. When legislation is drafted to specifically overturn a vote from a local board, it denies the true democratic process of voting. It makes people question why they should cast a vote when the powers that be in Indianapolis can change that vote on a whim. Because of the circumstances surrounding this piece of legislation, I do not support it. This legislation completely takes away the power of local boards representing their communities. It is no wonder why voter turnout in Indiana is the lowest in the nation.

(7) A recent effort to launch a charter school in Porter County was withdrawn in the face of widespread opposition. State tax funded vouchers are going to schools of every religion imaginable. Per-pupil funding continues to vary widely from district to district. What are your priorities for K-12 education funding? (125 words)

Soliday: No response.

Fish: There is no corporate business model anywhere that would allow a failing facility to continue to operate and then set up another facility nearby, manufacturing the same product or providing the same service, and pay for both of them to operate. It is fiscally irresponsible. However, that is what we are doing in Indiana regarding K-12 education. Also, we’re doing it on the backs of taxpayers. We must fully fund traditional public schools, the schools that take all students, and put mechanisms in place to fix those failing public schools. According to the Friedman Foundation, the number one reason vouchers are used is to have religious education in school, not to avoid failing public schools.

(8) Without resorting to clichˇ or formula, explain how you strike a balance between the conflicting urgings of professional lobbyists, campaign donors, state bureaucrats, constituents, citizens at large, and your own conscience (100 words).

Soliday: No response.

Fish: The most important element of being a good elected official is to find out what concerns your constituents have. Of course not all people agree on issues. However, representing the majority must be the main objective. Supporting legislation that benefits a select group of individuals and does harm to the masses is not an example of good government. Doing extensive research and speaking with constituents before voting on issues is paramount to successfully representing the people in your district. As Indiana House District 4 Representative, I would do exactly that.




Posted 10/13/2016




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