In the general
election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, incumbent State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso,
will face a challenge from Democrat Frank Szczepanski. The Chesterton
Tribune invited both to respond to candidate questionnaires.
set word limits for each question and reserved the right to edit for length.
(1) For Soliday:
Age, place of residence, occupation, term in office. 73; Valparaiso;
aviation consultant; sixth term.
Age, place of residence, occupation: 67; Center Township; CEO,
IVDiagnostics Inc., an Indiana biotech company creating pain-free diagnosis
and monitoring of cancer cells, especially breast-cancer cells.
(2) For Soliday:
Why are you seeking re-election to the 4th District seat in the Indiana
House? (75 words) Desire to continue legislative leadership role in
providing fiscal responsibility, government accountability, and in
rebuilding Indiana’s transportation and utilities infrastructure.
Why are you seeking election to the 4th District seat in the Indiana House?
(75 words) We have a political problem in this country and we all know
what it is. In every election, we’re stuck having to choose the candidate
who is the lesser of two evils. People want their representative to be a
good person, someone who actually cares about them. I’ve been that person my
whole life: I was raised that way, and I will bring servant leadership to
the Statehouse for the people in my district.
(3) For Soliday:
Describe your achievements in the House (100 words). Author of Little
Calumet River flooding mitigation bill; the complete rewrite of the Bureau
of Motor Vehicles statutory code; and Indiana’s landmark road and bridges
infrastructure funding legislation. Leader/author in much of the South Shore
expansion enabling legislation. Named Outstanding Government Leader of the
Year by the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce, 2017. Only legislator twice
named Legislator of the Year by the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns.
Twice named Legislator of the Year by the Indiana Farm Bureau. Recipient of
the ACEC, Gus Grissom trophy, and the prestigious Friend of Farmers Award
(only awarded twice in history).
Describe your qualifications for the seat (100 words). I’m not a career
politician. I’m a CEO, entrepreneur, and recognized innovator: CEO
IVDiagnostics, 10 years; executive in nine STEM startups; 15 years’ finance
experience with over $2 billion budgets; SBDC Region 5, Revolutionary Tech
Company 2011; NWI Society of Innovators, Chanute Award; Elevate Ventures,
founding Stakeholder Committee; US Congressional Record of Distinction;
Purdue NW School of Science and CMEC Advisory Board.
BSA, LaSalle Council; Eagle Scout, Troop 7; Habitat For Humanity; East
Chicago Water Drive Valpo, founder; Rotary Club, Valparaiso; Special
Olympics; Rebuilding Together Valpo; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Pastoral
Council; Valpo Diversity Network Association; American Legion Post 369
yourself from your opponent and indicate in particular why you believe
yourself to be a better candidate (125 words).
Soliday: I have
business experience as a Fortune 500 corporate division head; served
the public on multiple not-for-profit boards of directors; served on
multiple industry/government technical problem-solving committees, including
co-chairing the Commercial Aviation Safety team which received the Collier
Trophy for reducing commercial aviation fatalities by 83 percent in 10
years. I have 30 plus years of experience with government and industry
solving complex problems. I have 17 years of experience in higher education
as an adjunct professor and university board of regents member. My
opponent’s documented experience in finding commonsense solutions to
public/private sector problems without excessive regulation is limited at
It’s time to think outside the box and get things done for all Hoosiers. It
doesn’t take lots of money or six terms in office--it just takes political
courage to fight for working families. Our greatest strength comes from our
ability to work together to make a difference. For Indiana to be a place of
freedom for all, we can’t let the greedy few and the politicians they
purchase divide us based on where we are from, how much money we have, or
what we look like. It’s time to stand up for each other and come together to
pick leaders who reflect the very best in all of us. Together, we can make
this a place where freedom is for everyone, no exceptions.
(5) What are they
key issues in this race? (150 words)
issues in this race are: first, fiscal responsibility through a balanced
budget that does not leave a legacy of debt to our children and
grandchildren; second, creating educational opportunities so that our
educational system meets the demands of a modern competitive workforce;
third, continuing the efforts to restore and modernize our deteriorating
No. 1 focus is to work across party lines to develop:
create 21st Century technology jobs and skills training; raise wages to keep
up with the cost of living; ensure equal pay for equal work.
healthcare: eliminate expensive premiums, high co-pays, and deductibles;
reduce unnecessary administrative and pharmaceutical costs; author an
Indiana Medicare For All plan.
invest in properly funded public education and stop forcing property-tax
increases just to fund local public schools; improve funding for special
education, ESL, and wrap-around services; establish competitive teacher
salaries to keep the best teachers in the classroom.
develop affordable, reliable access to the Internet; invest in cybersecurity
at the state, county, and local level to close the gap on our
vulnerabilities; invest in sustainable, renewable energy, agriculture, and
(6) The Indiana
Department of Transportation has retained an engineering consultant to
development a plan to introduce tolls on a number of currently non-tolled
interstates, including I-94 between Illinois and Michigan; and I-65 from
I-90 south to I-465. Would you support such a plan? Why or why not? (75
Indiana’s roads and bridges are built and maintained through fuel taxes and
tolls, not general revenue taxes. As vehicles get better gas mileage, road
funding decreases. Since a large portion of the traffic on Indiana’s
interstates is from out of state, it is reasonable to consider tolling as a
fair funding option. The governor already has the authority to toll without
approval of the legislature.
Tax and spend elsewhere: that’s what this plan really is. Hardworking NWI
families can’t afford to be the workhorse for pet political projects
downstate. This toll proposal amounts to nothing more than another way to
siphon money out of the region and into Indianapolis. The $20 billion tax
increase my opponent authored last year should be used to repair potholes
and aging infrastructure. We don’t need new taxes every two years.
(7) The Indiana
Coalition for Independent Redistricting is currently campaigning to
introduce independent, non-partisan redistricting in the state, to end the
practice known as gerrymandering: the majority party’s power in the Indiana
General Assembly to re-draw districts to protect its own candidates and
suppress meaningful competition from the opposing party’s candidates. Are
you in favor of independent, non-partisan redistricting? Why or why not? (75
Soliday: I have
coauthored several bills supporting independent, non-partisan redistricting.
The operative words are “independent” and “non-partisan” and what is the
make-up of such a group? Last year’s bill, which was the product of hours of
work to reach a compromise, was rejected by liberal, “non-partisan” groups
who testified against it in committee resulting in its being removed from
the agenda. The Indiana Constitution requires legislative approval of
must establish an impartial non-partisan redistricting commission comprised
of independent citizens so Hoosiers can pick their representatives. We have
a patriotic duty to reform the rigged rules of our broken election system
that manipulate voting maps. Once elected, I’ll kick the fox out of the
henhouse and end gerrymandering that keeps partisan politicians in power, so
we can finally achieve the American dream of a representative government of,
by, and for the people.
(8) On what single
issue do you believe bipartisanship to be vital to the future of the State
of Indiana? (75 words)
Ideally every issue should be resolved in a bi-partisan way. The
overwhelming majority of bills that pass the Indiana state legislature are
bi-partisan. There are 6.5 million Hoosiers and they don’t all think alike,
but they all deserve representation. Bi-partisan law lasts longer and works
better, so we should strive for it in all legislation, but sometimes it is
Every child deserves the chance to pursue their dreams but the privatization
of public schools has put our children’s future at risk. We need to come
together and work across the aisle to make this state a place we are proud
to raise our kids. We must invest in public education, in the minds of all
Hoosier kids, who will bring new ideas to our state and create a better
future for all of us.