In the general
election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, Republican Ed Soliday will defend his 4th
District seat in the Indiana House against a challenge from Democrat Debora
Tribune invited both Soliday and Porter to respond to candidate
questionnaires. The Tribune set word limits and reserved the right to edit
(1) Age, place of
Valparaiso; commercial aviation consultant; seven terms.
Valparaiso; public school teacher (elementary/music specialist), Portage
(2) For Soliday:
Why are you seeking re-election to the 4th District seat of the Indiana
House? (75 words) I am running for re-election to continue to bring a
strong, influential voice for the people of Northwest Indiana as well as
District 4 to the Indiana Legislature. There are critical policy issues in
energy and infrastructure that I feel can be served by my experience and
relationships inside and outside of government.
Why are you seeking election to the 4th District seat of the Indiana House?
(75 words) My co-workers and I have experienced first-hand the negative
consequences of ill-informed policies that state legislators have imposed.
This has occurred despite numerous attempts by myself and other
professionals across the state to inform them ahead of the vote that the
legislation would be detrimental. Regrettably, my opponent refuses to
consult his constituents, supporting his party’s legislative agenda instead.
Our community deserves a voice in the legislature and it is my duty to be
(3) For Soliday:
Describe your achievements in office (100 words).
* Authored landmark
Little Calumet River flood prevention legislation.
re-write of the entire Bureau of Motor Vehicle Code.
major road and bridge planning and funding legislation.
major finance and restructuring RDA legislation.
* Created the
Community Crossings grant program funding local road and bridge projects.
Indiana Chamber of Commerce “Outstanding Government Leader 2017.”
legislator named twice as “Legislator of the Year” by AIM (Cities and
of the “Virgil (Gus) Grissom Trophy” from the Association of Consulting
Describe your qualifications for office (100 words). My best
qualifications come from my experience when I was elected to serve on the
Valparaiso City Council. During my term I co-authored several resolutions
and ordinances and we had oversight of the budget and all spending. I also
have experience with the state legislative process through my many years as
president of my local teacher’s union. Prior to that I was on the
legislative action committee for the union advocating for teacher’s rights.
Knowing how state budgets are set and how the legislative process works
gives me a good foundation for the work ahead.
Differentiate yourself from your opponent and indicate in particular why you
believe yourself to be the better candidate (100 words).
Soliday: I have
years of successful leadership experience in the business, not-for-profit,
and government communities, working in many diverse areas: transportation,
energy, environment, veterans affairs, safety and security and finance. I
have a track record of bringing people of divergent viewpoints together to
solve difficult problems. My opponent seems somewhat single-issue focused
and has little problem-solving leadership experience.
he’s an ineffective 16-year incumbent. Soliday supports deregulating
environmental protections on coal; I advocate for renewable energy and
environmental protections against carbon emissions. I support living wages
and tax cuts for middle-class and low-income earners. Soliday supports tax
cuts for the rich while simultaneously accepting massive donations from
out-of-state corporations. The pandemic stay-home order demonstrated how the
lack of Internet hurt rural and low-income communities. Accessible Internet
should be the state standard. As chair of the House committee that has
jurisdiction, Soliday ignored this vital need when our neighbors needed it
(5) What are the
key issues in this race? (150 words)
Demonstrated collaborative, conservative leadership, versus inexperienced
emphasis on ideology.
relationships, and understanding of how to make government work for the
people versus inexperience.
* Recognizing that
the legislature faces many complex issues: budgeting for a large
organization, education policy, energy, and environmental issues as well as
* Measured approach
to managing the pandemic.
Porter: * The
state of public education: Addressing over-testing, teacher shortage, low
teacher wages and low wages for support staff, inequities in resources
including infrastructure and equipment.
* COVID-19 recovery
strategy: We have an obligation as a state to have a comprehensive strategy
in place to get our home back on track in the wake of this pandemic’s
effects on our economy and quality of life. There are hundreds of thousands
of dollars of COVID relief funds that have not been disbursed to the people
who need them the most, including small businesses and private citizens. We
have a business community that is reeling from the effects of the stay-home
order and the changes in consumer usages.
* The environment:
Our state must set goals for affordable renewable energy. The evidence of
climate change is indisputable and we must reduce our carbon footprint in
order to ensure a better future.
(6) Given the
record surge of new COVID-19 cases this summer--though not so far
accompanied by the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths reported in the
spring--do you believe Gov. Holcomb's Back on Track Indiana program was
phased in too quickly? (75 words)
believe Gov. Holcomb acted at the right time with a data-driven approach,
while being guided by the medical experts available to him. By acting early
and gathering critical information early, he was able to begin Indiana’s
economic recovery earlier than most states with less virus impact than many
believe Gov. Holcomb’s Back on Track Indiana program was a well-intentioned
and conceived program. However, I believe the time-table for implementation
was too quick. His plan to have us pretty much open for business as usual by
July 4 was far too early and ignored crucial safety and equipment
precautions. We needed to slow down the timetable in my opinion. It isn’t
too late but we have to start now.
(7) Do you support
Gov. Holcomb's mask mandate? Why or why not? Do you believe he was right to
remove the originally proposed criminal penalties for refusal to wear a
mask? Why or why not? (75 words)
support the Governor’s strong encouragement of wearing masks to protect our
fellow citizens from infections we might be carrying. Criminal penalties for
not wearing a mask would be almost unenforceable for many reasons.
support Gov. Holcomb’s mask mandate because the scientific evidence supports
it. If we want to control the spread of this virus, wearing a mask is the
most effective tool. It is cheap, simple, and effective. As for removing the
criminal penalties, I have mixed feelings. While some countries have
minimized the spread of the virus with stiff criminal penalties, we should
do our patriotic duty as a good neighbor and follow the mandate.
(8) Whatever else
the pandemic has done, it's revealed a profound rift between those who
privilege collective responsibility and those who privilege personal choice.
How can a legislator thread the needle between those two values and make law
both acceptable and beneficial to all citizens? (75 words)
always have been and always will be rifts between the far right and the far
left. A good legislator listens to the concerns of the people in the light
of the factual data and does his or her best to make the best decision for
the overall good of the people he or she represents. Representatives who try
to please everyone, especially in a crisis, usually serve no one.
legislator who creates policy must always be cognizant of the balance
between collective responsibility and personal choice. Isn’t that at the
heart of our most volatile issues in our society? Whether it is the
necessity of masks or the right to bear arms, ultimately, it is a matter of
doing the least amount of harm while simultaneously providing the most good.
Wearing a mask could save lives and requires no infringement on personal
(9) The pandemic
has disproportionately impacted minority and impoverished communities not
only in the State of Indiana but across the country. What can the Indiana
General Assembly do to address the root causes of this disparity: unequal
access to health care, chronic conditions related to socioeconomic status,
the low incomes of frontline workers? (75 words)
spent over 10 years as CEO of children’s homes around the world and chairman
of the board of mission hospitals in Asia, I can say that the solutions to
the issues this question raises cannot be answered in 75 words or a session
of the legislature. However, I’m committed to continuously improving our
Health Care Indiana Plan which serves over 500,000 low income Hoosiers and
creating jobs through workforce development.
Economic disparity has been magnified by the pandemic. We need to rebuild
our social safety net so we have the necessary structures in place to give
those who need it a hand out of the difficulty caused by the pandemic. Doing
so will allow them to once again be productive contributors in society. We
also need to establish living wage standards for frontline workers and
address our state’s need for affordable health care.
(10) What should
the No. 1 priority of the General Assembly be in the 2021 session? (75
should always strive for bipartisan cooperation and collaboration in
creating legislation. This year working together will be key in dealing with
the direct and indirect consequences of the pandemic, particularly
unemployment, K-12 education, and the state budget. All have been deeply
impacted by the pandemic. Our state constitution requires a balanced budget.
Striving for ownership in solutions to difficult problems is critical in
difficult times such as we are all experiencing.
Porter: The No.
1 priority of the General Assembly in 2021 must be creating and passing the
biennium budget. In this regard we must consider the havoc brought to our
state economy by the shut-down from the pandemic, the impact on
manufacturing and other industries, decreased sales tax collection, as well
as the other needs of our community, especially in regards to high
unemployment and the state of public education and it’s funding.