In the general
election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, incumbent State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage,
will face a challenge from Republican Cole Stultz. The Chesterton Tribune
invited both to respond to candidate questionnaires. Stultz did not return
one, nor did he return a call from the Tribune.
set word limits for each question and reserved the right to edit for length.
(1) For Tallian:
Age, place of residence, occupation, term in office. 67; Ogden Dunes;
attorney since 1990; third full term in office, originally seated in
(2) For Tallian:
Why are you seeking re-election to the 4th District seat in the Indiana
Senate? (75 words) I am running this year to continue the work that I
have done for the people in this district and across the state. I currently
serve on the State Budget Committee, Appropriations, Tax and Fiscal Policy,
Pensions and Labor, and Energy and Environment.
(3) For Tallian:
Describe your achievements in the Senate (100 words). I have authored
and passed significant legislation, including the innovate mortgage
foreclosure settlement conference program, beach erosion and sand
replacement, and worker’s compensation bills. I worked on and co-authored
many bills including the South Shore expansion and double-tracking programs.
I have filed bills on several topics that have not been heard by the
majority, including items that provide benefits for working families.
Finally, I have also been the voice of the opposition in the Senate, where I
led the fight against right-to-work, repeal of common construction wage, and
curtailing union representation for AFSCME and teachers.
yourself from your opponent and indicate in particular why you believe
yourself to be a better candidate (125 words).
According to my research, my opponent has moved away from the area, and may
have settled in Brazil, Ind. He has made no appearances at any candidate
event in Northwest Indiana and I know nothing of his qualifications.
I can tell you
mine. I have been an attorney here since 1990 and have worked on local
government issues. I represented the Porter County Plan Commission, Board of
Zoning Appeals, Portage Police Merit Board, and Portage Fire Merit
Commission. My legal background provides a solid base for writing
legislation. I am currently in a leadership role as the elected caucus chair
for the Senate Democrats. My 12 years in the Senate are my experience. I am
one of four legislators on the State Budget Committee.
(5) What are they
key issues in this race? (150 words)
key issue is whether Northwest Indiana voters will elect a person who does
not live in the district and has made no formal statement of who he is or
what he stands for. We need to send responsible people to the Statehouse who
will make reasoned decisions.
The key issues in
the legislative elections this year are similar across the state. Indiana
will write a biennial budget, which prioritizes policies and spending.
Although unemployment is low nationally, people still worry about jobs and
the economy. We still recall the recent recession, and we still live on
wages that are not keeping up with inflation. The wealth of the nation is
still concentrated in the few. Education continues to be an issue. We must
keep our schools good and pay our teachers well. Environment and climate
change issues will face us always.
(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
Tallian: No one
wants to pay more to use these terribly congested roads. But if we had the
proverbial dollar for every out-of-state vehicle that crossed Indiana, it
would be a lot of money. Hoosiers already pay taxes for our roads. If we’re
looking at tolls, we should at least discuss a proposal that would include a
rebate for Hoosiers. I find it judicious not to comment on a plan that I
(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
before the Coalition, the Senate Democrats, including myself, have been
calling for an independent commission. I have been working on this issue for
years, and made countless presentations on the topic. Of course, I support
an independent commission. But the Republican Senate has shown over nearly a
decade that it has no taste for giving up power, and they refuse to even
hear the proposals. We need help from the courts.
(8) On what single
issue do you believe bipartisanship to be vital to the future of the State
of Indiana? (75 words)
Democracy’s foundation is an informed, educated citizenry. Free public
education is, I believe, the single most important legacy of America to the
world. The legislators’ most important jobs are public safety,
infrastructure, and education, but the most important of these is education.
We must have a bipartisan effort to ensure the integrity, safety, and
success of our schools. Get the funding right. Pay teachers what they
deserve. Open the doors for the next generation.