Chesterton Tribune



Tallian faces Stulz in State Senate race

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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.

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 December 2005.

(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.

(4) Differentiate yourself from your opponent and indicate in particular why you believe yourself to be a better candidate (125 words).

Tallian: 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)

Tallian: One 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 words)

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 haven’t seen.

(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 words)

Tallian: Even 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)

Tallian: 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.


Posted 10/9/2018




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