In the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 2, Republican incumbent State Rep.
Ed Soliday will defend his 4th District seat against Democrat Thomas W.
Webber Sr. The Chesterton Tribune invited both to respond to
The Tribune set word limits for each question and reserved the right
to edit for length.
(1) Age, place of residence, occupation.
Soliday: 65, Valparaiso, retired airline vice-president for safety,
quality assurance, and security.
Webber: 74, Porter Township, State of Indiana senior judge/lawyer.
(2) To Soliday: Describe your accomplishments in office. (75 words)
Sponsored 911 consolidation legislation, co-authored Illiana legislation,
author of Little Calumet River reform legislation; supported 2009 balanced
budget legislation, early supporter of property-tax cap legislation, helped
hundreds of constituents resolve issues with the state bureaucracy including
a turn arrow at Meridian Road and U.S. Highway 6.
To Webber: Describe your qualifications for the office. (75 words)
My familiarity with District 4 given my 20 years as police officer and 30
years as lawyer and judge. My familiarity with budgets (city and county)
gives me insight into the process. My legal training assists in statute
drafting and foreseeing constitutional difficulties. I can also dedicate my
full attention to District matters, as I’m required if elected to resign as
judge. I would consequently dedicate full time to serving the district.
(3) To Soliday: Why are you seeking re-election to the office? (75
To provide a strong voice for NW Indiana in the legislature, one that brings
common sense leadership and a spirit of cooperation to the region and the
To Webber: Why are you seeking election to the office? (75 words)
I believe I have the ability and expertise to serve this district in a
competent and effective manner.
(4) Differentiate yourself from your opponent and indicate why you believe
yourself a better candidate. (100 words)
Soliday: I have many years of business, not-for-profit, and government
experience balancing large budgets, and interacting with business and labor
leaders as well as government regulators to find effective solutions to
problems. I serve as chair of the finance committee of a university and am
intimately familiar with the needs and limitations of our educational
Webber: My opponent and I have entirely different backgrounds and work
experiences. Mine has been, for the majority my working years, in law and
administration. Most of those years also in a supervision capacity of
governmental employees. I believe that my legal education, background, and
work experience will enable me to be an effective aggressive representative
for District 4.
(5) What are the key issues in this race? (125)
Soliday: The main issue in this race is fiscal responsibility:
maintaining a balanced budget, without raising primary taxes, and dealing
with the unemployment insurance crisis. The second issue is creating a
regulatory and tax environment that encourages job growth and restores our
economy, particularly that of NW Indiana. The third major issue is
organizing state and local government so it is efficient, effective,
transparent, and responsive to the needs of the people.
Webber: The key issue, in my view, is the creation of jobs. To create
job opportunities we have to make Indiana, in particular our district,
attractive for businesses to make their homes here. Additionally, an issue
which needs to be addressed and resolved is public schools. Primarily the
effect of the State Executive Branch of Government determinations and edicts
has on the direction of State Public schools. Other issues are concerning
funding of regional law enforcement academies. State government needs to
bring full transparency to spending and budgeting of taxpayer moneys. We
need to utilize Indiana expertise and Indiana businesses in the allocation
of state contracts.
(6) What legislation would you favor to avoid further cuts in public-school
funding? (75 words)
Soliday: K-12 education is roughly 54 percent of every tax dollar in
this state, we have cut education the least of most of the states, and we
have cut massively in every other area of state government to preserve K-12
funding. Isn’t it time we looked at fresh ways of managing education instead
of giving schools that graduate half the percent of students twice the
funding per student as schools in Porter County?
Webber: I would have to review the Executive Branch of Government’s
budget proposals and then do a complete review of budget requests to
determine where, what, and if any public school funding should be cut to
balance the budget. Generally, I disfavor any cuts to public school funding.
(7) Would you favor re-visiting the authorizing legislation for the
Northwest Indiana Development Authority, permitting Porter County’s
withdrawal from the RDA should the county lose its ongoing court case? Why
or why not? (75 words)
Soliday: I would not favor that. The RDA is on a 10-year cycle and has
made long-term financial commitments involving federal matching money. Every
community in Porter County has endorsed membership in the RDA. If Porter
County is not happy with the RDA, there’s a time when they may decide not to
renew, but they should not be allowed to walk out on their financial
responsibilities because a few think it politically expedient.
Webber: Yes. Clearly the voters of Porter County disfavor involvement in
the RDA and chose to decide their own course of action for future
development. This was clearly shown by the response to the proposed RTA tax.
(8) If taxes need to be raised, which taxes should they be? (50 words)
Soliday: Taxes don’t need to be raised. We need to tighten our belts and
make government more efficient. The secret to funding government at previous
levels is to put more people to work so they can purchase goods and services
and pay their taxes. It’s way too soon to default to tax increases.
Webber: First, I’m not convinced that taxes need to be increased.
However, if they do, I would first look at user fee increases in those areas
that are in need of additional funds rather than a general tax across the
(9) Would you support cuts in state agencies—and if so, which ones—to
address Indiana’s budget shortfall? (50 words)
Soliday: We’ve cut agencies massively in this state already. Panderers
like to think there’s some big massive waste bucket that, if we just cut
that bucket every thing will be fine. NOT SO! If we need further cuts by
April, we’ll take some from every agency, wherever we can find efficiencies.
Webber: As a last resort I would look to reduction of services or
closing state facilities. To say, without research into department budgets,
which services or facilities should be reduced is inappropriate at this
time. Any decision I would make would only be after a complete investigation
and digesting of information.
(10) Would you support a ban on texting while driving? Why or why not?
Soliday: I would absolutely support a ban on texting in a moving
vehicle. It is extremely dangerous. If it is that important pull over, send
your message then drive.
Webber: Driving heedless of probable injury or property damage to others
is reckless driving and any driver texting while driving should be charged