Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Ed Soliday vs Thomas Webber in race for 4th District state House seat

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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 candidate questionnaires.

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 words)

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 legislature.

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 system.

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 board.

(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? (50 words)

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 as such.



Posted 10/14/2010




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