TERRE HAUTE —
Three Democrats are vying to be their party’s nominee for the District 46 seat in the Indiana House of Representatives.
Larry Barker of Ellettsville is the executive director of the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District; James Mann II of Terre Haute is a public high school teacher; and Chuck Toth of Terre Haute serves as business agent and president of the Laborers Local 204.
The winner of the May 8 Democratic Party Primary will run against Republican incumbent Bob Heaton in the General Election this fall. Heaton is unopposed in the Republican Party primary.
Barker, 58, spent 28 years in the military and for the last eight years, he has worked for local government — four years as director of sanitation for the city of Bloomington and more recently, executive director of the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District.
Among his top priorities, Barker says he would work to repeal Right to Work legislation.
Also, Barker is concerned about cuts to public education and said he wants to look for ways to restore those funding levels.
In addition, he wants to make sure “all these taxes we are paying [to the state] are justifiable taxes” and that those dollars “go to the appropriate agency that the law says they were to go to.”
Barker was referring to issues at the Indiana Department of Revenue, in which software problems apparently had caused Indiana to lose track of more than a half-billion in tax dollars.
He said that he wants to be a voice for citizens. If elected, he would like to conduct town meetings and establish offices in several communities in the district and “make our rounds.”
One of his goals, if elected, is to attract “green jobs” to District 46, Barker said. “We need to have the vision to do it,” he said. Examples of green jobs might involve electronic motors, electronic vehicles, wind turbines or solar energy, he said.
Green jobs are highly skilled, long-term, good-paying jobs. “Those jobs are out there,” he said.
If successful, it would help keep college graduates in the area and reduce the so-called “brain drain,” in which college graduates leave the state, he said.
Barker also believes he has the leadership qualities to serve as a state legislator. “I don’t talk over people’s heads. I don’t talk beneath people. I look you in the eye and tell you the issues, and we can come to a compromise that can best serve the needs of the people,” he said.
If elected, he also hopes to represent citizens in fighting escalating utility costs.
Mann says he is running because “I don’t believe District 46 voters are being represented as they should be.”
He wants to be an advocate for working men and women, public schools and senior citizens, he said.
He’s been a classroom teacher for 24 years, a member of the Indiana State Teachers Association, and he’s also officiated for both basketball and baseball, including the high school baseball state finals in 2000. He believes officiating taught him about working with people and developing a sense of fairness.
“I see myself as a public servant. I do not see myself as a politician,” said Mann, a social studies teacher at Terre Haute South Vigo High School.
With the passing of Right to Work legislation, as well as other legislation that will hurt public education, he came to the conclusion, “How can I not run?”
Mann’s priorities include addressing issues of poverty and working to bring good-paying jobs to District 46. Government doesn’t create jobs, he said, but it can help create an environment and incentives that help attract business and industry.
Improving educational attainment levels goes hand-in-hand with that, he said. “The more skills people have, the more marketable they are,” he said.
Mann opposes Right to Work legislation and believes it will lower wages for working men and women. While it will be difficult to repeal, “What we need to do is blunt the effects of it,” he said.
He also opposes private school vouchers and says that charter schools “may have value in some locations,” but somebody “has to convince me about the value of it.”
Public schools in District 46 do a good job educating young people, Mann said. “They do not need to have dollars taken from them to go somewhere else.”
The Republican-dominated Legislature has enacted many changes affecting public education, and Mann said one of his goals “is for all stakeholders to get information on how it all impacts us.”
Another of his priorities is funding for programs that enable senior citizens to remain in their homes as long as possible.
Other issues of concern relate to infrastructure (roads and bridges) and downsizing of local government.
Toth, business agent and president of the Laborers Local 204, has said he wants to turn back what he sees as an attack on working Hoosiers and public school teachers.
Serving as the District 46 representative “would be an extension of what I do for a living,” helping people find work or assisting them in other ways.
“My experience in life is helping other people,” Toth said. “I think I can bring that as a positive influence to the statehouse.”
He said his desire to serve also has been influenced by his mom, a public school teacher for 32 years, and his dad, who is business manager for Laborers Local 204.
Toth’s priorities include working to repeal Right to Work legislation; bringing good-paying jobs to District 46; assisting veterans with job training and employment; supporting the CHOICE program, which gives families an option to keep elderly parents at home; and advocating for public education.
The District 46 incumbent and other Republican legislators “don’t know the needs and struggles of their own constituents, everyday working men and women,” Toth said. “I believe that I do. I’m one of them and I work for them every day.”
Right to Work, passed in the recent legislative session, “is horrible for Hoosiers,” he said, describing it as “not right to work — it’s the right to work for less.”
It’s an attack on collective bargaining that will “lower our wages,” he said.
It affects more than union workers, he said. “When our wages go up, everyone’s wages goes up … When our wages go down, everyone else’s goes down.”
Toth opposes many of the so-called “education reform” measures passed in recent sessions of the Republican-dominated Legislature, including collective bargaining restrictions, private school vouchers and teacher merit pay.
He describes those changes as “extremely unfortunate and I think wrong and I think they need to be undone. They are attacking public school teachers. I’m a proud product of the local public school system.”
These attacks on public schools “are unfounded, unwarranted and hurting our kids and definitely our teachers,” he said.
Repealing Right to Work or legislation that hurts public schools will be difficult and won’t happen overnight, Toth said. “I’m running be because I’m willing to fight to do that.”
District 46 covers half of Vigo and Clay counties and all of Owen County, except one township, as well as a township in Monroe County. Some cities and towns in the district include Riley, Brazil, Center Point, Clay City, Stinesville, Spencer and part of Terre Haute.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or email@example.com.
Name: Larry Barker
Education: Morehead State University, Bachelor of Science in education. Enrolled in a master’s of education program at Indiana University.
Work history: Currently executive director of the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District. He was director of sanitation for the city of Bloomington for several years. He also is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and spent 28 years in the military.
Family: Wife Vonda, a public school teacher, and two teen-age daughters, Breanna and Cassidy.
Name: James Mann II
Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana State University in social science education.
Work history: Social studies teacher at Terre Haute South Vigo High School since 1997. Has taught in the Vigo County School Corp. since 1987.
Family: Wife Eileen and son John.
Name: Chuck Toth
Education: Attended Indiana University and Indiana State University. He plans to complete a bachelor’s degree in international labor relations at the end of the year.
Work history: President and business agent, Laborers Local 204.
TERRE HAUTE —
Three Democrats are vying to be their party’s nominee for the District 46 seat in the Indiana House of Representatives.
- Election 2012
Indiana House leader pledges no abuse of super-majority power
Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma promised not to exploit the super power of the Republicans’ new super-majority status in the Statehouse, saying he hopes Democrats will be “partners” in passing legislation to benefit Hoosiers.
Vigo ballots saw lengthy list of presidential candidates
While most voters on Tuesday knew the names of Democrat President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, there was a long list of other presidential candidates on the Indiana ballot.
Pence promises to go forward with education overhaul, tax cut pledge
Indiana Gov.-elect Mike Pence said he’ll make job creation “job one” when he takes office in January and promised to abide by his campaign’s “Roadmap for Indiana” plan, which includes support for education reforms that voters seemed to reject and a tax cut that legislative leaders oppose.
Anderson tops Mason: GOP candidate unseats incumbent Dem Commissioner Paul Mason
Republican Brad Anderson pulled off the lone upset at the county level Tuesday, defeating long-time Democrat incumbent Paul Mason for the District 3 seat for Vigo County Commissioner.
Clay County election 2012
A massive turnout by Clay County voters had general election participation nearing 60 percent by the final unofficial count.
Parke County election 2012
A majority of Parke County voters selected Mitt Romney as their president by a vote of 4,228 to President Barack Obama’s 2,106 votes, while the governor’s race went to Mike Pence with 3,366 votes to John Gregg’s 2,818 votes.
Vigo sees strong voter turnout for presidential election
Vigo County saw a strong voter turnout — 52.5 percent — in Tuesday’s 2012 general election, but that total fell short of the nearly 56 percent voter turnout in the presidential election four years ago.
Vermillion County election 2012
Voter turnout in Vermillion County Tuesday was 59 percent Tuesday as more than 6,750 voters cast ballots in 17 precincts.
Obama wins re-election
President Barack Obama won re-election Tuesday night despite a fierce challenge from Republican Mitt Romney as well as the weak economy and high unemployment that encumbered his first term and crimped the middle class dreams of millions.
Incumbent Anderson retains seat
Democratic incumbent Judith Anderson won a fourth term for Vigo County Commissioner District 2 in a race that was close with a first-time challenging candidate.
Congressman Bucshon retains seat in House
Indiana Congressman Larry Bucshon, a Republican, held off a tough election challenge to retain his 8th District U.S. House seat.
Dems sweep Council At-Large seats
Democrats swept all three Vigo County Council At-Large seats Tuesday, returning two incumbents plus adding a newcomer to the body.
Crockett wins to take over Vigo clerk’s office
In the Vigo County clerk’s race, Democrat Dave Crockett defeated Republican Mike Morris by a vote of 21,025 to 16,857.
Challenger Ritz knocks off Bennett in state superintendent race
Democrat challenger Glenda Ritz pulled off a stunning upset Tuesday night, beating incumbent Republican Tony Bennett in the unexpectedly tight race for Indiana superintendent of public instruction.
Donnelly gives Democrats Indiana Senate victory
Democrat Joe Donnelly triumphed Tuesday in one of the nation’s most tumultuous Senate races, capitalizing on fallout over his tea party-backed opponent’s comment that a pregnancy resulting from rape is “something God intended” to capture a seat that just a year ago looked to be a lock for Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar.
Heaton wins re-election in Indiana House District 46
In House District 46, incumbent Republican Bob Heaton won re-election to a second term, defeating Democrat James Mann II, who ran for elected office for the first time.
Longtime Rep. Borders loses re-election bid
Indiana State Rep. Bruce Borders, a long-time Republican representative from Greene County, apparently lost his re-election bid Tuesday by a razor-thin margin to Democrat Rep. Kreg Battles, also a member of the Indiana House.
Phone system glitch slows vote counting in Vigo Courthouse
A phone system problem at the Vigo County Courthouse has slowed down vote counting tonight.
- SLIDESHOW: General Election 2012 Photos by Tribune-Star photographers Bob Poynter, Joe Garza and Jim Avelis. Check back for more photos.
Vigo County seeing strong voter turnout
Voter turnout appears strong in Vigo County as election 2012 reaches its climax.
Indiana voters can buy alcohol after voting this year
This Election Day marks the first presidential election year in several decades where Indiana voters can buy alcohol after casting their votes.
What Indiana voters have to say about 2012 races
Across Indiana, thousands of people are casting votes for dozens of races, including the White House, Senate, Congress and the General Assembly. Here’s what they’re saying about why they cast their votes:
Voting machine problems delay some Indiana voters
Voting machine problems have caused delays and long lines in Hamilton County, a heavily populated Indianapolis suburb that’s a Republican stronghold.
Indiana race could be showdown over school changes
The campaign to lead Indiana’s education department is being watched as a referendum on school policies pushed by conservatives across the country.
Congressional, State Representative debates set for October
The League of Women Voters of Knox County (Vincennes) will host two live televised debates in Vincennes in October.
The first debate will be Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. EDT between the candidates for Indiana House of Representatives, District 45, Rep. Kreg Battles and Rep. Bruce Borders.
The second debate will be Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. featuring the candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 8th District, Congressman Larry Bucshon, Dave Crooks, and Bart Gadau. This Congressional debate will be co-hosted by the League of Women Voters of Vigo County (Terre Haute).
AG candidate spells out concerns
Indiana’s sex offender registry, consumer protection and protecting children from abuse while improving the state’s Child Protective Services agency are among the top issues for Indianapolis attorney Kay Fleming, Democatic candidate for Indiana Attorney General.
Dates set for Indiana Senate, governor debates
Two debates have been scheduled for next month between the candidates for Indiana’s U.S. Senate election, although organizers are still calling them tentative as final details are worked out.
Lieutenant governor candidates debate farm issues today
The three candidates for Indiana's lieutenant governor are meeting to debate farm issues.
Candidates agree to three gubernatorial debates
Indiana’s three gubernatorial candidates have committed to three televised debates this fall through the Indiana Debate Commission.
Candidates include Democrat John Gregg, Republican Mike Pence and Libertarian Rupert Boneham.
Gregg introduces State Sen. Vi Simpson as choice for lieutenant governor
Indiana Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg this afternoon introduced State Sen. Vi Simpson, D-Ellettsville, as his running mate for the 2012 election.
- More Election 2012 Headlines
- Indiana House leader pledges no abuse of super-majority power