TERRE HAUTE —
Three Republicans are on the ballot in the May 8 Primary Election for the nomination for the District 42 seat in the Indiana House of Representatives.
Jim Meece of Bloomingdale, Alan P. Morrison of Seelyville and Bill Webster of Rosedale will appear on the GOP ballot.
Mark C. Spelbring is unopposed in the Democratic Primary. Incumbent Democrat Floyd Dale Grubb did not seek re-election.
Indiana House District 42 hugs the Illinois state line in west-central Indiana. It covers Fountain and Vermillion counties, as well as parts of Parke, Clay, Warren and Vigo counties. Major communities in the area are Attica, Rockville, Williamsport, Rosedale, Clinton and Covington.
Meece is a social studies teacher at Turkey Run High School and has served as a Parke County commissioner since 2003.
When asked why he is running for state office, he said, “It’s my intention to help bring common sense, respect and cooperation to state government in order for it to better serve the people of Indiana.”
Meece has been employed as a teacher for 27 years, teaching government, economics and U.S. history. In addition to serving as a county commissioner, he is president of the Wabash Valley West Central Indiana School Insurance Trust, which was created in 1991 by several school districts joining forces to provide cost-efficient insurance to employees.
“I’ve taught government and economics for 27 years now, and I know it’s not working as it was intended,” Meece said of state Legislature.
Legislators have too many disagreements that result in stalemates because they fail to negotiate with each other, he said. Even though both sides disagree on an issue, they should still work together.
Meece said he feels that his years of experience as a commissioner working with the public gives him experience to take to the Statehouse.
“Every phone call I get, I go out and see what the caller is talking about,” Meece said of receiving concerns from constituents. Local government is important on the county level, he added, and he doesn’t agree with attempts to reduce local government leadership and do away with township trustees. Those offices may be the only contact some people have with government in rural counties, he said.
And Meece said he thinks education reform needs to be reconsidered because of the variety of issues — one size does not fit all in education. For instance, if a voucher program helps a family move a child from a failing school district to a better opportunity, that is fine, he said, but there should be other sources of funding for the voucher program.
Meece has also been a leader in creating the Parke County Learning Center, which teaches job skills and higher education for worker training. He was named an Indiana Jefferson Award winner in 1999 for volunteerism and service, and was named a Distinguished Hoosier in 1971 by Gov. Edgar Whitcomb.
Candidate Alan Morrison is an assistant director for recreational facilities at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. His prior political experience was an unsuccessful challenge to Democrat incumbent Rep. Clyde Kersey in the November 2010 general election, losing by a margin of 258 votes. Morrison ran unopposed in the May 2010 primary election.
“I believe that west-central Indiana needs advocates in the Statehouse to help grow this economy and business development,” Morrison said, noting that jobs and the economy have been the main topic of the voters he has met during his campaign.
“I think the table is set for us to be super successful,” he said, “but it takes leaders in the Statehouse who know how to work with us.”
The Vermillion Rise MegaPark will be a major asset to the district when it comes online, Morrison said, adding that he believes economic development in the region will explode once that project is under way.
“Our economic bedrock is manufacturing,” he said, “it always has been and always will be. We will continue to put additional tools in our economic tool bag to attract more businesses to west-central Indiana with those industries in mind. However, we must also start to branch out to other industries and build on our already solid foundation.”
Education is also a big issue for Morrison, who said he thinks the education reform process in Indiana will be positive for the future.
“We need to keep enough flexibility in it so if we see an aspect of it not producing results, we can do what we need to get the best results,” he said. “We want all children in Indiana to receive the highest quality education possible. We may disagree how to get there, but the fact that we want that is a great place to start.”
Candidate Bill Webster is a heavy equipment mechanic and volunteer firefighter. His prior campaign experience was an unsuccessful challenge to Democrat incumbent Sen. Timothy Skinner in the November 2010 general election. Webster collected 44 percent of the votes in that challenge, after running unopposed in the May 2010 primary.
Webster has received the endorsement of the Parke County Tea Party and Indiana Right To Life in this election campaign. He describes himself as a constitutional conservative, saying he believes the constitution of Indiana should be the law.
Jobs and common sense management of money are among Webster’s campaign focuses.
“I will be a pro-business legislator,” he said. “As a representative, if there’s active legislation that is good for business in District 42, and good for the community, then I will support that legislation.”
He said he also believes that state legislators should work more closely with county commissioners and councils in the districts they represent.
“There’s too much distance between state legislators and county government,” Webster said, “ and we need to reel that in.”
He said he also intends to set an example of how a state legislator should be involved in local communities.
Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or email@example.com.
Name: Jim Meece
Education: 1972 graduate of Purdue University with bachelor’s degree in Humanities, 1987 graduate of DePauw University with master’s degree in education.
Work history: Teacher for Turkey Run Schools, 1985 to present; Parke County commissioner, 2003 to present.
Family: Wife, Gayle. Two children, four grandchildren.
Name: Alan Morrison
Education: 2000 graduate of Slippery Rock University with bachelor’s degree in sports management; 2003 graduate of Indiana State University with master’s degree in sports management.
Work history: Assistant director for recreational facilities at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
Family: Wife Cinda. Two children.
Name: Bill Webster
Education: Graduate of Riverton-Parke High School.
Work history: Heavy equipment mechanic for Levy Co.; firefighter and former fire chief for the Rosedale Fire Department.
Family: Wife Shanna.