News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

October 10, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: Oct. 10, 2012

TERRE HAUTE —

Vote for person, not the money

Two winters ago, at a Cracker Barrel, I heard 46th District state Rep. Bob Heaton give his reason for voting for every single reform on education. He said “Gary and Indianapolis need these reforms.” He heard those constituents and educators loud and clear that day, but his vote was with party leaders, Gary, and Indianapolis instead of them.

Is that why for his 2010 campaign he received $470,929? Mitch Daniels Aiming Higher PAC alone gave him $187,576 (Followthemoney.org). Was the extra Republican money in his coffers directly related to his helping to “carry the water” for education reforms that his constituents neither needed nor wanted — a sort of political back scratching for doing something for party leaders rather than the interests of his own district?

I would vote for Jim Mann. He is a great colleague, friend, and he will support his constituents. He would also support public education with a common-sense approach, and help our children in a way that only a person with 25 years experience could. He will never have Heaton-type money, he must get out his message the old-fashioned way. I hear of him every night, making phone calls, walking the streets and I think this is and should be our local democratic process, not $470,929.

Remember, this job pays $22,616 a year. Unfortunately, I am not in the 46th District, I am just a citizen concerned that money in campaigns is getting absurd and my hope is people in all districts vote on the issues, not the biggest checkbook. I am sure Mr. Heaton is a good guy; I have not heard anything different. But, did Mr. Heaton repay his constituents for their vote or repay the money from Indianapolis?

I am aware that money does not buy votes, but money can affect the framing of issues and skew the argument to favor a desired outcome. So let’s vote because we agree with a candidate’s stance on issues, not his exorbitant amount of money.

Democrats and Republicans alike, let us not let money become a debilitating challenge to democracy. Here’s to democracy, not money.

— Shawn Nevill

Clinton

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