KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — In all likelihood, the Indiana House District 22 seat will be occupied by a Republican after the ballots are counted during the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 6. No Democrats filed a declaration of candidacy by the Feb. 9 deadline to place their name on the primary ballot, which will be voted upon Tuesday, May 8.
On the Republican side of the primary, two candidates collected the required signatures to accompany their filing with the Indiana Secretary of State’s office.
The possibility remains Democrats might nominate a candidate during the party’s state convention, to be held Saturday, June 16, or separately selected to fill the general election opening. Third party candidates, including those from the Libertarian party, and independent candidates could also have their names added to the general election ballot.
However, it is likely the district will be represented by either incumbent State Rep. Curt Nisly or his Republican primary challenger, Kosciusko County Councilwoman Kimberly Cates. Nisly defeated Rebecca Kubacki in the Republican primary in 2014, and was reelected to the seat in 2016. Cates currently is serving her first full year on the county council.
Both candidates were asked three questions regarding their candidacy in primary election.
• What do you believe distinguishes you from your opponent in this primary election for the Republican nomination for Indiana House District 22?
Cates: My background is business management, ownership and local government, coupled with real results and improvements. I will support and advocate “pro life” legislation and support our Second Amendment. District 22 needs to be heard in Indianapolis and work together with committees to bring money back to our district. District 22 needs a seat at the table when making decisions. I strongly advocate for strategic planning of our roads and bridges not only for our businesses and farms but for the safety of our citizens. I am a lifetime member of the NRA and believe in limited government with local control. I will fight for education and job skills training in cooperation with schools, farms, and industry to help prepare our workforce. I have a track record for fighting for first responders and have worked with township boards and unions to have the best benefits and most trained. (As a member of) the Community Call to Action committee, we are trying to attack the opioid crisis along with supporting the JCAP jail treatment program introduced by our attorney general.
Nisly: I approach this position from a Constitutional viewpoint the government should be limited and the people should be free. I try to apply this reasoning to every decision in the Legislature.
• What will be your top two to three legislative priorities during the next legislative session should you be elected to this seat?
Cates: 1. School safety — research and plan to keep our children safe from violence and obscene material. 2. Infrastructure — strategic planning and funding with both maintenance and new projects. 3. Job skills training — working together with schools, farms, businesses and industry. 4. Opioid crisis — Finding treatment, and enforcement of laws and community action ways to help citizens.
Nisly: 1. Protect the lives of all Hoosiers, born and unborn. 2. Protect our natural rights, including the right to bear arms. 3. Maintain a balanced budget by reducing spending and not raising taxes.
• How do you plan on ensuring the values of the people of District 22 are represented in the Statehouse, which is often viewed as Indianapolis-centric?
Cates: My objectives are to listen to constituents and to fight for funding on various projects while promoting and advocating the conservative values of the district. One of the things I will fight for are funds for our infrastructure and fighting to have a say with monies Indiana will be giving to areas. I have a track record of representing and fighting for those I represent. There is no question if elected, I will listen to District 22 and represent our values and views when in Indianapolis. I have always been and always will be a fighter for those people and values I represent.
Nisly: The first day I walked into the Statehouse after I was elected, it was apparent to me some people in Indianapolis thought the job of a state representative was to represent the interests of the state to the people. I made it very clear I intended to represent the people of the 22nd House District to the state, not the other way around. I have done my best to do this with every vote cast, every email and phone call from constituents, every survey response and each face to face meeting with people in the district.
(Writer’s note: Indiana House District 22 encompasses parts of both Kosciusko and Elkhart counties, including Milford, North Webster and most of Syracuse.)