WARSAW — Voters will have their first chance to weigh in on candidates for the District 18 seat of the Indiana House of Representatives during the May 8 primary election. The district’s state representative race features a balanced field with both parties represented and an intra-party battle featuring a challenger running for his first office and a longtime incumbent.
On the Republican side, Russell Reahard of North Manchester challenges longtime incumbent David Wolkins of Warsaw. Democrat Dee Moore of North Manchester will run unopposed in the primary. The following are profiles of all three candidates published in alphabetical order. All information was provided by the candidates:
Moore is a seventh generation farmer who said the experience has given her a deep understanding of rural America and how policy impacts the farming community.
Graduating from Purdue University, with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and art education, Moore is running for her first elected office. Her public service experience involves work with organizations such as 4-H, FFA, La Leche League, Lakeland Art Association and as an auxiliary member of the Sidney Volunteer Firefighters and Sidney Lions. She has also been heavily involved as a substitute teacher and Sunday school teacher.
Moore lists her top priority, if elected, as public education.
“Public schools are the only schools that admit every student that comes to their doors,” she said. “Only public schools accept students of all races, genders, family income, as well as the entire range of physical and mental capabilities. However, our Indiana Statehouse, has legislated making our tax dollars ‘follow the student’ instead of the school. Public schools, with their more diverse range of students have held up across our country by meeting or exceeding the outcomes achieved in private and religious schools.”
Aside from taking issue with Indiana’s voucher program, Moore is also hoping to make an impact where climate change, healthcare and labor issues are concerned.
“Every living thing on earth needs a sustainable planet for the next seven generations,” she said. “We must be proactive in our Statehouse to support solar initiatives instead of accepting the repeal of net metering. Supporting Poet and Louis Dreyfus’s refining of farm commodities into biodiesel and ethanol helps our vehicles use more clean burning fuels.
“Healthcare is a right to life,” Moore continued. “The United States is the only developed nation where people must fear becoming homeless or not being able to turn on the heat or purchase food if they go to a doctor or hospital to save a family member’s life.
“If you work for a living, you should make a living,” she continued. “Forty hours a week for 52 weeks a year is 2,080 hours – if you never missed a day of work. A $9 per hour wage would give you a gross pay of $18,720. Could you raise your family on that?”
North Manchester’s Reahard is also a first-timer in the political ring.
The part time pastor was elected several times as president of the local Kiwanis club, and served twice as a Kiwanis lieutenant governor. In Chinle, Ariz., Reahard was school valedictorian and was awarded a U.S. Army four-year ROTC scholarship which he declined to go to Manchester College, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics with a psychology minor. He has also sold insurance and real estate as well as working as a general contractor.
“I want to help the Indiana legislature pass a law that life begins at conception to outlaw abortion,” he said. “My second priority would be to renew teaching sanctity of life in our schools again, including teaching morals. The founders of our country said ‘the only way we can have a free society is to have a moral people.’
“The First Continental Congress printed 10,000 Geneva Bibles to teach morals in our public schools. When the Supreme Court removed the Bibles, they violated 175 precedents. Christians and righteous man have been silent for 65 years. It is time to speak up. Until we teach sanctity of life, our state will go bankrupt trying to pass laws, hire police, build prisons and drug treatment centers to control people by law. We must create a moral people again.
Thirdly, I want to explore offering faith-based prisons as an option for offenders to choose. The recidivism rate of criminals from a faith-based prison drops from 90 percent down to about 10 percent,” he said.
Reahard commented on the incumbent currently holding the seat he seeks.
“My opponent is a man of good character and long, long, long service to the state as a representative,” Reahard said. “I hope that I will be able to learn from him and carry on his legacy of service as your new state representative in District 18. Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”
Republican incumbent David Wolkins served on the Winona Lake Town Board for 17 years and has been a state representative for three decades serving on a variety of committees at the Statehouse and also re-writing the state’s law on eminent domain. If re-elected, Wolkins said he’d like to work on getting more discretion in the legislature when it comes to authoring bills.
“My biggest priority is to stop unnecessary proposed laws of my colleagues that add to government and take away our freedoms,” he said. “Each year, 900 to 1,500 new laws are proposed and very few are needed. I have been involved in the Select Committee on Government Reduction since its inception and am proud of the committees, rules and regulations we have done away with.”
Wolkins said he has always strived for a lean, balanced state budget and anything that will make the government more efficient.
“I am proud of having been a small part over the years of a legislature that was named the Number One Best State Legislature by U.S. News and World Report for 2017. As chair of the Environmental Committee, I have worked to allow common sense environmental rules that protect the environment, but don’t ruin our economy.”
For Wolkins, being an active listener is crucial to being an effective legislator.
“I prefer to listen to people rather than talk to them,” he said. “I have the ability to listen to both sides of an issue before I decide on the issue. Through my many years of serving, I have made many friends in both the Republican and Democrat parties. I’ve never gotten involved in the purely political disputes, thus I have the respect of my colleagues and have been able to accomplish my goals regardless of which party is in power. My goal is to be a problem solver, not a flame thrower. My greatest satisfaction comes from fixing a constituent’s problem they are having with state government.”