WARSAW – State Rep. Dave Wolkins announced Monday he will not seek re-election in 2020 and is supporting a bid by businessman Alan Alderfer for the District 18 seat.
Wolkins, who has represented the 18th District in the Indiana General Assembly since 1988, has struggled with health issues in recent years. He said his health is not an issue right now, he said he’s accomplished everything he set out to do.
“It’s time to let somebody else do it. I’m kind of burned out a little bit and I don’t have the enthusiasm I used to have,” Wolkins said Monday. “If you can’t do it 100 percent, then you shouldn’t be doing it.”
Wolkins’ decision not to run comes at the same time Alderfer was announcing his plans to seek the seat ahead of the filing period which begins on Jan. 8.
Alderfer said he would have not chosen to run if Wolkins had sought re-election. He described Wolkins as a model politician and a statesman.
“He believes in small government and that’s something that has proven out at the state level … Indiana’s in excellent financial health and it’s got to stay that way. He’s part of making sure that happened,” Alderfer said Monday afternoon.
Alderfer said he plans to seek input from voters as he canvases the district leading up to the Republican primary in May.
“I have spent my whole career listening to the issues my clients are up against,” Alderfer said in a prepared statement. “Taking that extra time to really listen, and then work on solutions to solve those issues, is what I do every day. This listening skill is what I want to bring to District 18.”
Alderfer is a certified financial planner with 26 years of experience and has been a partner in the financial planning firm, Alderfer Bergen & Co., for 20 years. He also hosts a weekly radio show, Smart Money Management, on three local radio stations.
Alderfer, a 52-year-old native of Warsaw, said he believes health care concerns are the top issue. He said he wants to delve deeper into issues involving access, overall costs and also prescription drug costs.
“I want to be able to answer those questions for my clients and for the citizens of District 18. I want to have some answers,” Alderfer said.
Health care is an issue that hits close to home for Alderfer who has a daughter with a chronic disease called Juvenile Dermatomyositis that has required frequent trips to Riley Children’s Health.
His daughter’s health and their connection to Riley has created a bond of sorts. He’s the co-founder of Kosciusko County Riley Kids Fund, which has raised more than $800,000 in less than a decade.
Alderfer and his wife, Kristine, have twin daughters. They attend Sacred Heart Catholic Church and they reside in Winona Lake.
Alderfer has been active in the community for years on various boards. He’s chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, vice-chair of the Kosciusko Community Hospital Board of Trustees, past president of Joe’s Kids Board and past treasurer of the Kosciusko County Community Foundation.
He is also a member of the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Merit Board and a member of the Kosciusko County Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, among others.
Alderfer was the 2013 Man of the Year for the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce.
Wolkins said he had been urged to run again and said he believes others might also consider running for the 18th District. Wabash resident Russ Reahard has already committed to running again in the Republican primary for the seat.
“I’m encouraged that he is running,” Wolkins said of Alderfer. “I’m supporting him at this point.”
The 18th District includes all of Wabash County and portions of Kosciusko, Miami and Grant counties. Cities within the district include Warsaw, North Manchester and Wabash. It extends as far south as Converse.
The filing period runs from Jan. 8 to Feb. 7.