As a right-of-center editorial page, we try to follow one principle when it comes to election endorsements: All other things being equal, choose the most conservative candidate. That's why in the Republican primary for Indiana House District 83, we recommend challenger Christopher Judy over incumbent Kathy Heuer.
It's not that Heuer isn't conservative. She is staunchly so on such issues as the Second Amendment and abortion. She is a strong fiscal watchdog. She has taken an interest in the important area of worker training.
But on some issues near and dear to conservatives, she has veered left. Two especially stand out. She voted to change the proposed amendment putting the ban on gay marriage into the state constitution, then voted against the changed proposal. And she voted for a bill to allow regulation of day care centers run by churches or ministries if they accept taxpayer money, a church-state line that had never been crossed in Indiana.
Judy works for General Motors and spent seven years in the National Guard, including a tour of Iraq. That he served his country at that level and still has service left in him says something about his character. He is both a strong fiscal and social conservative.
It has been widely noted that the fiscal or business conservatives won big in the last General Assembly session and that social conservatives were surprisingly unsuccessful. If the odds are evened a little, it should make for a lively next session.
Barranda in the 84th
In the Indiana House District 84 Republican primary race, we recommend Fort Wayne attorney Michael Barranda, who is challenging incumbent Bob Morris, an entrepreneurial businessman who won the seat in a GOP caucus in 2010.
Barranda is a straightforward conservative, strongly emphasizing the need for limited government and fiscal restraint. He's also right of center on social issues like the Second Amendment and abortion. He would work on educational issues in the House and thinks northeast Indiana isn't making enough of IPFW as a research-and-development resource.
As the owner of several enterprises, Morris has a keen grasp of this area's business needs and keeps a sharp eye on economic issues. But he could have accomplished more legislatively. And his tendency to undisciplined speech has caused hard feelings in his own party. He's not the first conservative to be wary of the leftist leanings of the national Girl Scouts organization, but he is the only one to create a national controversy by seeming to pick on poor, little cookie-selling waifs.
Being a legislator requires understanding constituents' desires and also having a strong personal sense of the district's needs. Barranda is capable of crafting legislation that addresses both of those.