In her quest for a third term in the Indiana House of Representatives, Kathy Heuer faces an Aboite Township resident who has never run for elected office before, but who positions himself as a more conservative alternative to Heuer.
By many measures, Republicans Heuer and Christopher Judy are both conservative. The Allen County Right to Life Political Action Committee has endorsed both Heuer and Christopher as worthy of pro-life voters' support.
Conservative cred is crucial in this district, which includes most of Whitley County and a small but populous part of Allen County – mainly Aboite Township. No Democrats filed as candidates for the seat in time for the primary, although the party has until June 30 to name a Democrat as a candidate for the seat in the general election.
The vote that probably raised the most questions about how conservative Heuer really is came this session, when she voted in favor of a new version of the marriage amendment that was passed this year. Now the marriage amendment cannot go before voters as a ballot referendum until the fall of 2016.
The second sentence of the amendment was removed in the new version. It was widely interpreted as banning civil unions and perhaps making it illegal for companies to provide insurance for the partners of gay or lesbian employees.
Why did Heuer vote to restart the clock on the marriage amendment? She said it's simple: “Three years ago, I had over 85 percent of my constituents who wanted to vote for it,” she said. Since then, sentiment has shifted dramatically; some polls in the last year have shown roughly similar numbers of Hoosiers favor and oppose adding a marriage amendment to the state constitution.
For Judy, it's just as clear what's wrong with stalling the move toward a referendum this year: “I still think it should have gone to the voters,” he said.
Judy says he is adamantly against Common Core, a set of national education standards, but Heuer describes Common Core as more of a “conundrum,” because she understands the misgivings over it, but she said that Common Core drew extensively from Indiana state education standards, too.
In any case, she sees a greater need in the next session for continuing work “to close the skills gap” between what students when they graduate from high school and what employers need.