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This election cycle, NUVO chose 12 key races in the state to follow, identified issues important to NUVO readers and plotted the candidates’ positions on a grid. We chose the races for a variety of reasons: because of their level of impact for all Hoosiers; because of controversial seats and figures; and because of proximity to Marion County. Candidates’ positions were gleaned from a combination of survey responses to NUVO, interviews given during the election cycle, published platforms, speeches, voting records, debate performances and other public statements. In some cases, questions do not apply to each candidate, or their positions could not be found. In those instances we’ve left positions blank.
In many instances, a candidate’s opinion on a given issue is nuanced. Our grid attempts to simplify their positions as much as possible to provide the highest utility for voters. Two races — Attorney General and State Superintendent — are profiled separately.
We hope you’ll take this issue with you into the ballot box when you’re making your choices for public office this Tuesday.
CLICK for a downloadable PDF of our Issues Guide
It’s hard to deny the scientific research about climate change and the devastating effects global warming is having on our planet. It’s not an issue that one state or even one country alone can tackle and defeat. But research does show that every little bit helps. Lessening our dependence on fossil fuels, investing in alternative power sources (i.e., wind, solar, etc.) and protecting land, water and air are all essential ideals for the betterment of society. Unfortunately, there are still a select group of people that believe climate change is a fabricated crisis.
Poverty is a societal problem affecting Hoosiers and people around the country. Poverty has many arms in the forms of homelessness, hunger, low wages, unemployment and many more. An increase in the minimum wage — whether at the state or federal levels — would be a start in the right direction, but isn’t the only answer. An increase in the federal minimum wage was a crucial part of Bernie Sanders’ platform during the Democratic primary.
After the massive public outcry to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2015, the question of protections for LGBTQ Hoosiers has received increased attention. During the last legislative session, Senate Republicans killed a measure that would afford equal protection against discrimination for reasons of gender identity and sexual orientation. Indiana is one of five states without hate crime protections for LGBTQ Hoosiers. The Governor’s Office trumpeted Indiana’s high employment statistics as a major component of Pence’s re-election campaign — something that current GOP nominee Eric Holcomb has maintained as a plank in the platform. But many in Indianapolis, including a coalition of Republicans, highlighted the adverse effects of RFRA on the growth of high-salaried jobs in Indiana, and high-profile companies and conventions, including Salesforce, Gen Con and Angie’s List, spoke out against the bill.
After Trump’s incendiary “build a wall that Mexico pays for” entry into the presidential race in 2015, the topic of immigration has become a cornerstone of public conversation — and especially in the Hoosier state. Mike Pence’s staunch opposition to the settlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana took the state to high levels of federal court, where Pence’s attempts to block resettlement were shut down. Indiana is home to over 300,000 immigrants, including over 150 resettled Syrian refugees. The Migration Policy Institute estimates 29 percent of immigrants living in Indiana are undocumented.
Since Pence introduced a bill to defund federal funding for Planned Parenthood in Congress in 2011, women’s access to reproductive healthcare has been under attack in Indiana. The signing of HEA1337 heralded the passing of the most restrictive abortion bill in the nation, partially because the bill included a provision for interring miscarried and aborted fetuses and outlawed abortion for a host of reasons. HEA1337 was ruled unconstitutional in June by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt. Issues of equal pay still impact Hoosier women, who make up more than two-thirds of minimum-wage workers and make, on average, 76 cents to the dollar compared to Hoosier men, which puts Indiana in the 20 worst states in the nation for pay equality, according to the American Association of University Women. Senate Bill 85, a fair pay in employment bill, authored by Senator Jean Breaux, did not receive a hearing during the last legislative session.
There is perhaps no crisis as acute as the Hoosier state’s growing number of deaths from opioid overdoses. More than 1,000 Hoosiers overdose yearly, and costs associated with drug overdose fatalities top 1.4 billion dollars. After an outbreak of HIV in Southern Indiana in 2015 — the largest in the state’s history, due in part to the closure of Planned Parenthoods in the region — clean needle exchanges were approved. These programs are still controversial, especially among GOP leaders. (For example, State Attorney General candidate Curtis Hill opposes clean needle exchanges.) Compliance with Obamacare and legalization of medical marijuana continue to be issues of debate in the state and federal legislatures. And we argue gun control is a public health issue as well, since someone is killed with a gun every 12 hours in Indiana, putting the state among the top 20 in the nation for gun deaths per capita, according to the most recent National Center for Health statistics.