NUVO: Introduce yourself in 200 words or less.
I am State Senator Brent Waltz. I have served in the Senate for two terms, beginning in 2004. I am a graduate of Center Grove High School where I was a national merit scholar and an Eagle Scout with Bronze, Silver, and Gold palms. I graduated cum laude from Wabash College and started an investment banking company, The Baron Group, shortly thereafter. My profession focuses on developing small and medium size companies, securing financing for their growth, and looking for ways to help them be successful. I was elected to the Johnson County Council in 2000 and was selected its Council President for the final two years of my term. I serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee and am the ranking member of the Senate Pensions and Labor Committee.
NUVO: Describe your district, name some features that make it special or unique.
My Senate District is simply the Heart of Indiana. It is the most diverse Senate District in the state. It contains the Indiana Capitol and Monument Circle, as well as two universities - IUPUI and the University of Indianapolis. It contains some of best as well as some of the most challenged public schools in Indiana. It contains newly paved roadways and alleys that haven't been resurfaced in a generation. It is a remarkable place to be a part of.
NUVO: List three serious issues facing your district and note how they would translate to your legislative priorities.
Three issues facing my district:
1) Jobs and the economy. Indiana has performed better than many states during this economic downturn, but that is little consolation to those unemployed or underemployed. On October 13 I hosted a Job Fair at Southport High School where 350 citizens met with companies looking to hire. I will continue to look for ways to help businesses to grow and prosper.
2) Public education. Indiana must maintain a high standard for its public schools as well as their funding. I have been working on several projects with education leaders in our community and state to improve our schools. One way is to establish a financial literacy initiative, which would teach children from grades 6-12 age appropriate lessons on how to manage money, be responsible with debt, and develop credit.
3) Roads and infrastructure. Indiana will be facing a significant shortfall in its highway funding for the upcoming budget session. Our state is named "The Crossroads of America" for a reason, and we must live up to that reputation for our economic success and the safety of Hoosiers.
NUVO: If you could provide one element of constructive criticism about the 2012 General Assembly, what would it be?
I would have preferred a compromise regarding the passage of Right to Work legislation which was very disruptive and would offer very little, if any, benefit to encouraging businesses to locate in Indiana.
NUVO: How you do think an extended era of solid Republican control over the General Assembly will influence legislators' work at the Statehouse? Could you comment on how you envision bi-partisanship and checks and balances functioning in this environment?
There is no question that both the House and Senate will remain firmly in the hands of a Republican majority. I have always tried to focus on representing my community, not my political party. It is my hope that this new era will enable legislators to focus serving their constituents rather than scoring cheap political points at the expense of the opposing political party.
NUVO: If you could ask one question of your opponent, what would it be?
Does Mary Ann Sullivan believe that she would be more effective in representing our community as one of 13 Democrats out the 50 members of the State Senate and if "yes" how she would do so?
NUVO: What question do you wish we'd asked and how would you answer it?
What is my favorite Harrison Ullman (one of the early leaders of NUVO Magazine) column? "My Dinner Date with God" circa 1996. See, some conservatives do read your magazine!
[News] Politics, Dining Out
[News] Current Events, Social Justice, Politics, Environment