By Scott Bowers
On Tuesday, May 3, voters throughout Indiana will cast their ballots in the 2016 primary election. While the presidential campaign on both sides has dominated the attention of voters and the media to date, there are several other candidates on the ballot who have consistently shown a high level of support for the co-ops and our issues at either the Indiana Statehouse or in Washington, D.C.
We would respectfully request that you, as a member of an electric co-op, consider a candidate’s support for our issues as you weigh who you will vote for in the primary.
Annually, committees comprised of electric co-op CEOs and directors work directly with IEC government relations staff to assess and determine which candidates at the state and federal levels warrant support from our political action committees (PACs). The main factors considered by the committees when deciding which candidates to support with our PACs include:
• A candidate’s support for our key issues,
• A candidate’s level of engagement with co-ops,
• Whether the candidate has been an advocate on our issues with relevant governmental agencies or with other elected officials, and
• A candidate’s electoral viability and success
With that in mind, listed here are several candidates who are involved in contested primary races that meet the criteria outlined above for support from our PACs. If any of the candidates listed below are on your primary ballot, please consider voting for them May 3.
• Jackie Walorksi (R) – 2nd Congressional District
• Todd Rokita (R) – 4th Congressional District
• Susan Brooks (R) – 5th Congressional District
• Luke Messer (R) – 6th Congressional District
• Larry Bucshon (R) – 8th Congressional District
• Erin Houchin (R) – 9th Congressional District
State senate races
• David Long (R) – Senate District 16
• Luke Kenley (R) – Senate District 20
• Pete Miller (R) – Senate District 24
• Eric Koch (R) – Senate District 44
State representative races
• Jim Pressel (R) – House District 2
• Donna Schaibley (R) – House District 24
• Jeff Thompson (R) – House District 28
• Jerry Torr (R) – House District 39
• Dan Leonard (R) – House District 50
• Milo Smith (R) – House District 59
• Jeff Ellington (R) – House District 62
• Jim Lucas (R) – House District 69
• Bob Behning (R) – House District 91
As you may have noticed, all of the candidates listed above are Republicans. This is because they are the only candidates who have received support from our PACs that are involved in primary races in 2016. For whatever reason, none of the Democratic candidates who received backing from our PACs are involved in primary races this year.
I can reassure you that Indiana’s electric cooperatives have historically benefited from the support from both Republican and Democratic elected officials. Our legislative effort to correct service territory law (SEA 309) or provide greater flexibility for township trustees to work with co-ops who offer prepaid billing services (SEA 217) both received strong bipartisan support of the Indiana General Assembly.
In Washington, we have seen legislation important to the co-ops such as coal ash and pension reform legislation receive support from Republican and Democratic members of Congress as well.
During general election season this fall, you’ll see that electric co-op PACs will be supporting candidates on both sides of the aisle.
Scott Bowers is vice president of government relations at Indiana Electric Cooperatives.