The United  States is ranked #17 in the world on Education and Indiana is ranked #24  nationally. Since the legislature capped the property taxes and took  over full responsibility for teacher salaries in 2009, the state general  fund budget has grown 21 percent. Indiana teachers now earn almost 16  percent less than they did two decades ago. Indiana is dead last in the  country for teacher salary raises over the last 15 years and as a result  we are ranked #37 for teachers’ median salaries. In 2011 the  legislature did away with the traditional teachers’ salary schedule  which incentivized teachers to earn additional degrees and provided step  pay increases for continuing to teach in a school corporation. Now,  most Indiana teachers are lucky to receive an annual cost of living  raise of between one and two percent. This dereliction of responsibility  by the Indiana legislature has created a “talent void” where 94 percent  of our 290 public school districts cannot fill all their open teaching  positions due to a lack of applicants. 



 The “talent  void” created by not properly funding our public schools is reflected in  the Indiana job market. The number one issue that corporations consider  when evaluating expansion to a new state is the education system, which  includes K12 public schools and the colleges and universities.  Companies want to know if they will have enough qualified/educated  workers and they also want to know if the K12 public schools are  sufficient for the families of their employees. Nationally, 8 out of 10  newly created jobs require a college degree, in Indiana only 1 out of 6  new jobs require college. Since Indiana has a “talent void” and we are  unable to compete for the newly created jobs in a knowledge-based  economy, the majority of our college graduates leave the state.  According to an April 2019 Congressional Report, Indiana is one of the  ten worst states losing highly educated workers. Since 1985 the U.S. has  lost, on average, over 370k manufacturing jobs per year. By 2025, over  two-thirds of all the jobs will require advanced skills training or a  college education. The economy is changing and our legislators need to  find the courage and fortitude to help Hoosiers lead the way. Since 1973  American productivity has increased 77% while hourly pay has grown by  only 12%. If the federal minimum wage tracked productivity, it would be  more than $20 an hour, not today's poverty wage of $7.25. Due to  automation, the value of manufacturing jobs has decreased globally. 



 The American  Society of Civil Engineers, 2017 report card, graded our national  infrastructure as a D+ and the U.S. News and World Report ranks  Indiana's infrastructure as #37 in the nation. Eight percent of the  bridges in Indiana are rated structurally deficient and 12% of our roads  are in poor condition. Indiana needs an estimated $5.9 billion to fix  or provide for the drinking water needs, and another $7.16 billion to  cure the wastewater needs. 240 dams are considered to be high-hazard  potential.  This deteriorating infrastructure impedes Indiana’s ability  to compete in an increasingly global marketplace. Success in a 21st  century economy requires serious, sustained leadership on infrastructure  investment at all levels of government. Delaying these investments only  escalates the cost and risks of an aging infrastructure system, an  option that the country, Indiana, and families can no longer afford. The  2017 legislation (HB 1002 Transportation Infrastructure Funding) is a  good first step. We are also ranked #42 for internet access across the  state. This subcategory of infrastructure considers both the percentage  of households with a broadband internet subscription and the share of a  state's population with access to high-speed broadband. The internet  connects millions of people from around the globe every day, and despite  its relatively young place in history, it would be nearly impossible  for most Americans to complete a 21st century education or compete in a  global knowledge-based economy without the internet.  


How would you fix the current teacher shortage?


 I would start  by putting in place a teacher's pay schedule to incentivize people to  become teachers and hopefully encourage former teachers to come back to  the classroom. Teachers deserve to be paid for their experience and  expertise, and I am not counting a one or two percent cost of living  raise. 

How do you feel about free college tuition?


 The idea has  some merits when you consider Former Governor Mitch Daniels' statements  about the Indiana "Brain Drain". Most people acknowledge that the brain  drain has created a talent void in Indiana. We are one of the ten worst  states in the county losing college graduates. The real key to Indiana's  economic growth is to fill the talent void by retaining our college  graduates and of course, producing more graduates.  I would support free  tuition for all community college programs along with interest free  loans for higher education for all Hoosiers. However, just like a  military ROTC scholarship, college graduates would incur a contractual  obligation to live and work in Indiana for a specified amount of time. .

How do you feel about gun control?


 I have over 30  years active duty military service and two and a half years on the  ground in Iraq. My wife and I both own guns. I also have a license to  carry a handgun. So yes, I support the Second Amendment.  That being  said, I also support our law enforcement officers and I want to empower  them so they can do their job. We need better supporting legislation to  keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Most criminals get their guns  from straw buyers which is already illegal. The problem is, without  supporting legislation it is almost impossible to prove. We need to  close the loopholes for background checks and we need gun registration  to stop straw buyers. These legislative actions are supported by the  Second Amendment and would facilitate law enforcement's efforts to keep  guns out of the hands of criminals.