In Indiana House District 19, incumbent Shelli VanDenburgh, a Democrat, faces Ron Johnson, the Republican pastor of a popular church.
VanDenburgh wants to apply to local government the same ethics rules that state legislators already follow. That makes it easier to see if dollars go to friends and friends of friends, she said.
Their stances on 911 dispatch consolidation differ. State law already requires it, but the progress in Lake County is slow, and there has been discussion of asking the Legislature for a reprieve.
VanDenburgh said, "They've had plenty of time. They knew this was coming." Johnson said if it isn't saving the taxpayers millions of dollars, why do it?
We side with VanDenburgh on this issue. Make it efficient, and make it cheaper to operate than the current fractured system. Make it happen.
The stances on social issues also ought to be examined.
Johnson proposes a longer waiting period for divorces, to allow more time for counseling. This would strengthen families, he said.
VanDenburgh said she was raised to believe in marriage as male-female but doesn't want to spell that out in the state Constitution because it's already state law. "Why do we need to put this in the Constitution to smack these people in the face for being different?" she asked.
VanDenburgh said — long before Richard Mourdock's comment last week — that if her daughter were raped, she wouldn't want her to have to carry the child of "that monster."
Johnson's website says, "Life begins at conception, and science has proven this. All life is sacred and deserves to be protected."
Johnson comes across as an ideologue, whereas VanDenburgh has shown she can work within the system to get things done.
Johnson cited a Heritage Foundation report that he said shows there are more public sector jobs than private sector jobs. That's untrue; there are five to seven times as many jobs in the private sector, and the number of government jobs has been declining steadily.
VanDenburgh cited an instance in which lobbyists proposed eliminating the personal property tax. The machinery at factories is considered personal property.
"That would be devastating" for Lake County, she said. Because of her actions, the exemption applies to new equipment only, she said.
VanDenburgh has served her district well. We endorse VanDenburgh for state representative in District 19.