Rep. Kubacki to challenger: I will ‘keep doing exactly what I always have’

Indiana Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, facing an intraparty challenger in the GOP primary in May, isn’t backing down.

Posted on Jan. 23, 2014 at 11:40 a.m.

Indiana Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, facing an intraparty challenger in the GOP primary in May, isn’t backing down.

“I take great pride in being one of the hardest working legislators both in session and in my community,” she said in an emailed response to Curt Nisly’s plans to challenge her. “I intend to keep doing exactly what I always have: work harder than the other guy.”

Nisly, who lives in Jackson Township just south of Goshen, announced earlier this week plans to vie for the District 22 seat in the Indiana House seat held by Kubacki, citing dissatisfaction with the second-term incumbent.

Nisly opposes national Common Core educational standards, favoring locally crafted guidelines instead, and his campaign cited Kubacki’s vote last year against a state measure to halt, at least temporarily, implementation of the national standards in Indiana. At the same time, Nisly favors amending the Indiana Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage, while Kubacki has questioned the notion.

Kubacki, a Republican from Syracuse, doesn’t know much about Nisly, she said in her email Tuesday, Jan. 21. She learned of him last year when he said he was considering challenging U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, a Republican, for her post, also in the May primary. Walorski had voted with “the Republican establishment quite often,” Nisly lamented at the time.

“His name first surfaced when he wanted to run against Jackie Walorski because he was unhappy with her votes,” Kubacki wrote. Walorski, Kubacki thinks, “is doing a wonderful job.”

Nisly, who runs a computer tech firm and is the husband of Elkhart County Republican Party Chairwoman Mary Nisly, has not run for office before. District 22 covers much of Kosciusko County and extends into Locke, Union and Jackson townships in southern Elkhart County.


In response to Nisly’s Common Core criticism, Kubacki said her aim is to “support and advocate for the best possible education” to prepare students.

The Common Core standards have been decried by some conservatives, who view them as a threat to local education control. A measure approved by Indiana lawmakers last year, House Enrolled Act 1427, called for a review of the standards and a delay in implementation here of certain Common Core initiatives.

Kubacki voted against the compromise version of HEA 1427, crafted by a committee of Indiana House and Senate members. At the same time, she said in her email that she backs the education agenda of Gov. Mike Pence, who, in his state of the state address, called for education standards “written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers.”

Kubacki said she backs the notion of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, as it would be defined per the proposed constitutional amendment, House Joint Resolution 3. But the definition is already spelled out in existing Indiana law, which she backs.

She questions the need for HJR 3, she said, because it would undermine the notion of “protecting our Constitution from supermajorities and the pressures of the politics of the day.”

Kubacki continued: “My responsibility as a legislator is to protect and defend our Constitution, not reject and amend it. If we go down that path we might as well just rip it up and make a list of laws as opinion changes.”

A Nisly campaign volunteer said moves to impose new requirements on church-run daycare centers could emerge as an issue in a Nisly-Kubacki contest.

Kubacki is co-author of House Bill 1036, and in an email she said the measure would apply only to child-care centers that accept federal Child Care and Development Fund money.

“If a child-care ministry receives these funds, they are asked to meet the same standards ... every other child care center has to,” Kubacki wrote. “This bill has to do with making sure every child is safe and in an environment where they will thrive.”

Follow reporter Tim Vandenack on Twitter at @timvandenack.

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