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Tim Vandenack
Tim Vandenack
In Indiana Buzz, reporter Tim Vandenack blogs on politics, immigration, elections, taxes, errant geese and more.



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District 48 Indiana House race 2014: preliminary looks at a high-profile primary

Doug Miller, Adam Bujalski and Jesse Bohannon are the hopefuls for the Elkhart County-based post. Read more about them here:

Posted on March 28, 2014 at 4:09 p.m.

Friday March 28, 2014

Attention wonks, political junkies and other civic-minded types in Elkhart County: I've spoken to the three hopefuls for the District 48 seat in the Indiana House and stories are forthcoming.

The race for the District 48 post, now held by Rep. Tim Neese, is one of the highest-profile local contests in the upcoming May 6 primary. Neese, first elected in 2002, isn't seeking re-election so he can run next year for Elkhart mayor. Thus, the seat — which covers northwestern Elkhart County, including northern Elkhart — is totally up for grabs.

Vying, in alphabetical order, are Jesse Bohannon, Adam Bujalski and Doug Miller. All three are Republicans, like Neese, and no Democrats have filed.

Coming next week I'll have in-depth profiles of each in both online and print versions of The Elkhart Truth. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, here are snapshots of each:

Bohannon: He describes himself, variously, as a "very strong conservative," a "Christian Libertarian" and a "progressive Libertarian."

His "belief in God underlies everything else," he said. Bohannon works at The Crossing Education Center, an alternative educational facility.

He thinks state government needs to assert its authority to prevent the federal government from taking on duties that aren't in its domain. He's a proponent of low taxes and minimal government regulation.

He favors school vouchers, would like to see the program expanded to the point that the full amount of per capita tax funding follows individual students to their respective schools.

In the absence of an alternative, he favors House Joint Resolution 3, the proposal to amend the Indiana Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, precluding same-sex marriage. He preferred an earlier incarnation of the measure that included a provision prohibiting civil unions.

Bujalski: Bolstering the economy and creating jobs are big with him. He's a branch manager at an Elkhart bank.

Elkhart County needs to diversify its economy to minimize the adverse impacts when economic downturns occur, as with the recent Great Recession. He could help in that respect by being a champion for Elkhart County in Indianapolis.

He's "all for tax reform. I think taxes are too high," he said.

But he also backs the limited business property tax reform measure approved by lawmakers. It gives individual Indiana counties authority to scale back business property taxes, at their discretion, but doesn't mandate such action.

He favors the state's educational voucher system as is, and wouldn't want to expand it because of the potential adverse impacts to public schools.

He favors HJR 3 as is, would vote for it. He has no issue with civil unions and is OK with removal of the provision that would've prohibited such unions.

Miller: It's every parent's dream for their kids to stay close to home when they grow up, and he wants to do what he can to create the jobs and opportunities here so that happens.

More specifically, he touted the import of cooperation between schools and business to tailor educational opportunities to local needs.

He's a home builder and has traveled plenty to Indianapolis in the last 10 years to lobby on behalf of the industry. That gives him experience dealing with state politics while his years as a home builder working with families have honed his ability to listen.

He's OK with the school voucher system as is, focused on K-12 education, and would favor moves to expand it to preschool education.

He thinks HJR 3 needs to be put to voters. If lawmakers approve it again, the proposal to amend the Constitution would be put to voters for final say on the November 2016 ballot. On the other hand, he's "not for opening up our national Constitution or our state Constitution."

Follow reporter Tim Vandenack on Twitter at @timvandenack or visit him on Facebook.


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