Two Republican candidates for a state representative position representing parts of Johnson and Morgan counties each enter the primary election with a different focus.
John T. Young, an attorney from Franklin, wants to focus on improving schools and reconsidering the legislature’s role in education standards.
Volunteer firefighter Matt Prine’s goal is to focus on roadwork and giving local communities the right to raise taxes without legislators’ approval.
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They face off for the Republican nomination for the District 47 state representative seat. Current State Rep. John Price is not seeking re-election after serving two terms.
That has opened the door for Young, who ran in the 2012 election, and Prine, who is running for the first time.
The winner would face no opposition in November’s general election unless a nominee was appointed by the Democratic party or an independent candidate files by the June 30 deadline.
The District 47 seat includes Franklin, Union, Needham and Blue River townships and parts of White River and Hensley townships.
For Prine, public safety and road improvements are at the forefront of his focus. If elected, Prine said he plans to help cities and towns in his district seek funding for public safety and work closely with county council members and commissioners to establish an east-west route across the county.
With the announcement that State Road 37 will be the path for Interstate 69 through Johnson County, connecting I-65 and I-69 with an east-west route is vital, he said.
“Roads are elements that drive people to locate businesses here. I will make sure county commissioners and council members have the resources needed to get that east-west route established,” Prine said. “There’s no reason the county shouldn’t be connected between I-65 and I-69.”
While Greenwood is not represented in District 47, Prine will continue Price’s efforts to help Greenwood get legislative approval for a tax hike to raise money for public safety funding, he said.
Prine, who is a captain at Amity Volunteer Fire Department and works in community affairs at Indiana American Water, said the shortage of police officers and firefighters in Greenwood is a concern and brings to light to a bigger change he would like to make: allowing local governments to have the authority to make decisions such as implementing a tax themselves.
Schools and education has most of Young’s attention. With changes being discussed for standardized testing, Young wants to allow school officials and administrators to have a voice in what students need, he said.
“I think we may need to find something other than ISTEP. There needs to be a lot of input from schools and not just the legislature,” Young said. “Johnson County schools don’t have the same issues as other school districts. I’d like to see more dialogue so schools can give input on changes on the horizon.”
Young would like to help school districts have that voice and determine what type of standardized testing or alternative would be best, he said.
The ability to represent the schools in his district is a product of Young’s career as a lawyer, he said.
“I identify myself as a common-sense conservative,” Young said. “I’m running because I think there are very few attorneys in state legislature and I believe I can bring a certain perspective to the issues they deal with. I feel like I have the tools and skill set that would serve this district well.”
Family: Not married
Education: Indiana University with a degree in criminal justice and political science. Master’s degree from Southern Illinois University.
Work: Attorney with Young and Young
Past political experience: Ran for same seat in 2012
Family: Wife, Katie; two children
Education: Philosophy degree from Hanover College
Work: Business development and community affairs at Indiana American Water
Past political experience: Worked for congressmen Dan Burton and Steve Buyer