A longtime county employee and elected official was selected to represent a newly drawn seat in the state legislature, where he hopes to put a focus on local issues, such as who decides whether to form a new town.
John Price will leave his job as a Johnson County Commissioner to represent parts of Johnson and Morgan counties at the statehouse.
With a total of 18,378 votes in Morgan and Johnson counties, or 71 percent, Price was named state representative for district 47. He had faced a challenge from Democrat Chris Grider, who earned a total of 7,615 votes, or 29 percent.
The boundaries of the seat were redrawn and now include more of Johnson County and make longtime State Rep. Ralph Foley no longer eligible to represent the district.
HOW YOU VOTED
State Representative District 47
Chris Grider (D) 29%
John Price (R) 71%
THE PRICE FILE
Name: John Price
Education: Franklin Community High School; college credits through Indiana University, Valencia Community College and Northwestern University
Employment: Owner and president of JLP Enterprises and of Irrigation Solutions
Family: Wife, Mary; four children
Price said the election is bittersweet because he is leaving county government, where he has worked and served as an elected official for 36 years. Price is also owner and president of JLP Enterprises and of Irrigation Solutions.
He hopes his time in Johnson County will prepare him for his next challenge, he said. Price will begin a two-year term as a state representative immediately. He will be resigning from his seat as one of three county commissioners, and the Johnson County Republican Party will need to name a replacement to finish his term, which runs until the end of the year.
“It is a new journey in my life and I hope I can go up there and make a difference,” Price said.
Price’s top goals in the next legislative session stem from issues brought up in Johnson County.
He wants to propose or work with another lawmaker on legislation that would put the decision of creating a new town to a public vote. Currently, state law leaves the decision to county commissioners, an issue that has been raised locally because of a group that wants to create the town of Center Grove.
He wants to consider a proposal that would make library district boundaries more consistent with city boundaries. In Greenwood, residents have complained that the library district’s boundaries are not the same as the city’s, meaning some city residents are not included in the city library district.
And he wants to look for ways to bring more funding to local governments.
But that pledge has to be balanced with a new responsibility of setting the state’s two-year budget, Price said.
Price has worked on the county’s budget as a county council member for four years and then as a commissioner for nearly four years. He plans to have the same goals of spending only what is being brought in and finding ways to cut spending and operate more efficiently.
But he also knows about the issues local governments have faced with their funding, including shortfalls and decreases in money for road work, and he wants to address those concerns as well.
One option he wants to consider is finding ways to get money collected locally back to local governments. For example, the state fuel tax is collected by local gas stations and then sent to the state. The state gives some of the money back to counties and cities for road work, but part of the money goes to state offices, such as the Indiana State Police and Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Price wants to find ways to get more of that money back to local governments, he said.
Any decisions made at the statehouse impact local governments, and Price wants to consider those impacts, especially on budgets, before approving anything, he said.
He plans to continue talking with local government officials to find out about the issues facing their areas, so he can bring those to the statehouse, he said.
“The people from downtown as well as the people from local jurisdictions need to be willing to sit down and have these conversations,” Price said.
As a state lawmaker, Price expects to feel pressure from the local government officials he has worked with for years to introduce and vote on proposals that would benefit their communities.
But he knows he will feel pressure from fellow state lawmakers, too.
He plans to consider the residents of his district with every vote, and try to do what he believes is best for them.
“I am not always going to win, but if you are constantly trying, you are going to do some good,” Price said.