Open seats offer prime opportunities for Farm Bureau

The candidate filing deadline has come and gone. On May 8, the open primary election for all 100 seats in the Indiana House of Representatives and 25 of the 50 seats in the Indiana Senate will occur.

While it is too late to surface new candidates, Indiana Farm Bureau members can still have an impact on the future of their district at the Statehouse. Katrina Hall, INFB director of public policy, said voters with open seats in their districts have a great opportunity to influence the political makeup of their area.

“It’s often very rare for an incumbent of the Indiana General Assembly to be defeated when running for re-election,” said Hall. “However, in open seat districts, where incumbents aren’t running for re-election, voters can impact change that will likely last for a long period of time.”

Hall said that thorough evaluation of the candidates and the relationship building process in these open seat districts are crucial to increasing INFB’s clout at the Statehouse. Building relationships with legislators from day one can make all the difference down the road, she added.

As an individual or as a member of a county Farm Bureau board, there are several ways to learn about candidates, whether it’s by having face-to-face conversations, reading their press releases, reviewing campaign literature and website, or by attending town hall meetings featuring the candidate.

It’s also helpful to know if candidates have a farming background or if they have contacts in the ag community. Also consider if candidates are electable based on their personality and the demographics in the district.

Assessing all of these aspects should help in voting decisions and ultimately will help INFB when the endorsement process begins.

“With AgELECT endorsements on the horizon, we’ll need help from our members to identify the candidates whose political positions align well with Farm Bureau,” said Hall. “This is a crucial component of our grassroots organization, and supporting the right candidate will help us make a difference for our members at the Statehouse.”

A total of 15 state legislators are not seeking re-election in 2018.

In the Indiana House of Representatives:

Rep. Jim Baird – District 44

Rep. Greg Beumer – District 33

Rep. Charlie Brown – District 3

Rep. Wes Culver – District 49

Rep. Bill Friend – District 23

Rep. Clyde Kersey – District 43

Rep. Linda Lawson – District 1

Rep. David Ober – District 82

Rep. Scott Pelath – District 9

Rep. Kathy Richardson – District 29

Rep. Milo Smith – District 59

Rep. Steve Stemler – District 71

Rep. Tom Washburne – District 64


In the Indiana Senate:

Sen. Doug Eckerty – District 26

Sen. Jim Smith – District 45