(BEDFORD) - If you've been paying attention to our national and statewide elections, whether for president or for Congress, you've probably noticed the constant barrage of negativity and attacks.
However, if you would have shown up to last night's forum for candidates running for Indiana Statehouse last night at Bedford's Oakland City University, you would have wondered if you were in the right room.
The candidates kept cordial, focused on issues, and were actually, generally nice to each other.
Early on in the forum as he was addressing the crowd, Democrat Matt Colglazier made mention of the other races in the room that night, and looked over at Republican State Representative Eric Koch, whose opponent, Libertarian Al Cox, did not show up, and said, "Eric, it looks like you're a shoo-in!" with approval and laughter from the audience, and fellow candidates.
The closest thing to any sort of negativity that happened in last night's forum was Republican State Senator Brent Steele and his Democratic challenger, Colglazier, pointed out differences between their views and stances.
However, discussions of ideas and perceptions and solutions for the economy, both statewide and locally, took up all but about 10 minutes of last night's candidate's forum.
"We've positioned ourselves, we're out of debt, we've paid back a lot of our rainy day fund, and we're one of 15 states that have a surplus," Senator Steele said. "There are 35 other states that cannot say that."
"The unemployment rate in Lawrence County is 8.5%," responded Colglazier, Steele's opponent. "That is the 5th worst unemployment rate in the state of Indiana."
Eric Koch followed up saying, "In the economic development discussion, I want to recognize something going on right now that I think is really impressive, and that is the level of intergovernmental cooperation on economic development issues that is going on right now in Lawrence County."
Democratic Representative Sandy Blanton gave her take, saying, "At Reynolds, Inc., they have an apprenticeship program with one of the local schools and they send students there to work a few hours a day just to learn their atmosphere and to learn what is expected of them."
"We need to make some infrastructure improvements: water, sewer, transportation, the internet," said Blanton's challenger, Republican Brook Tarr. "If you look north of Mitchell you've got some flat area there, you've got a 4-lane highway on one side, rail on the other, great place, flat ground, granted you'd be taking some farm ground away, but it's a great place to put an industry.
The forum, moderated by OCU-B's Dr. Kay Collins and Bedford Times-Mail Managing Editor Mike Lewis lasted for right at an hour, and questions were also taken from the audience in attendance, and focused more specifically on local small business.
In the end, remember, the early voting polls are open tomorrow as well as next Saturday at the Lawrence County Courthouse.
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