Although their candidacies won’t become official until January, a veteran educator and a long-time county administrator have made it known they intend to seek public office next year.
Two years after suffering a primary loss while seeking the nomination to run for Indiana House District 59, Dale Nowlin, mathematics department chairman at Columbus North High School and Northside Middle School, said he will again seek that office as a Democrat.
Sandy Beatty, a Republican and Bartholomew County deputy auditor, said she will attempt to fill the vacancy that will be created due to term limits for current auditor Barb Hackman.
Nowlin and Beatty, neither of which have previously held public office, have been informally meeting and greeting voters at various local events.
In the May 2016 Democratic primary, Nowlin received 46 percent of the votes, losing to Bob Pitman’s 54 percent support.
Six months later, Pitman lost to incumbent Republican Milo Smith, garnering 39 percent of the votes during the general election.
After teaching in Columbus since 1985, Nowlin said education reform at the state level has missed the mark in helping students.
Recent research shows that school vouchers, for example, are not improving education, Nowlin said.
“It’s not helping the low-income students that need help the most. Instead, we’re spending a lot of tax money sending students to parochial schools who probably would have gone there anyway,” he said.
On standardized statewide testing of students, Nowlin said Indiana has “changed standards so many times, we don’t even know what the target is.”
He advocates a greater reliance on teacher-controlled assessments, which he said are more effective and less expensive than standardized tests.
Outside of education, Nowlin’s legislative concerns involve income equality, addressing the state’s opioid crisis and providing more subsidized housing.
Beatty has nearly two decades of experience working in the Bartholomew County Auditor’s office.
First hired by the county in December 1998 to work in the detention center, Beatty became a payroll administrator in the auditor’s office in the spring of 2000. She was promoted to chief deputy under former Bartholomew County Auditor Nancy McKinney in 2004.
After Hackman was selected to serve out the remaining two years of McKinney’s term after the former auditor’s death in October 2008, Beatty was retained in the leadership position.
Beatty said work in the auditor’s office, while involves addressing public concerns and handling payroll and benefits for more than 400 county employees, gives her satisfaction because it’s about helping people, she said.
“A lot of people think we make the laws and determine tax rates,” Beatty said. “But we just enforce enforcement them.”
One key reason Beatty wants to succeed Hackman is to maintain the current experienced staff.
Hometown: Valparaiso, Indiana
Education: Graduated from Valparaiso High School. Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and psychology from Alma College in Michigan, and master’s degree in mathematics education from Michigan State University.
Community involvement: First Presbyterian Church, Columbus, as elder and chair of the Adult Education Committee; Historic Downtown Neighborhood Alliance, Columbus, steering committee. Downtown Columbus Working Group.
Family: Wife, Isabel Nowlin. Three adult children.
Hometown: Madison, Indiana
Education: Attended Perry Meridian High School in Indianapolis. Earned associate degree in human resources from Indiana Business College in 1992.
Experience: 13 years as chief deputy in the Bartholomew County Auditor’s office. Employed by Bartholomew County since 1998.
Community involvement: President of the Bartholomew County Republican Ladies League, active with the local GOP party.
Family: Husband, Mark Beatty. Two adult daughters.