County assessor tries for Indiana House of Representatives

A county office holder has embarked upon his second effort in three years to be elected to the Indiana House of Representatives.

Lew Wilson filed his candidacy to seek the office of District 59 state representative after incumbent Milo Smith announced Jan. 11 that he would not seek reelection.

Other Republicans who will be vying with Wilson in the May Republican primary are John D. Counceller, Joanne Flohr and Ryan Lauer.

Both Wilson, the two-term Bartholomew County assessor, and Lauer, a former county council president, challenged Smith in the 2016 GOP primary.

Garnering 47 percent of the votes, Smith won over Lauer’s 39 percent and Wilson’s 14 percent.

Six months later, Smith won 61 percent of the vote over Democrat Bob Pitman to earn his sixth consecutive term.

After becoming a regular attendee of the Third House legislative sessions in Columbus, Wilson listed several areas of concern.

Wilson described the opioid crisis as the most urgent and pressing problem that could dramatically increase the costs for first responders, hospital services and child services.

Saying the drug crisis and child service problems are interrelated, Wilson expressed support for a review of the Indiana Department of Child Services.

Since Columbus has joined a rapidly growing list of Hoosier cities with well problems, Wilson said the state needs to develop better environmental sources that cities and towns can turn to for guidance and assistance.

Regarding education, Wilson is calling for an expansion of pre-kindergarten to include all low-income families, as well as returning more control of education reforms to the local level.

In the area of workforce development, Wilson said he believes the pace of investment into training Hoosiers for better-paying jobs needs to be increased. Such efforts would allow employees to contribute more to their communities, as well as better meet the basic needs of their families, he said.

Working with both the Indiana County Assessors Association and the Association of Indiana Counties Board, Wilson has testified before committees within the General Assembly several times on assessment issues since 2011.

Lew Wilson

Age: 71

Current office held: Bartholomew County assessor, now in his second term.

Education: Columbus High School, 1964; attended Milligan College in Tennessee; Leadership Bartholomew County, 2008.

Community: Works with Right to Life, and is active in his church.

Family: Wife Bettie; four adult children; nine grandchildren

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5636.