Where they stand Q&A: Ryan Lauer

State Representative District 59 GOP Republican candidate

Name: Ryan Lauer

Political party: Republican

Age: 40

City of residence: Columbus

Occupation: Technical specialist/test technology engineer

Education: Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, Indiana University, 2001

Previous offices held: Bartholomew County Council, 2011-14 (president, 2014)

Previous offices sought: State Representative District 59, 2014 and 2016

Community involvement: Grace Lutheran Church Council president, chairman-elect and chairman; Grace Lutheran Church Ministry Management Board, Sheriff’s Merit Board, 2011-14; Community Corrections Advisory Board, 2011-14; “Save Eos” campaign co-founder, 2006; Uncommon Cause co-chair, 2012; M2 Minds on Math mentor at CSA Lincoln, 2010-11; Computer & Data Board, 2011-14 (president, 2013); Job Review/Classification Committee, 2013–14; Columbus Indiana Philharmonic violinist, 2006–08; Musician’s Council, elected in 2007; Columbus Arts District Retail Committee, 2013 – 2014;  Paideia Christian Homeschool Co-op debate judge, 2014.

Immediate family: Wife, Blair; two daughters and a son

Ryan Lauer Q&A

Q: As one of five states without a hate-crime law, should Indiana pass a law that would allow judges to deliver stiffer penalties for crimes of bias?

A: Judges have wide latitude to increase penalties for crimes with hateful motives and should. I support harsher penalties for violent crimes and heroin/meth dealers who are killing people. All violence is hateful and motives should be considered in sentencing, but hate-crimes proposals do not cover all biases and hate.

Q: In the aftermath of school shootings, what steps can Indiana take to create a safer environment for its students?

A: School safety must be a priority and our children deserve to learn in a safe environment. As a father, I want to ensure our schools have qualified security, regular assessments, action plans and restricted access. Our kids must also be encouraged and comfortable in reporting threats to school officials and authorities.

Q: Should handgun license fees in Indiana be maintained or eliminated? Why?

A: I believe every law-abiding citizen should retain their full Constitutional rights. I will protect and defend all of your rights including the 2nd Amendment. The Constitution should be the only license needed to exercise your right to bear arms. No fee required.

Q: Growing numbers of children are at risk due to impacts of escalating opioid abuse. What are some first steps the state should take?

A: There is a crisis in the Department of Child Services (DCS) with record numbers of our most vulnerable children being grossly underserved. DCS must be reformed and the fostering process streamlined. The opioid and meth epidemic must be attacked quickly through increased awareness, stronger enforcement and innovative avenues for treatment.

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