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Bios, Q&A: State House District 59

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Name: Milo Smith

Age: 63

Political party: Republican

Office sought: State representative, District 59

Occupation: Small business founder and owner (Tax Consultants Inc.)

Education: High School graduate, real estate broker, certified tax representative

Prior elected offices held, and when: District 59 state representative (first elected 2006, held 2007 to present)

Prior elected offices sought, and when: Bartholomew County recorder, 24 years ago.

Community involvement: Family School Partners, Council for Youth Development, elder and greeter at First Christian Church.

Family: Wife, Diane; four grown children: son, Chris; daughters, Melissa, Lauren and Abby.

Name: Ryan Lauer

Age: 36

Political party: Republican

Office sought: State representative, District 59

Occupation: Senior test technology engineer, Cummins Inc.

Education: Bachelor of Science in biochemistry, Indiana University; completed requirements for Bachelor of Science in mathematics, Indiana University; completed coursework for Master of Science in chemical informatics, Indiana University.

Prior elected offices held, and when: Bartholomew County Council, 3rd District, 2011 to 2014 (council president pro tem 2013, council president 2014)

Prior elected offices sought, and when: None.

Community involvement: Grace Lutheran Church, congregational chairperson; co-founder “Save Eos”; Community Corrections Advisory Board; Sheriff’s Merit Board; co-chair Uncommon Cause 2012; Columbus Indiana Philharmonic violinist (previously); Computer and Data Processing Board, president 2013; Minds on Math mentor at CSA-Lincoln (previously); Columbus Arts District Retail Committee.

Family: Wife, Blair; couple expecting first child in July.


Why do you think you are the best candidate for this job?

Smith: I enjoy connecting with constituents and personally assisting them in finding solutions to their problems. As your state representative, I have and will continue to listen and address the issues of each constituent, regardless of party affiliation. My experience and hands-on approach will enable me to continue successfully offering legislation that addresses our community's needs.

Lauer: This representative seat is owned by the people. The best candidate is your decision to make, not mine. I will bring strong and needed leadership to improve education, lower taxes, attract good jobs and protect your privacy. I do not take money from special interests. I will serve you earnestly, honestly and with integrity.

Next year state lawmakers will be crafting another two-year budget. Describe programs or projects that should be a priority. Also, which ones do you think should receive more or less funding?

Smith: Our first priority is to protect taxpayers by passing a balanced budget with no tax increases. Next year, we must review our revenues before we make any commitments to increase spending. We must keep investing in K-12 education, roads/bridges, the Hoosier economy (our workforce). If revenues allow for increased spending, our priority should be educating each student.

Lauer: Our priorities should focus on limiting government; lowering taxes and regulation; stopping federal overreach from the EPA to the NSA and protecting your privacy; cutting waste, fraud and abuse; reducing administrative costs of government; local government ethics reform; clear, meaningful measures for our schools; fully funding kindergarten; keeping education local and focused on students and high standards.

What issues would you personally address by writing legislation, and why?

Smith: I want to find a fiscally responsible way to continue reducing taxes while providing needed services expected by our citizens. We must change current law that penalizes a worker for taking a job that pays less than his/her unemployment benefit. Educational testing guidelines must improve so that they accurately reflect the students' capabilities.

Lauer: I will pursue legislation that promotes exceptionally high academic standards and local flexibility for our schools; protects your privacy from the federal government collecting our email, cellphone and credit card data; ensures your Social Security number is protected; repeals antiquated wage laws which stifle competition; protects the Second Amendment.

Gov. Mike Pence has championed cuts in certain taxes to create a better business climate in Indiana to attract economic development and jobs. Should this be the template for economic development in Indiana, or should there be another focus?

Smith: Pence's tax-cutting initiative is a small part of his plan to attract economic development and create better-paying jobs. The rest reduces taxpayer-funded debt by $128 million in state bonds. Our balanced budget provided cash funding for $225 million in state and university capital projects — saving taxpayers $160 million in interest — and $430 million for road and bridge improvements.

Lauer: Gov. Pence posed a clear, conservative challenge to eliminate a backward tax hampering local business growth. My opponent did not fight to meet this challenge. I will fight for an attractive business climate that makes Indiana competitive with other states and countries for good jobs while retaining an even playing field between our counties.



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