By The Seymour Tribune
The November race for the District 69 state representative seat just added another challenger.
Nancy Franke of Seymour, who has run against incumbent Republican Jim Lucas of Seymour twice in the past, is ready to try again but this time as an independent candidate.
She has until the end of the month to collect signatures of registered voters in the district to petition to get her name on the general election ballot in the fall.
District 69 includes part of Brownstown Township and all of Hamilton, Jackson, Redding, Vernon and Washington townships in Jackson County and portions of Bartholomew, Jennings and Jefferson counties.
Efforts from supporters on her behalf have resulted in nearly 500 signatures already, she said. A drive-thru signature event will be conducted from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday near the Seymour Area Farmers Market on South Walnut Street.
A second independent candidate, Katrina “Kat” Hardwick of Seymour, also hopes to be on the ballot. She, too, continues to collect signatures. Running as a Democrat is Jeffery W. Prewitt of Seymour.
Franke said she is glad to see voters will have a choice at the polls, including two local women who are passionate to see a change.
“This is not a blindsiding tactic,” she said of running against Hardwick. “I gave her my word that if the people appear to want her and the platform she stands on, I will gladly bow out.”
This marks the third time Franke has run against Lucas, who is serving his fourth two-year-term in office. He defeated her in the 2016 primary election, earning 60.5% of the vote in Jackson County, and in 2018, earning 57.7%.
Franke said Lucas has continued to create more problems for himself to the point where he has lost his credibility and standing, most recently for what many people say are racist memes he posted on his Facebook page.
“The committee removals and leadership demotions handed out to him this past month have made him a sitting duck,” she said. “He lost his ability to be the voice of the people, let alone a voice for his own agenda.”
Although historically, she has run as a Republican, Franke says it’s time to get away from the divisive nature of politics.
“The dysfunction today has stemmed from more than a decade of dysfunction within parties that have become opponents rather than teammates,” she said. “When Americans simply choose to vote for the person who has a D or R in front of their name, we get the discord that we see more prevalent than ever.”
But being an independent candidate does not change who she is or what she stands for, she said.
“Most people know me as more conservative by nature,” she said. “I have been a Republican all my life and desire to get back to working together with others so we can finally move forward.”
A former Lutheran school teacher, Franke now is employed in management at Amazon.
She holds onto conservative values and said she supports lower government spending, less government involvement, pro-life, protecting Second Amendment rights, granting equality, addressing mental health issues, reforming laws that don’t make sense and continued improvement of education in Indiana.
“With the upcoming budget session, there are going to be some difficult decisions to be made, and we need someone with the qualifications to work with others in the legislative body to be fiscally responsible and willing to work with others at the table as we tackle the budget along with many other important issues,” she said.
Franke said she hadn’t planned on running for office this year and had passed on the opportunity earlier to focus on her duties as a school board member for Seymour Community School Corp. and as a caregiver for her mother.
But so much has changed in the past couple of months, she said.
“I had received quite a few phone calls and messages to consider another run,” she said. “So many people have expressed the real desire for change and believe I am the most qualified for the job.”
Franke said the district needs a new voice to represent the issues most important to the voters.
“I am more than ready for the challenge ahead,” she said.