The son of a state legislator from Salem who died last month has said he would like to fill the seat his father held for over a decade.
J. Michael Davisson, the oldest son of late-Indiana Rep. Steve Davisson, R-Salem, has announced that he would like to pick up where his father left off.
Rep. Davisson, who had represented House District 73 since 2010, died Sept. 19 at the age of 63 after a lengthy battle with cancer. A Republican Party caucus is expected to fill the open seat on Oct. 21.
House District 73 currently includes all of Washington County, as well as parts of Jackson, Orange, Lawrence, Clark and Harrison counties.
However, state Republicans have approved redrawing that district to include the eastern half of Bartholomew County — including Flat Rock, Haw Creek, Clay, Clifty, Rock Creek and Sand Creek Townships — as well as portions of Decatur, Jennings and Shelby counties.
Republican lawmakers gave final approval Friday to the new district maps and sent their redistricting plan to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb for his signature late last week. Holcomb signed the redistricting bill late Monday afternoon.
“For 11 years, I watched my father work tirelessly to serve the people of his district and to improve the lives of all Hoosiers,” J. Michael Davisson said of his father. “I would be honored to have the privilege of carrying on his work.”
Currently, it is unclear whether J. Michael Davisson — described as a “lifelong resident of Salem” — would be able to comply with residency requirements to be eligible for re-election next year if he were appointed to serve out the rest of his father’s term.
Candidates for the Indiana House of Representatives must have resided in the districts they are seeking to represent for at least one year prior to the general election, according to the Indiana Election Division’s most recent candidate guide, which cited the Indiana Code.
House District 73 is up for grabs in next year’s Nov. 8 general election.
To run in House District 73, J. Michael Davisson would likely have roughly a month to be residing in eastern Bartholomew County or certain areas of Decatur, Shelby or Jennings counties to run for re-election next year in House District 73.
The city of Salem would be located in House District 69, which is currently represented by Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, according to the district maps.
Overall, portions of Washington County would be divided up among House Districts 65, 69 and 70, according to the new maps. House District 65 is represented by Republican Chris May. House District 70 is represented by Republican Karen Engleman.
J. Michael Davisson said in a news release that no one will ever be able to replace his father, but he is committed to serving with the same sense of loyalty, duty, integrity and respect that he exemplified.
“Having campaigned alongside Dad, I know the district, its people and their issues,” he said. “In addition, I was fortunate to have had countless conversations with him about the legislation he worked on and why it mattered to his constituents and to the state of Indiana.”
J. Michael Davisson, Salem, graduated from Salem High School and earned a bachelor’s degree of Indiana University. He is raising his two children after having lost his wife to cancer earlier this year.
A highly decorated and disabled Army combat veteran of both Afghanistan and Iraq, J. Michael Davisson retired as a sergeant first class after 17 years of military service. Already a partner with his father in family-owned Good Living Pharmacy, J. Michael Davisson has assumed full-time responsibility for business operations.
A member of Salem Church of the Nazarene and Salem Masonic Lodge 21, he served as Washington County Young Republicans chairman and served for nine years on the board of directors of the Indiana War Memorial Commission, having been appointed by former Gov. Mike Pence and reappointed by Gov. Holcomb.
— The Seymour Tribune contributed to this story.