Republican State Rep. Jim Lucas and his opponent Democrat Steve Schoettmer debated last night at the Seymour High School auditorium. Although they differed on issues such as education, they agreed that medical marijuana should be legalized here.
District 69 encompasses parts of Bartholomew, Jackson, Jennings and Jefferson counties.
Lucas, a small business owner, consistently referred to his belief in small government and personal responsibility. Schoettmer, a former union representative, spoke about the need for government to even the playing field between the wealthy and those struggling to make ends meet.
Education policy may illustrate the biggest disagreement between the two. Schoettmer took aim at the Republican majority at the Statehouse, accusing the GOP of “bleeding public education dry.” He championed public education, calling it a “melting pot” where children from all socioeconomic backgrounds congregate together and have the same opportunities to learn.
Lucas pointed out that the state spends over 50 percent of its budget on K-12 education. When you add post-secondary education, that amount equates to more than two-thirds of the budget. Lucas says that he supports local control of education and using taxpayer dollars for school vouchers that would allow parents more control of their children’s education.
The pair also had differing opinions on healthcare. Lucas, referring back to comments he made earlier in the evening about public education, argues that if society isn’t happy with the public education system, why would that same society think government run healthcare is a good idea? He says that the best way to bring down healthcare costs in this country is to look for market-based solutions. Lucas says that one solution is allowing the purchase of health insurance policies across state lines.
Schoettmer argues that our state and national constitutions prescribe the ability of government to help its citizens live the best life possible. That includes healthcare. He says that seven percent of Hoosiers have no health insurance coverage. Of those that do, Schoettmer says that many have high-cost policies with large deductibles. A specific measure the state could take, says Schoettmer, is to expand Indiana’s HIP 2.0 program. He argues that families and individuals shouldn’t be forced into poverty to receive assistance.
The differences between the candidates were less pronounced while they spoke about the opioid epidemic and medical marijuana. Both Lucas and Schoettmer agreed that Indiana is ready for medical marijuana. The pair also agreed that the government has a moral obligation to save overdose victims from death. Schoettmer says that addiction is a medical condition, not a criminal one, and should be treated as such. Lucas again pointed to marijuana legalization as a powerful tool to help stem the opioid epidemic. He also argued that there needs to be additional emphasis on personal responsibility, not only as it relates to addiction, but in all aspects of life.
Both Lucas and Schoettmer agreed that Indiana is ready for medical marijuana. The pair also agreed that the government has a moral obligation to save overdose victims from death. Schoettmer says that addiction is a medical condition, not a criminal one, and should be treated as such. Lucas again pointed to marijuana legalization as a powerful tool to help stem the opioid epidemic.
Election Day is November 6th.