Republican incumbent Ron Bacon is facing newcomer Democrat John Hurley for the position of state representative for House District 75, which comprises portions of Pike, Spencer and Warrick counties.

Bacon, 71, has held the seat since 2010 and faces 31-year-old Hurley, a teacher from Richland City in Spencer County who is running for office for the first time.

Bacon, who lives in Chandler, said he thinks Indiana is in great shape, partly thanks to his efforts in office.

"When I was first elected, everybody was complaining about the unemployment rate. We didn't have jobs, we were losing businesses," he said. "So our focus as a party caucus was to start getting jobs, and to do that, we cut the personal income tax rate."

Bacon said since he has been in office, Indiana taxes have been cut 10 times.

"We've gotten down the corporate tax rate so businesses want to come to Indiana," he said. "We've worked with local government to do tax abatements and it started working, and we're doing it on a massive level throughout the state. And that brought hundreds of new companies and lots of new jobs."

Bacon said the biggest issue he wants to tackle if re-elected is helping to secure quality people for all of these new Indiana jobs.

"Now we don't have enough workers," he said. "We're trying to get our workforce educated and improved and get free education to those who need jobs. We're trying to get them brought up to speed through apprenticeship programs."

Hurley said he believes he can help create well-paying jobs if he is elected.

"That is something that can bring people into the state," he said, "and it's something where you want a career that has benefits, not just a short-term job."

Hurley said he would do that by reinstating common construction prevailing wages.

"It sets certain rates for certain state jobs, so some places couldn't get undercut on wages," he said. "The result (of it being eliminated) was that we've had wages stagnate in this state for quite a while now. Essentially, what it protected in a way is that you would have quality wages for quality work and would have skilled and trained workers on the job and that's no longer the case, and so I would like to see that put back in place."

Hurley, who is in his ninth year of teaching technical education, said his experience makes him the right candidate to work on education issues at the statehouse.

"I have a particular perspective on the education issue as far as working with the community with a career in technical education," he said, "and I've been in the rural area of the state my entire life, and I think that's something we need in Indianapolis."

Bacon said education is also an important issue to him as well.

"Schools were not being funded equally," he said. "If you were in the Indianapolis school system, kids got $9,000 a year from the state, and in Warrick County, we got $5,000 per child when I was first in office."

Bacon said he worked to get that big discrepancy fixed.

"Every child should have the same amount of money to get educated," he said. "So now, Warrick is getting over $6,000 per child."

Hurley said he doesn't believe that a lot of the politicians in Indianapolis passing legislation are actually impacted by that legislation, especially when it comes to education.

"That stuff is making an impact on our lives. The people I work with are going to see it, my family sees it," he said. "A lot of people may pass a bill or legislation but don't contact the individuals it has an effect on and someone my age is going to see those."

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Bacon said his goal as state representative is to be accessible to his constituents and listen to them.

"My number is in the book. You come to my house and knock on the door and I'll answer it," he said. "I'll do what's good for us and promote southwestern Indiana because we now have a really good core of representatives down here who work together."

Bacon said he's proud of his record of bipartisanship.

"Every bill that I've introduced has a Democratic sponsor or co-author," he said. "I won't do a bill that won't have a Democrat. A right-to-life bill is the only big issue we have."

Hurley said although he is a Democrat, he is more of a moderate and wishes there was more bipartisanship in the Indiana state legislature.

"I have personal friends in both political parties and individuals in both political parties I look up to," he said. "I want people to work together. That's what I'd like to see."

Bacon said he hopes people will vote for him if they are happy with what he has accomplished thus far.

"And if not," he said, "then vote for the other guy."

Hurley said he encourages everyone to vote, no matter which party they consider themselves affiliated with.

"Please look at all these candidates," he said. "We have great people running and wanting to serve, so please go and vote."

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