By Marisa Patwa
State Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) announced on Friday, Jan. 3 at the Chandler Town Hall that he will not be seeking re-election as the state representative for House District 75 and will be retiring at the end of his term this year.
The retirement comes just after South Spencer High School teacher John Hurley (D-Spencer) announced his intention to run against Bacon, who he previously lost to in 2018.
Before first taking office in 2010, Bacon served on the Warrick County Council and was the Warrick County coroner.
"It has been an honor to serve House District 75 for the past 10 years. I will continue serving the great Hoosiers living in my district until the end of my term this year," Bacon said. "I have fought allergies for decades and due to my increased sensitivity to mold and mildew, my physicians have recommended I spend less time in the Statehouse, which is a contributing factor to my allergies."
Though, Bacon is content leaving his office knowing he accomplished several of the promises he made to constituents.
"When I ran for state representative, constituents wanted jobs, unemployment was over 8%, and it's just now over 3%," Bacon said. "I have helped lower taxes. We've done tax cuts in multiple sectors, including individuals, business and agriculture, and done away completely with the inheritance tax."
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He also worked to improve the state's infrastructure and increase public education funding.
"We have funded a 20 year road, bridge and broad-band improvement plan with no debt to our constituents or to our children in the future," Bacon said. "We wanted more money for schools. We have increased school spending each year since 2012. I leave with a feeling I have met all of the goals constituents wanted when I ran."
As of now, Bacon said he is unaware of any Republican planning to run against Hurley.
"No one has attempted (in my party) to run against me ever since the first primary election that I'm aware of," he said. "Which is why I wanted to do it now, to give someone the opportunity to do so."
As for a replacement, Bacon is hoping it is someone who has similar views as him.
"But can work with both sides," he said. "I am a Republican, yes, but just because I am Republican doesn't mean I won't work with Democrats because both parties have good ideas and we need to take the best of both and work together."
Bacon isn't completely stepping out of politics just yet, with plans to run for a local office.
"I have a passion for public service, so I plan on continuing to serve at the local level and will be announcing a run for a local office in the next month," Bacon said. "We've got a few elections this year. (It depends) on who comes out running for what. That's why I haven't made a complete decision on one yet, but I could go back to county council. I think the at-large position is still up for grabs. So we'll wait and see."
Constituent and Boonville citizen Shawn Russell of Ironworkers Local 103 attended Bacon's retirement announcement and spoke up about how grateful he is for his time in office.
"I have had a personal experience with you that affected my family in a very positive way," Russell said. "And I appreciate your hard work in the community and the stakes you've taken for worker's rights in the state even when your own party was against you at times, so thank you."
Bacon appreciated his kind words.
"One of the things I think that has happened is we have changed the outlook on southwestern Indiana in how the (legislators) understand how we are versus central Indiana and northern Indiana," he said. "We have educated them in that respect and I am happy to have done that. And I will continue to do that at the local level."
While the camaraderie is what the seasoned legislator will miss most after leaving his position.
"There's 150 people I know now that I didn't know then," Bacon said. "Those people come from all over the state and I have some really good friends now in northern Indiana. The best thing about being a state representative is you get to meet people all over and you get to know the culture of everybody else and how they grew up."