Warrick County Council member Cindy Ledbetter announced her candidacy for the Indiana House of Representatives District 75 seat last week.

Ledbetter, who was elected to the county council in 2018, filed paperwork in the Statehouse in Indianapolis last week to affirm her candidacy for the seat which encompasses most of Warrick, southern Pike and southwestern Spencer counties. The position has been held by current Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) since 2010.

Ledbetter, also a republican, said she has great respect for Bacon and has a similar background. She said after hearing of Bacon’s decision to retire from the position she decided to run for the seat and be “a voice for the people.”

“I want to be a voice for the people and running for the House District 75 seat gives me a chance to make a difference on a larger scale,” she said.

Lednetter said her varied background gives her a leg up compared to other candidates. She is a nurse practitioner who specializes in mental health, has over 25 years of medical, business, and administrative experience.

In addition, Ledbetter has managed both for profit and not for profit businesses and has had ownership of a small manufacturing firm and a restaurant.

“I have worked in both administrative and patient care roles in healthcare and I have managed both for profit and not for profit entities,” she said. “I think having a diverse background Is very important when being involved in legislation that affects people’s livelihoods and outcomes.”

Ledbetter said she will have four main priorities if she’s elected to the position. She said her priorities include helping rural communities preserve their population and workforce, mental health/substance abuse, education and agriculture.

When it comes to workforce problems, Ledbetter said population is growing in certain areas, but that population is simply shifting from other areas in the region. She said an alignment in economic development and workforce development can help bring people from outside the region.

“Locally we are excelling in health care innovation, but are falling behind in manufacturing. In addition our local population growth is stagnant and we are seeing a rise in poverty,” she said. “When elected I will work to help to identify the gaps in communication, data, information and services so that we can meet the goals and objectives necessary to improve our local workforce as well as our local population and income levels.”

Ledbetter said education has remained a big issue for several years and is currently dominated by debates surrounding teacher pay. While this year’s state budget will provide 50% of its revenue to K-12 education, she said the struggle has been getting that money into the hands of teachers.

“I am not and have never been in favor of increased bureaucracy and the burden it places on business, education or healthcare,” she said. “We must take a collaborative approach one that places responsibility not only on the state, but also includes the teachers union and the local school corporations.”

Ledbetter said there is already momentum to make tackling opioid addiction — including heroin and painkillers — a top priority.

“In order to combat substance abuse in Indiana we must build awareness while reducing stigma,” she said. “We must set in place policies that allow people who are addicted to drugs to get help from the state without entering the penal system and we must make it a priority to increase the number of mental health providers in our state.”

Ledbetter said another major focus for her will be on innovation in the agriculture industry to help mitigate the increasing costs. She said Indiana is the tenth largest farming nation in the state and 96% of farms are family owned and operated.

“Innovation can help producers to reduce their operating costs to ensure a higher returns on their agricultural enterprise,” she said. “Emerging technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way agriculture is consumed, handled and produced. When elected I will work to ensure that legislation is of benefit to our farming industry.”

Ledbetter will first run in the Republican Primary in May along with Rick Martin who previously announced an intent to run for the position. The deadline to file to run in the primary Friday, Feb. 7.

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