Bloomington resident and military contractor Kevin Suddeth says he plans to focus on education spending and I-69 in his attempt to unseat State Representative Matt Pierce. But Pierce says Suddeth’s stances on issues conflict.
With Suddeth and Pierce both running unopposed in their respective primaries, November’s matchup for the District 61 seat – representing most of the city of Bloomington — has been set. Suddeth is a Republican, but his platform is tinged in tailored to his Bloomington audience.
For instance, he is not pro-I-69, as many in his party are. Instead, he says he’s resigned to its construction.
“I don’t think you should stand here and say ‘No, no, no. We don’t want this highway.’ It’s coming. It’s already being built. The federal government’s already mandated it. What we should do is get actively involved in determined how it comes. What it looks like. What benefit it has for Bloomington. So in the long run we the people have a voice what’s going on in our city.”
But Pierce disagrees…
“He’s absolutely wrong about that. The Governor has not found funding to really get that built. They’re making a lot of noise like it’s a done deal. And they’re got a few miles going down around Evansville. Truth of the matter is I-69 is a long way from a done deal,” Pierce said. “And so the voters are going to decide whether if they want a state representative that’s actively going to represent them on that issue or if they want someone who apparently isn’t even willing to take it on as an issue.”
Suddeth also criticizes Governor Mitch Daniels’ slashing of education budgets.
“Why are we cutting education across K through 12? The question is: isn’t there other things here in the state that we can cut that we don’t need as much as education?” Suddeth said.
But Pierce says Suddeth’s message doesn’t add up.
“It just shows he doesn’t understand the legislative process very well. I don’t think it’s consistent to be for property tax caps and then argue you’re opponent isn’t fighting hard enough for education,” Pierce said. “Because everybody knows that property tax caps are going to hobble education. Instead of cuts now, it’s like the first wave. And then next shoe to drop is when the caps are fully implemented.”
Suddeth works as a contractor at Crane Naval Base and has lived in the Bloomington area for five years. Pierce is a lecturer at IU and is running for his 5th term in the General Assembly.