Leatherbury files for District 73 seat

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By Vince Luecke

SALEM - A Salem attorney with Perry County ties has filed for the District 73 Indiana House of Representatives seat now held by Dennie Oxley.

Douglas C. Leatherbury filed as a Democrat but said he will step down if Oxley, who is serving his first term, filed for re-election. Oxley was hospitalized late last year after suffering cardiac arrest. Family members have said Oxley is improving but have not released details about his condition. Oxley, also a Democrat, has been excused each week from the Indiana General Assembly, which began last month.

"I ask everyone to join with me in prayer that Dennie will recover and return to his work," Leatherbury said. "If he is able to return, I will withdraw my candidacy."

Leatherbury owns a 350-acre farm along the Ohio River in Tobin Township. He has been an attorney since 1969 and has served from 1971 to 1974 as a county prosecutor, was public defender in Washington County for 10 years and has been active in Democratic organizations. He was a candidate for state clerk in 1998.

If elected, Leatherbury said he will work hard on employment and economic-development issues facing Hoosier counties. He said it's important to aid companies who remain committed to Indiana workers.

"Our citizens and their public officials, Democratic and Republican alike, have worked hard to develop and protect our economic interests. Unfortunately, during the last few years, many critical American corporations have turned their backs on Indiana and the United States and moved critical domestic industries out of our state and nation to foreign hands," Leatherbury said. "I intend to work hard to help facilitate critical industries in remaining loyal to Indiana and the U.S."

Leatherbury, who said his motto as an attorney is "I never close," will work hard to address other issues in southern Indiana, including green jobs as the state works to attract solar, wind and fuel-cell development.

"Some of that industry might be brought here," he said.

Agriculture will be another issue, one of the pillars of the state and national economy, he said. If elected, the candidate said he will be a friend to labor unions, saying the "American experience has shown that a healthy and strong economy goes hand-in-hand" with strong labor unions.

He also pledged to work to lower home and farm real-estate taxes and said he will support a constitutional amendment to "exempt homesteads and farms from real-estate taxes.

That, he said, will provide "a positive jolt for the economy and an added sense of security for the home and farm owner."

Other issues Leatherbury raised included his support of the right to bear arms and removing state interference from people's right to vote.

He also said state leaders need to support lower medical costs and the end to U.S. involvement in "unnecessary and unjustified wars around the world."