Listening sessions help Ellspermann outline priorities for SW Indiana

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By The Staff

As candidate for Indiana House District 74, I have spent the last several weeks conducting listening sessions in Chrisney, Boonville and Tell City. The purpose for the sessions was to learn and hear firsthand what is important to the citizens of Perry, Spencer and Warrick counties. The comments shared were both heartwarming and heart-wrenching.

Parents and grandparents want career and job opportunities for their young adult children so they can be near their children and grandchildren. As parents of four daughters, my husband, Jim, and I understand. We have one adult daughter living and working in Louisville and another in Las Vegas.

This wish is almost universally shared in our small towns. Further, citizens are keenly aware that communities cannot thrive if they shrink or "flat-line." Yet, near-stagnancy and, in a few cases, even shrinkage is what communities in District 74 experienced in the past decade.

This district deserves strong leadership to engage communities in programs which will help them become vibrant ... such as the Indiana Home Town Competitiveness Program in which Ferdinand was a pilot community engaging leaders, growing entrepreneurs and attracting our young people back.

Next we heard the need for economic and community development across the counties ranging from the Boonville Bypass, Spencer County infrastructure projects and Tell City industry and commerce attraction.  We heard that growth should be controlled, that is, for the good of the community and county versus a few. Our city and county economic development entities and elected officials are working hard, but they need a state representative who will work with them to get things done. I look forward to that role.

I am already working with NSWC Crane in my role at USI to connect local industry and entrepreneurs with contract and technology opportunities. Crane, a federal research laboratory located just 60 miles north of us, currently spends $1 billion with Indiana businesses and another $700 million is "leaked" to national contractors.

How about attracting some of those national contractors to Perry, Spencer, Warrick and Dubois counties? There are economic growth opportunities, even during tough economic times, if we are willing to work hard together to develop them.

Finally, citizens voiced a strong expectation that their elected legislator should "remember that you represent us, not the lobbyists, unions, PACs and others who want to influence your vote."

"Honesty and integrity" was the second strong message. I absolutely agree and, further, I promise to remain present and engaged in your communities after I am elected.

I am committed to continuing the listening sessions in the New Year in communities including Huntingburg, Santa Claus, Rockport, Cannelton and Dale. I hope you will join us at a future session.

Feel free to call me at (812) 489-0737 or e-mail at Sue@SueEllspermann. com if you want to organize a meeting in your community or within a local organization. Your opinions really do matter to me.

Ellspermann is a candidate for state representative District 74.