Sustainable U.S. Senate and House of Representative candidates in Indiana.
Voting in Indiana
Indiana has a partially open primary. This means that technically you should vote for the party which you are intending to vote for in the general election, or who you voted for in the last election. It gets tricky though due to secret balloting, no one will know if you vote across party lines. Basically, this rule is unenforceable due to the very nature of the voting process. This year, Indiana’s election is on May 8th, so it’s coming up fast.
Indiana is also a mostly rural state with a heavy emphasis on agriculture and coal. Moving sustainable energy into agriculture is super important (and going to be pretty difficult) just because of all of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by cows alone. Converting the energy that farms use from fossil fuels to more natural options will be a big win for the environment.
U.S. Senator Candidates
Our Pick for The Senate: Joe Donnelly* – (Campaign Site)
- Served in the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives, and served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2008-2013.
- Served in the U.S. Senate from 2012-present.
According to his website, Donnelly supports building the Keystone XL Pipeline as well as the coal industry. Building the Keystone Pipeline encourages the use of oil and has potential environmental risks, such as oil spills and water pollution. As for coal, nearly 4 grams of CO2 are produced for every gram of carbon burnt (depending on its type, coal can contain as much as 60 to 80 percent carbon) (Source). Coal is a pretty dangerous way for America to power their lights, all things considered, and, in addition, the coal industry has lost momentum in the past several decades (probably for the best).
However, some people believe that the decline of the coal industry has destroyed the economy in areas of Indiana, and although jobs certainly do depend on coal, even more jobs can be created by using sustainable energy options. In most cases, implementing sustainable energy methods would create a job market and boost the economy. Even though Donnelly does support coal and the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline, he’s not OPPOSED to sustainable energy and seems to be more concerned with how energy affects the economy and job growth than in environmental or social impacts. We would say that Joe is more bipartisan (meaning he has stances on issues that lean more towards the middle of the political line) than Democrat.
Donnelly currently serves on the Agriculture Committee in the Senate and he also serves on the subcommittee for Rural Development and Energy. (Remember, a committee in the Senate is important because legislation that pertains to their issue is introduced in Congress by them. In this case, any legislation dealing with energy goes to the members of this committee, which currently seats Joe Donnelly and several other Senators.) If Joe is reelected, it will be the main responsibility of his constituents to remind him how important bringing sustainable energy (and the jobs that follow) to Indiana is.
Even though Joe seems a little lackluster when it comes to his voting record and stances on sustainable energy, he has the most experience in Congress and seems to have a more positive outlook on “green” issues than his opponents.
The House of Representatives
You only vote for candidates in your congressional district. To find your district (and current representative) click here.
District 1: Peter Visclosky*
- Elected in 1985
- Proven “green” record in Congress
Peter Visclosky is a solid choice for District 1. Visclosky has introduced legislation into Congress to protect the environment in Indiana and promote the use of sustainable energy. He has introduced and passed several Acts that protect lakefront areas of Indiana’s coasts (The Marquette Plan) and has fought for funding of National Parks. He’s advocated for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, and the Brownfield’s Cleanup program.
Other candidates for District 1:
- Peter Visclosky (D)*
- Larry Chubb (D)
- Tony Daggett (D)
- Jeremy Belko (R)
- David Dopp (R)
- Roseann Ivanovich (R)
- Mark Leyva (R)
- John Meyer (R)
- Nicholas Pappas (R)
District 2: Pat Hackett
- Attorney with teaching background
- Green energy + economy
Pat Hackett is our choice for District 2. She does her research. According to her campaign platform on sustainable energy: “We must move towards creating jobs through a clean energy economy, protecting necessary environmental regulations, and engaging in bipartisan talks about climate solutions. We need to re-imagine electric utilities, energy use, and environmental stewardship for the 21st century.” Not only does she believe in creating a bustling economy for Indiana, she believes in doing it through green energy initiatives.
Other candidates running in District 2:
- Jackie Walorski (R)* (Incumbent)
- Mark Summe (R)
- Douglas Carpenter (D)
- Mel Hall (D)
- Yatish Joshi (D) – Honorable mention! Joshi pushes for rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and for taking away fossil fuel subsidies. In an attempt to push for clean energy, he supports a carbon tax and cap-and-trade legislation. These plans would encourage a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through taxation, and we’re all for it!
- Roland Leech (D)
- John Petroff (D)
- Richard Wolf (Write-In)
District 3: Courtney Tritch
- Local government
- Green energy + economy
Courtney Tritch is a Marketing Executive and a Businesswoman as well as a Progressive Activist. She has also spent quite a few years working in local government positions, so she knows the ropes. Tritch wants to promote sustainability and green energy by integrating it into the economy and believes that bringing wind energy options into rural Indiana will boost state and private revenue.
Other candidate running in District 3:
District 4: Darin Griesey
- Local government
- Wind energy
Darin Griesey is a farmer, an Ex-Community Development Coordinator & Frequent Candidate for the 4th district. He’s been very involved with the community and local governments and has been a long-time supporter of wind energy. According to his website “…presidents debate the significance of climate change, and wars for resources wage globally…. believes America’s energy future rests in advanced technologies with sustainable sources. Mr. Griesey, who has been advocating on behalf of renewable energy for over 20 years, was quick to remark the 4th District is already embracing a sustainable future. He highlights the White County and Benton County wind farms, the advanced farming practices of Fair Oaks in Newton County, the Lafayette Ivy Tech Energy Center, and the zero pollution footprint of the Tippecanoe County Subaru manufacturing facility as perfect examples of these promising trends.” He also promises to use the bully pulpit to entice new investors and business start-ups towards 4th District communities, bringing new ideas and jobs in support of a better tomorrow (Check out his website here).
Other candidates running in the 4th district:
- Todd Rokita (R)* – Incumbent
- Jim Baird (R)
- Steve Braun
- Kevin Grant (R)
- Diego Morales (R)
- James Nease (R)
- Tim Radice (R)
- Jared Guy Thomas (R)
- Tobi Beck (D)
- Roger Day (D)
- Roland Ellis (D)
- Joe Mackey (D)
- Veronikka Ziol (D)
- Thomas Ballock (Write-In)
District 5: Susan Brooks* – (Campaign Site)
- Incumbent since 2013
- Open to sustainable energy
For the 5th district, there weren’t very many options for candidates with strong platforms in sustainable energy. The best option is the incumbent Representative, Susan Brooks. She’s a member of the NRA, which, although this blog isn’t about guns or gun control issues, has had numerous encounters with lawsuits due to lead bullets poisoning water sources. She also supports the building of the Keystone Pipeline and does not think that the government should police greenhouse gas emissions. She is, however, open to how sustainable energy could improve the Hoosier economy.
For this case, I would suggest looking at all of the candidates and their stances on other important issues to you personally, and voting for whichever candidate supports a different issue that you believe to be very important.
Other candidates running in District 5:
District 6: Lane Siekman
- Family farms, renewable energy, and rural economy
Lane Siekman is an innovator. He sees opportunities for growth in sustainable energy in rural district 6 and plans on incorporating the farmers and families of the area to implement new, sustainable technology. He’s particularly interested in “innovative rural economic development initiatives, including investments in farm-to-school and farm-to-table initiatives; agri-tourism programs; school gardens; large scale biomass-fired electric plants; shared agricultural processing and storage facilities; and anaerobic digesters to process cow manure into methane gas.” Siekman also believes in fair trade deals to enlist our national farmers in helping to rebuild America’s agriculture sector through sustainability and land conservation and stewardship.
Lane Siekman has developed a unique philosophy as a candidate in a rural district. He knows that his constituents need support from the rest of the country, yet he also appreciated the environmental factors that play into industrial agriculture. He is working towards uniting the two in a partnership that will benefit the Earth and the citizens of District 6.
Candidates also running in District 6:
- Luke Messer (R)* Incumbent
- Mike Campbell (R)
- Jonathan Lamb (R)
- Stephen MacKenzie (R)
- Greg Pence (R)
- Jeff Smith (R)
- George Holland (D)
- Jeannine Lee Lake (D)
- Jasen Lave (D)
- Jim Pruett (D)
- Lane Siekman (D)
- Joshua Williamson (D)
- John Miller (Write-In)
District 7: Sue Spicer
- Campaign Activist
- Supports an economy driven by sustainable energy and food sovereignty
Sue Spicer believes in a national economy driven by sustainable energy. She pledges to be a 100% renewable energy nation by 2035 and has refused to take (large sums of) money from fossil fuel industries. She believes that our dependency on corporate oil should be transferred to a dependency on sustainable energy. She is also a big supporter of food sovereignty and creating local economies based in sustainable agricultural practices. The one downside to Spicer is that she has very little experience working in government outside of campaigning for other politicians.
Other candidates running in District 7:
- André Carson (D)* Incumbent
- Curtis Godfrey (D)
- Bob Kern (D)
- Pierre Pullins (D)
- John Couch (R)
- Jason Davis (R)
- Donald Eason Jr (R)
- Wayne Harmon (R)
- J.D. Miniear (R)
- Tony “Big Dog” Van Pelt (R)
District 8: Rachel Covington
- Supports an “all-of-the-above” energy approach
Rachel Covington is big on using corporations and giving them incentives to use sustainable energy, in particular, wind energy. Covington believes in curbing greenhouse gas emissions and using sustainable energy to produce jobs in the economy. The “all-of-the-above” approach that she supports is a method of energy sustainability that weans America off of foreign means of energy, including oil. It’s a tiered approach and starts by introducing sustainable energy forums and methods into the American economy and supplementing them with oil and fossil fuels until the sustainable energy has saturated the economy. She’s aware of the floundering coal industry and how that affects her district, and she has a plan to swap out the dying and dirty coal industry with new methods of sustainable energy and jobs.
Other candidates running in District 8:
District 9: Dan Canon
- Supports alllllll of the environment protection acts
Dan Canon is really excited about protecting the environment, and we’re really excited about Dan Canon. He supports strengthening the EPA (WOW!!) dealing with issues that could potentially lead to other crisis like the Flint Water Crisis before they become a national emergency, and the right to clean air, water, and soil for everyone. He’s a believer in using science to help with global warming, reducing pollution, and targeting the root causes for climate change using private enforcement. Canon also is for ending subsidies for fossil fuel industries, which would force sustainable energy into the economy (He also supports the Endangered Species Act, a sure fire way to slow down the depressing ads about starving polar bears).
Other candidates running in District 9:
Other positions open for election in Indiana in 2018:
- Secretary of State
- State Auditor
- State Treasurer
- State House
- State Senate