Chesterton Tribune

 

 

9th District House Pat Boy defends seat against Dion Bergeron

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By KEVIN NEVERS

In the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, Democrat Patricia (Pat) Boy will defend her 9th District seat in the Indiana House against a challenge from Republican Dion Bergeron. Early voting begins Oct. 6 at the Chesterton Town Hall.

The Chesterton Tribune invited both Boy and Bergeron to respond to candidate questionnaires. The Tribune set word limits and reserved the right to edit for length.

(1) Age, place of residence, occupation.

Boy: 70; Michigan City; retired; served four terms, 2004-18, on the Michigan City City Council; serving first term in the Indiana House.

Bergeron: 45; Michigan City; real estate agent, formerly an over-the-road truck driver, trainer, and correctional officer at the Indiana State Prison.

(2) For Boy: Why are you seeking re-election to the 9th District seat of the Indiana House? (75 words) There are still things I want to work on, including minimum wage and environmental safety. My concerns are social, economic, and environmental justice for all, especially for the most vulnerable among us.

For Bergeron: Why are you seeking election to the 9th District seat of the Indiana House? (75 words) I want to represent those who live there. All of them. Iím not a career politician. Iím a blue-collar husband and dad tired of political elites making laws that affect the ďrest of us.Ē I believe that our representatives should be one of us. They should be easy to communicate with, understand the problems faced by the lower and middle classes, and be willing to speak up for those that elected them.

(3) For Boy: Describe your achievements in office (100 words). I have introduced 15 bills (limit of 10 first year, limit of 5 second year). Only one bill was heard in committee (determined by committee chairs) but it called attention (loudly) to the problems we have experienced in NWI with lack of reporting of environmental spills. I have spoken on other issues and introduced amendments during session on second reading. I have attended numerous events, seminars, and tours, learning about topics that affect many different people.

For Bergeron: Describe your qualifications for office (100 words). What makes anyone qualified to represent their constituents? I have real-world experience working with, for, and leading a diverse group of people from across the social and economic spectrum. Iíve been on both sides of the criminal justice system, Iíve traveled the length and breadth of the country, and I can communicate with people from any background. I listen to all sides instead of purely partisan activities. Iím willing to vote based on whatís best for my district, rather than just because a party wants me to vote a certain way.

(4) Differentiate yourself from your opponent and indicate in particular why you believe yourself to be the better candidate (100 words).

Boy: I have never met my opponent, nor heard anything from or about him. I already have the legislative experience, the drive to work on change where needed, the real-life experience in the nightmare of health care, and the temperament to work with a variety of people. I donít come from a family of wealth or power. Iíve lived in the same moderate house for over 40 years in Michigan City, and Iíve been involved in numerous volunteer organizations.

Bergeron: I am a better candidate because I want to represent the entirety of the district. My opponent focuses exclusively on Michigan City, despite its representing only half the population and a small piece of the total area. My opponent has voted against lower health care costs for Hoosiers, based entirely on partisan politics. I will vote based on the needs of the district to reduce those costs. I will work to bring high quality careers to the district and protect the ones we have. My opponent has voted against the interests of community resources like Blue Chip Casino.

(5) What are the key issues in this race? (150 words)

Boy: I donít know my opponent, but the top two issues in 2021 will be the budget and redistricting, and thus will be key issues in the race as well. The budget must be balanced, not only financially, but also in terms of how it will affect the residents, workers, businesses, schools, unions, and corporations in the state. Redistricting must be done as well. Gerrymandering (drawing political boundaries to give your party a numeric advantage over an opposing party) must be eliminated where at all possible, creating districts that are fair, compact, and where possible, representative of communities of interest.

Bergeron: The key issues in this race are quite simple. Career politician (incumbent) versus blue collar perspective (me). My opponent hasnít held a private sector job in over 20 years. They havenít accomplished anything in their time as our State Representative. Theyíve voted against key issues such as lowering health care costs. Do we want to continue down this predictable path or do we want to try something new? We can trust the politicians to get us out of this mess theyíve created, or we can start taking our government back—at every level. We need a representative that remembers they work for us. Someone that is going to represent the whole district, not just small parts of it. Big government versus small government. Being told what to do versus telling them what we want. Business as usual versus real representation. Those are the key issues in this race and others.

(6) Given the record surge of new COVID-19 cases this summer--though not so far accompanied by the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths reported in the spring--do you believe Gov. Holcomb's Back on Track Indiana program was phased in too quickly? (75 words)

Boy: The program was a little quicker than expected, but the recession that followed the pandemic was detrimental to both individuals and businesses. It needed to happen. I think the biggest problem is that the shutdown started too late.

Bergeron: No.

(7) Do you support Gov. Holcomb's mask mandate? Why or why not? Do you believe he was right to remove the originally proposed criminal penalties for refusal to wear a mask? Why or why not? (75 words)

Boy: I fully support the mandate. It has demonstrated that the masks protect others, but later news supports the fact that wearing the mask can also protect the wearer. COVID-19 is so new that no one has immunity, and itís killing people. Itís a global problem—a pandemic. I believe there should be a penalty of some kind, but I think the Governor removed it because itís next to impossible to enforce.

Bergeron: I do not support the mask mandate because every area of the state is different. Porter County is very different than Marion County or even St. Joseph County. LaPorte County is different than Lake County. He was right to remove the criminal penalties because legislation is the responsibility of the General Assembly, not the Governor.

(8) Whatever else the pandemic has done, it's revealed a profound rift between those who privilege collective responsibility and those who privilege personal choice. How can a legislator thread the needle between those two values and make law both acceptable and beneficial to all citizens? (75 words)

Boy: Society thrives and grows when we work together. When we ignore the collective and focus solely on the personal, we start to lose that growth. When we focus solely on the collective, we alienate many individuals and again lose that growth. Laws can have unintended consequences, so we need to look carefully at how it will affect both sides of this society, both the give and the take, without endangering society as a whole.

Bergeron: It is up to a legislator to know their district, the residents, and the concerns of those residents. They are supposed to represent the voices of their constituents. It is up to the lawmaker to learn what their constituents want and use that knowledge to create laws and only when the government can do a better job than the citizens themselves.

(9) The pandemic has disproportionately impacted minority and impoverished communities not only in the State of Indiana but across the country. What can the Indiana General Assembly do to address the root causes of this disparity: unequal access to health care, chronic conditions related to socioeconomic status, the low incomes of frontline workers? (75 words)

Boy: Access to health care includes available care sites, transportation to those sites, and cost of services. Without any one of those, communities suffer. Chronic conditions are ignored when any of those is missing. Low income workers can be above the maximum income to qualify for Medicaid, yet canít afford insurance. An increase in minimum wage and increased funding for public transportation would be a good place to start.

Bergeron: Affordable and accessible health care is a priority for me. The General Assembly has been working to lower the cost of health care for Hoosiers and will have my full support in making it happen. I want to increase the pay for home healthcare and assisted living workers. These are front-line workers that are underpaid and underappreciated. Many of them are paid less than fast food workers despite the greater requirements.

(10) What should the No. 1 priority of the General Assembly be in the 2021 session? (75 words)

Boy: The No. 1 priority, and our main job, is the budget. But we also have an obligation to address issues that affect that budget. How do we spend those funds? Do we help protect big corporations with tax cuts, or do we help protect schools and teachers? We need to find a middle ground. The next priority, No. 2, would be fair and equitable redistricting, working together to create contiguous, compact districts.

Bergeron: Stabilization and recovery. Small businesses across the state are struggling or bankrupt and we need to identify what steps we can take to help them and implement those immediately. Walmart and Loweís will be fine. Iím worried about the mom-and-pop stores across the state that donít know whether theyíll be open next year or even next month.

 

Posted 10/1/2020

 
 
 
 

 

 

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