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Indiana House District 49 Choose 1

The Indiana House of Representatives is the lower house of the Indiana General Assembly, the state legislature of the state of Indiana. The House is composed of 100 members representing an equal number of constituents. Members of the Indiana House of Representatives, along with the Indiana Senate, pass laws for the state of Indiana. House members are elected every two years.

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Amanda Qualls (Dem)

Human Resources

Biographical Information

Education Bachelor of Arts, Art History, University of Notre Dame Master of Library Science, Indiana University—Bloomington
Occupation/Current Position Human Resources Director, Win the Era (formerly Pete for America)
Campaign Phone (574) 205-9544
Twitter @amanda4in

Indiana taxpayers currently fund four different types of K-12 education: traditional public schools, charter schools, private schools (using “choice scholarships”/”vouchers”), and online education. What, if anything, would you change about the current funding structure for K-12 education?

I believe that the state of Indiana should be invested in funding and improving its public school systems. The legislation that has been put in place to support private schools and charter schools is often to the detriment of our public schools, and it is not clear that students benefit from the public support of private and charter schools. Should the state of Indiana continue to support all of these school types, I strongly believe that private and charter schools must be held to the same standards as public schools—they must not be able to turn away students, and they must be held to the same standards as our public schools.

Has the Indiana state legislature done enough to address the rising cost of health care, stagnant wages across the state, teacher pay, and K- 12 education funding? Can the state afford to do more? What would you recommend?

No, I do not believe the state legislature has done enough to address the rising cost of health care, stagnant wages, teacher pay, and K-12 education funding—among many other issues. Each one of these areas is deserving of focused attention and smart solutions, but there is legislation that can be enacted concerning any of these issues. Well crafted legislation can address some of the pain we are currently feeling as a state and the challenges that our residents confront from day-to-day.

When asking whether the state can afford to do more financially in these areas, we must consider how money is being allocated across the board, and what expenditures might potentially be decreased to allow for increased funding for these issues and in other areas of need. Additionally, we must ask what other sources of revenue may be available, such as the legalization and taxation of marijuana.

Should laws about marijuana use be decided by the states or by the federal government? What is your position on decriminalization or legalization of medical and/or recreational marijuana in the state of Indiana?

I believe that a federal reexamination of marijuana should be undertaken. However, in the absence of action by the federal government, I support the right of states to pursue changes to marijuana laws in their jurisdictions.

I firmly believe that marijuana should be decriminalized, and I support the legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational uses. Decriminalizing marijuana would reduce the load on our prison systems. Legalizing marijuana and taxing it would create a revenue stream for the state that could be put to good use in many ways, such as increasing education funding.

Some states are proposing free tuition for state colleges and universities. Do you support such an initiative? If so, how would you propose to PAY for it? If not, how would you make post-secondary education more affordable for Indiana residents?

I stayed in Indiana to attend college in part because of the generous in-state support I was able to receive. I applaud what we are doing and have done for our students, but the legislature should continue to review existing programs and explore new options to help to make college possible for every student. When considering legislation, we should also keep the brain drain top of mind. How can we support Hoosier students and encourage them to stay in Indiana after graduation, thereby building a strong future economy for the state? If we can retain our students after graduation, then we can generate more income for the state by building a stronger tax base. Those gains can then be re-invested in educating future students.

In your view, how well has Indiana done at controlling the spread of the virus? What specific steps, if any, should the General Assembly take to limit COVID-19 deaths and to help those most affected by pandemic?

There have been bright spots in the state’s COVID response, but there have also been stumbles. I wish that all elected officials had united to create the best path forward. Instead, I think we have seen fractured leadership, where Governor Holcomb has received backlash from his own party from his moves to protect Hoosiers.

There will be much for the legislature to address in regard to COVID-19 and to prepare for the possibility of future pandemics. We must address protecting the health and safety of workers on the job, and if a prolonged recession follows this pandemic, there must be a robust safety net in place for our workers as the economy recovers. We must also consider legislation to aid our students and teachers and to prepare us for disruptive events in the future. For example, many students do not have internet in their homes, and their families may not have the resources to pay for access. I would encourage Indiana to consider legislation to ensure student internet access.

In 2018 Indiana ranked 40th in voter turnout with 46.9%. Minnesota, ranked #1, had 64.2%. Would you be in favor of no excuse absentee ballots in elections going forward? Why or why not? What, if any, reforms do you propose to improve voter turnout in Indiana?

I am in favor of no excuse absentee voting by mail in future elections. Democracy depends on an engaged citizenry who get to make their voices heard, so decreasing barriers to vote is in the public interest. Additionally, from a logical perspective, we allow people to vote absentee in person without an excuse, so why should voting absentee by mail be any different?

In terms of other things we can do to increase voter turnout, I am in favor of same day voter registration, which would allow voters to register and vote on the same day. I am also in favor of an independent, non-partisan redistricting process, ensuring fair districts where voters feel honestly represented. Lastly, I believe vote centers, as opposed to traditional precinct voting, can be a benefit to the voter. We already have vote centers here in Elkhart County, and I am in favor of continuing to review the centers we have and investigate how we can place those with the county to maximize voter turnout.

We’re about to have our once-every-10-years opportunity to redraw legislative boundaries based on the results of the 2020 Census. What process should be used to draw those boundaries, and should the General Assembly do anything to prevent partisan gerrymandering, this year and going forward?

I am in favor of an independent, non-partisan redistricting process. Our districts should be sensible and the standards for districts clearly defined by the state without seeking to benefit one party over another. According to Ballotpedia, here in Indiana, “...the state legislature is responsible for drawing both congressional and state legislative district lines. ... The governor may veto the lines drawn by the state legislature.” In Indiana, we currently have a Republican trifecta, where Republicans control the house, senate, and the Governor’s office. If that does not change based on the outcome of this year’s election, it’s clear that the Republicans will come up with a redistricting plan to which they all agree. I understand the allure of drawing districts to benefit one’s own party, but gerrymandering results in uncompetitive elections and depressed voter turnout, which is not in the best interest of Hoosiers.

Voter Guide

Christy Stutzman (Rep)

Biographical Information

Indiana taxpayers currently fund four different types of K-12 education: traditional public schools, charter schools, private schools (using “choice scholarships”/”vouchers”), and online education. What, if anything, would you change about the current funding structure for K-12 education?

Candidate has not yet responded.

Has the Indiana state legislature done enough to address the rising cost of health care, stagnant wages across the state, teacher pay, and K- 12 education funding? Can the state afford to do more? What would you recommend?

Candidate has not yet responded.

Should laws about marijuana use be decided by the states or by the federal government? What is your position on decriminalization or legalization of medical and/or recreational marijuana in the state of Indiana?

Candidate has not yet responded.

Some states are proposing free tuition for state colleges and universities. Do you support such an initiative? If so, how would you propose to PAY for it? If not, how would you make post-secondary education more affordable for Indiana residents?

Candidate has not yet responded.

In your view, how well has Indiana done at controlling the spread of the virus? What specific steps, if any, should the General Assembly take to limit COVID-19 deaths and to help those most affected by pandemic?

Candidate has not yet responded.

In 2018 Indiana ranked 40th in voter turnout with 46.9%. Minnesota, ranked #1, had 64.2%. Would you be in favor of no excuse absentee ballots in elections going forward? Why or why not? What, if any, reforms do you propose to improve voter turnout in Indiana?

Candidate has not yet responded.

We’re about to have our once-every-10-years opportunity to redraw legislative boundaries based on the results of the 2020 Census. What process should be used to draw those boundaries, and should the General Assembly do anything to prevent partisan gerrymandering, this year and going forward?

Candidate has not yet responded.