The Washington Times-Herald

State News

October 23, 2012

Freshman lawmaker makes jump to statewide ticket

Democrats criticize candidate's stance on social issues

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

Those were the very issues that appealed to the conservative Pence. But they’re also the issues that made Democrats howl in protest.

Democrats have labeled Ellspermann a tea party idealogue, who along with Pence, is focused on a “divisive social agenda.”

Ellspermann takes exception to that description. Asked what she wants voters to know about her, she talks about her engineering and management experience with General Motors, Michelin and Frito-Lay, and her 20 years as a consultant, specializing in team problem-solving.

“I really come from a problem-solving background, that’s what I’ve spent my entire career doing, …” Ellspermann said. “It really is about finding the best solutions to problems -- and problems aren’t Democrat or Republican.”

That message won over voters in Ellspermann’s Democrat-heavy home district back in 2010, said Kathy Tretter, editor of the Ferdinand News.

“Hers was quite possibly the cleanest, most sincere campaign in the entire state,” Tretter said.

It turned out to be smart politics, but Ellspermann said she couldn’t have done it differently. “I have four daughters,” she said, of the blended family she shares with her husband, high school administrator Jim Mehling. “I knew they’d be watching me.”

If elected, Ellspermann said, she’ll work to create an atmosphere in state government where ideas of all kinds can be talked about more openly and “without fear of repercussion.”  

It’s ambitious, she knows. “Public life doesn’t create a very safe environment for legislators or public servants of any kind to think outside of the box or at least think out loud about solutions that are outside the norm,” Ellspemann said. “I think that’s unfortunate.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com

Text Only
State News
  • Our view: Throw open the doors

    As allegations and scandals continue to explode about hidden wait lists and cooked books at VA medical care facilities across the country, with hints of even more heinous findings to come, we have to wonder why it's business as usual in our nation's

    May 29, 2014

  • nws-gb011714 Land Zeppelin 2 (front page pic) Inventor hopes Bike Zeppelin takes off GREENSBURG - A local civil engineer has created a Zeppelin-shaped apparatus that allows bicyclists to ride in the rain without getting wet. Greensburg resident Jim Gorman remembers the day that inspiration struck: Nov. 22, 2011. It rained all day, an

    January 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Legislator pushes for public disclosure of former meth homes INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Wendy McNamara knew methamphetamine was a scourge on her district in southwestern Indiana, but the damaging effects of the drug really hit her when she met a real estate appraiser who’d suffered lung damage after visiting a

    December 14, 2013

  • Bird statue to be unveiled in Terre Haute Serving double duty as a baseball infielder for the American League's Toronto Blue Jays and basketball guard for Brigham Young University, 20-year-old Danny Ainge found time in March 1979 to drive from Provo, Utah, to Salt Lake City to catch an in-pe

    November 5, 2013

  • news school bill.jpg Pence announces school safety grants

    Flanked by fourth-grade members of the Ambassadors Club and student council at Cedar Elementary School here, Gov. Mike Pence announced more than $9 million in grants for schools statewide to enhance their security.

    November 1, 2013 1 Photo

  • Coats returns home to listen to Hoosiers INDIANAPOLIS -- Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Coats returned home to Indiana this week, hoping to turn the political conversation away from a failed GOP strategy that partially shut down the federal government and toward what he sees as more critical issu

    October 24, 2013

  • Congressman standing firm on government shutdown

    Todd Rokita of Indiana’s Fourth Congressional District has been an outspoken opponent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — a k a Obamacare — since it was signed into law in 2010.

    On Tuesday, the first day the federal government partially shut down in 17 years, the Republican congressman wasn’t backing down.

    October 1, 2013

  • Laws that carry automatic loss of driver's license under review INDIANAPOLIS -- The legislative study committee that proposed the massive rewrite of Indiana's felony code will soon take on another tough issue: The automatic penalty that causes thousands of Hoosiers to lose their driving privileges for committing

    September 19, 2013

  • Gingerich_AP PHOTO.jpg Prison sentence of 12-year-old prompts new juvenile sentencing law

    Three years ago, when 12-year-old Paul Henry Gingerich became the youngest person in Indiana ever sent to prison as an adult, his story gained international attention and sparked questions about whether children belong behind bars with grown-up offenders.

    June 14, 2013 2 Photos

  • Supt_Ritz 1 .jpg Ritz orders independent analysis of ISTEP results

    Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz has hired an outside expert to determine the validity of ISTEP+ test scores of nearly 80,000 students who were kicked offline while taking the high-stakes standardized test.

    June 10, 2013 1 Photo