Dist. 15 state representative race heating up
Challenger cites ‘brain drain’ in Indiana as his motivation to run
A Dyer Democrat is running for state representative in Dist.15 hoping to defeat incumbent Rep. Hal Slager, a Schererville Republican.
Dyer, Schererville, parts of Griffith and St. John make up the district.
Chris Chyung, 25, is a financial analyst.
Slager, a retired certified public accountant who served on the Schererville Town Council for 10 years, is seeking his third term in the Statehouse. Slager did not return calls or emails from the Post-Tribune.
Chyung said he is running for the office because so many of his peers left the area after graduating and state policies don’t do nearly enough to retain its best and brightest.
“Those kids aren’t coming back to buy homes, raise families, or start businesses in Indiana, and we have a brain drain problem across the entire state,” Chyung said. “We need policies to address the student debt bubble while also highlighting opportunities in the skilled trades, apprenticeship programs and other college alternatives.”
Chyung said Indiana’s skills gap is an issue he would love to work across the aisle with to ensure every Hoosier has the opportunity to climb the ladder of prosperity.
“Our wages are some of the lowest in the nation while the cost of health care, food and housing are outpacing wages,” he said.
Chyung said legalizing medical cannabis would be a boon for Indiana’s economy, as other states have benefited from new investment and job growth in this sector.
“Veterans support it, and we need to put pressure at the federal level to introduce some common-sense regulations and a path to legalization,” he said.
Chyung said the people of his district are sick of school referendums and want to be able to keep more of their tax dollars in their own school district.
“Too much of our money goes to unaccountable online schools and failing schools outside of our community,” he said. “Hoosiers feel like they’re being forced to subsidize two school systems: one public and one private. My family previously voted for my opponent for his promises to fix the funding formula, but the lack of progress in the past six years and the diversion of more money than ever to outside of our district — on top of another referendum in May — was another motivator for me to run.”
Chyung said he will not be accepting campaign donations from any corporations/corporate PACs.
“I don’t believe that while a legislator makes rules around Pfizer’s drug prices that Pfizer should be allowed to pay them, regardless of if they are a Republican or Democrat,” he said. “This is the first step to lowering prescription and out-of-pocket costs for Hoosiers and putting the people’s interests before lobbyists’ interests.”
Slager’s website highlights his authoring of the South Shore bill that resulted in $6 million per year for 30 years coming to Northwest Indiana.
“The economic potential of that project is expected to be $170 million more in personal income by 2033 in Lake County alone,” he said.
Slager said he attempts to resolve issue as quickly as possible, but if legislation is required, the process begins long before the session.
Slager’s priorities are keeping taxes low.
“Government never seems to have a taxing problem but rather a spending problem,” he said.
He also prioritizes maintaining a favorable business climate.
“If we can have everyone working then wages will rise and the local economy will grow,” he said.