Endorsement: Cindy Reinert for Indiana State House District 58

In lieu of a written endorsement of lawyer and long-time political activist Cindy Reinert (running in House District 58), I'm choosing to reprint in its entirety her answer when I reached out to her looking for an idea of her gun policy:

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Today is Valentine's Day.  While I'd like to write something about romance, I feel compelled however to write something about guns.
My father grew up on a farm in Seymour.  His dad and he had guns. My dad is 88 years old, and he still has guns.  My son-in-law has guns. My daughter has one.  Many of my friends, and/or their partners have guns.  They are not mentally ill, and they are responsible gun owners.  They have shotguns, rifles, handguns.  Their guns are registered.  The ones that need permits to carry, have them.
While I would never want to take a gun away from someone, I don't understand the need for civilians to own semi-automatic rifles.  These guns can kill hundreds of people in minutes.   But I have yet to have anyone tell me a purpose for assault rifles.  Do we want the military to have these weapons? Absolutely.  Do we want a neighbor who might be struggling mentally or emotionally to have them? No.
I believe in the Second Amendment.  I understand why it was written, and what its purpose was.  But it is no longer the age where hanging out on the “bad” side of town might get you shot.  No, today you might be in your church.  Your children may be learning to do long division.  Your parents may be shopping for groceries.  Maybe your daughter teaches disabled kids.  Or your mom or dad.  Maybe you’re on your first date with someone and you go to the newest movie.  Maybe you are just minding your business walking down the street.
It’s time to take big NRA money out of politics. 95% of Americans believe that everyone who owns a gun should have a comprehensive background check. A majority of NRA members believe that assault weapons should be banned. There is a blood money price for children’s lives, and the NRA is willing to pay it.* I am unwilling to take blood money and will search for ways to reduce gun violence in our communities here in District 58 and in our State. Please contact me with your ideas on gun laws. I’m listening.

When this is the refrain we hear from our politicians in the aftermath of tragedy, and when everyone is as politically unafraid to take this stand, our country will be a better, safer place. Thank you so much to Ms. Reinert for sending this to me, and I'm incredibly happy to count myself among her supporters. 

You can follow this race and find information on how to help Ms. Reinert's campaign HERE.

Endorsement: Kevin Leineweber for Indiana House District 91

I've spoken about the sheer number, depth, and diversity of the Democratic slate of candidates for 2018 to the point of cliche on this site. With teachers and their students taking a central role in our national debate over the last few days, it is worth pointing out once again how many educators have become determined to have a voice in the political process and to bring their perspective to the national discourse.

One of these educators, Kevin Leineweber, is LEAP Forward's latest endorsed candidate.

Kevin is a teacher, a coach, and a school administrator raising his five children in Indiana's 91st district. A physics teacher, he is President of the Indiana Earth Science Teacher's Association and has centered his campaign on strengthening education and expanding public school options in the state. As a scientist with a Master's Degree in Geoscience, he is committed to working toward a clean energy future and protecting Indiana's natural resources. 

Of course, LEAP Forward's primary focus is on improving representation when it comes to gun laws, and on that topic, Leineweber had this to say:

I am not against hunting or people having guns, but I do not believe that the average person needs to regularly have a firearm with them. I am in favor of gun laws being reformed. I am in favor of very tough registration and ownership laws. A person should not be exempt from background checks when purchasing a firearm. As a foster to adopt parent and school teacher, I have had 7 background checks in the past 2 years, and I cannot imagine why purchasing a gun would have less strict requirements. Additionally, as an educator, I would like to see more education about firearm safety.

Leineweber would represent a dramatic improvement over the 91st district's current incumbent, Rep. Robert Behning, who has been a reliable vote for the NRA agenda in the Indiana House, voting five times for NRA-backed legislation on bills we graded during the 2017 session. 

Educators across America are finding their political voice. In the case of Kevin Leineweber, we hope Indiana listens. 

You can follow this race and find information on how to help Mr. Leineweber's campaign HERE.

Endorsement: Mark Hinton For Indiana State House District 39

In November, all 100 members of the Indiana House of Representatives will be up for re-election. Republicans currently hold a 70-30 advantage in the body after being in the minority as recently as 2008. With control of Senate with a 40-9 edge and the governor's mansion, the GOP has total control of the state government, and unsurprisingly the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gives the state a D- for its gun laws, and the state has a gun death rate of 12.7 out of 100,000.

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To help improve this, LEAP Forward is happy to endorse Mark Hinton, who we believe will provide new voices and more reasonable solutions not only to the gun debate, but to all the issues the state faces.

A lifelong Hoosier, Mark is running on a platform focused on properly funding public education, infrastructure, and addressing the gender wage gap. He's committed to taking a different approach to political service, committing to hold regular district meetings, offering full transparency in his decision-making, and explaining his votes to his constituency. 

His opponent, Rep. Jerry Torr, received a perfect negative score based on his actions during the 2017 legislative session and is one of the most pro-gun incumbents in the state house. As Hinton points out, Torr "has sponsored or co-sponsored very dangerous bills that allow individuals to bring guns to school, bring guns into statehouse, bring guns into domestic violence situations."

In contrast, Mark opposes the worst of these bills, the "Constitutional Carry" legislation that would make Indiana a "Guns Anywhere" state. With the US Congress considering Concealed Carry Reciprocity, battles like this one in state houses are no longer local issues, and he understands what is at stake. 

In his bio, Hinton writes:

The most significant role I play is that of father to my 14-year-old daughter.  Her future and that of all Hoosiers is the reason that I am running for this office.  We are at a critical point in Indiana’s future.  We must not only address the problems that we are facing (opioid crisis, education, wage growth, infrastructure) but we also need to be proactive in setting policy for the future.  We need a legislature that addresses problems proactively, before they take a huge toll financially as well as in the lives of those affected. 

That approach is one that is sorely needed in the Indiana House, and we look forward to Mark bringing his voice to a politics that is in desperate need of it.