We continue our series of guest posts from candidates running for public office here in Indiana. Today’s contribution comes from Dr. David Blank, a Republican, running in Indiana House District 99.
I am a board-certified emergency physician and have practiced medicine in Indiana for the past 16 years. I am a partner and board member of a small business that provides emergency medicine services to the St. Francis hospital system. I served two terms on the board of directors for the Indiana chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (InACEP), a group that champions ideas that improve emergency care. I am a fourth generation Ben Davis High School graduate with strong family roots on the Indianapolis west side, where the district now runs. My wife and I have 4 small boys, and it’s my concern for their futures that made me run for this office. My experiences in medicine give me a common-sense, science-based, non-partisan approach to problem solving that is surely needed at the statehouse.
The majority of economists agree that the bulk of jobs will come from small businesses. Small businesses drive the economy, and will lead us out of this unemployment crunch. The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) , a national, small business organization, rated Vanessa Summers number 99 out of the 100 state representatives in Indiana for supporting legislation that promotes small business and job growth. I am a small business owner, understand the needs of small businesses, and will encourage small-business growth in the district.
Vanessa summers voted against school reform measures for over 17 years. During that time period, school drop out rates rose to 50%. Half of our children who started the race, did not finish, or receive the prize. Now, In a tough economy, where jobs are scarce, people are judged neither by the color of their skin, nor by the content of their character. They are judged by their qualifications. Without a high school diploma, our young people have almost no chance of finding a job. In statehouse district 99, most of those young people are minorities.
Education is the key to success. It is the foundation upon which people can rise out of poverty, to make better lives for themselves, and provide a future for their families. Vanessa Summers stood by and allowed literally thousands of children over 17 years fail to receive a decent education. The majority of these children in statehouse district 99 are minorities. While test scores continued to drop, and drop-out rates climbed, she sided with the teacher’s union which demanded no changes be made. Why? She needed their special-interest money to get re-elected. I have a real job, and am not dependent on lobbyist money to make my decisions. I believe education is the one, single thing that the state must do well. Everything else we try to accomplish hinges on education. I support pre-school education. Studies show that successful early-childhood education leads to higher graduation rates later. I see our universities, colleges, and vocational schools as great assets as well as a driving force for economic and workforce development in Indiana. I will work to expand our higher education system, to provide quality choices for our young Hoosiers.
Issue : Neighborhoods
No one would argue that much needs to be done to restore the neighborhoods in statehouse district 99. We may have more boarded-up homes than any other district in Marion County. Many of these homes have been abandoned for years. Vanessa Summers has been in office for 22 years. It is during this tenure that these neighborhoods have crumbled around us. What has she done to bring back the glory of these historic neighborhoods?
Crispus Attucks is an historic High School for both statehouse district 99, and for the city and state of Indiana. Built in 1927, it has been a source of pride for the Black community since it’s founding. For decades, it has provided excellent teaching, sports programs, and acted as an anchor for the Indianapolis Black community and Indy’s Near Northwest side . 2013 will see the first graduating class from Crispus Attucks High School in over a decade. While Vanessa Summers was a representative, the school had been downgraded to a middle school. And as she voted against charter or magnet school creation, she opposed restoring Crispus Attucks to the great school it was, and is. In fact, she continues to vote against the creation or funding of any more schools like Crispus Attucks. Schools like Crispus Attucks anchor the community. We need to do more to protect neighborhood landmarks, to give residents a sense of ownership and pride. It holds a neighborhood together.
My grandfather had a saying: “Never time to do it right. Always time to do it over.” He meant that too often, we hurry through a job, and do it poorly. Then we have to go back and spend more time to get the job done right. Vanessa Summers has done a poor job during her time in the legislature. She voted against school reform when we all knew it was needed. During her tenure, the neighborhoods have continued to decline, with more homes becoming vacant each year, and no signs of a turn around. My grandfather would say that it’s high time we found someone who has the knowledge and skills to get the job done right.
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