Educators running for seats in the Indiana General Assembly for the most part fell short of enough votes on election night, but at least one teacher candidate plans to continue advocating for his school and community.
John Hurley teaches career and technical education in Spencer County, and was running for a seat in Indiana’s House of Representatives. He lost to incumbent Ron Bacon, but Hurley says his work isn’t over.
“Elections end, issues don’t, and that’s something we gotta keep focusing on - the reasons I got involved in this,” he says.
Hurley says overall, he was glad to get to know his community better on the campaign trail. He says others should try it too.
“I would encourage anyone that has an interest to get involved and run for an office, whether that is state representative or if that’s a county council if that’s school board or township trustee,” he says. “If there’s an interest there, I think that’s something everyone should try to pursue at some point.”
Several other teacher candidates across the state also failed to rally enough votes, including Kevin Leineweber, the challenger of House education committee chair Bob Behning.
Indiana State Teachers Association president Teresa Meredith says ultimately, the teachers who ran for office helped boost awareness of education issues and different ideas to address them, or could give someone else the encouragement they need to run too.
"That's always a good thing, when educators are more aware that their colleagues are stepping out because I think it will inspire some of them."
At least one teacher already in the general assembly, Melanie Wright, managed a narrow victory to keep her seat. Another teacher, Tonya Pfaff from Terre Haute, also won her race and will represent Indiana's 45th district.
The next legislative session begins in January.