Editor’s note: Democrat Kathy Thorpe is one of two candidates for Indiana House District 60. A Where They Stand interview with her opponent, Republican State Rep. Peggy Mayfield, can be found here.
Two candidates are seeking votes to represent Indiana House District 60.
Incumbent State Rep. Peggy Mayfield, a Republican, will face Democrat Kathy Thorpe in November’s general election. Indiana House District 60 was recently redrawn following the 2020 census, and now covers the majority of Morgan County along with portions of northeastern Monroe and northwestern Johnson counties.
Mayfield, a business owner of Martinsville, was first elected to the seat in 2012. Thorpe, a retired nurse from Martinsville, previously ran for Morgan County Coroner in 2020.
The Daily Journal met with Thorpe to discuss the issues facing the state, the state’s surplus and her priorities if elected. The Q&A below includes answers by Thorpe in her own words, edited for length and grammar.
» What drew you to run for this office?
I’ll be honest with you at the time, there was no one to contest (Mayfield), and I have different views than what she has, and because of that, I thought, “Well. This is my calling, so this is what I’m gonna do.” I decided to run against Peggy Mayfield and I’ve met her a few times. … I have lobbied at the Statehouse before and I’ve talked with her. From that standpoint, you know, I realized that there were a few more other things that we don’t see eye-to-eye on and then the more I read up on things, that’s why I decided this is what I need to do. I’m happy to do it.
» What qualifications do you have for this office?
I’m a concerned citizen. I’m a retired nurse. I used to work for Planned Parenthood back in the late 80s. I used to lobby at the Statehouse for Planned Parenthood … I’ve been involved with a lot of different things. I worked with Purdue University on a study that we had just completed down Martinsville with Morgan County. We completed that and now we’re starting a five-year study with the National Institutes of Health. (The study is) pretty much about the environment. There’s a lot of ground contamination down there, and there’s a high cancer rate. We’re trying to do a correlation between the two of them and to see what’s (happening) because … it’s been proven it can be environmental for some of the health issues. What we want to do is get statistics so we can try to get things cleaned up a little bit better.
» What are the most pressing issues facing the state?
Oh, there’s a lot between those two (women’s health and the environment). I think the teachers need more pay. I think they need to be reimbursed for all the supplies that they have to buy to make class studies go easier. There’s still a lot of children, I don’t care what district you’re in, that the families they don’t have the money for school supplies. I think that needs to be taken care of.
I’m big on health care. … I worked at IU for a long, long time and IUPUI and I see how the studies go. I know it takes a lot of money to make the medicine. I know that they have to do studies to get the statistics, you know, what side effects and so forth. They pay a lot of people to get paid well to go down there and take this you know for different studies. … But some of these medicines are like years and years and years old. I personally take a blood thinner. It’s a shot, and I take it generic, and it’s like $6,000, and it’s old. That doesn’t make much sense. Now, obviously, I’m not paying $6,000, but I mean, some people are if they don’t have insurance … I think medications need to be addressed. I think it’s a human right; health care should just be a human right.
» What are your top priorities?
A woman’s right to choose, but that falls in the health care category because that’s all it is. … (I was) just laying in bed just chilling and almost all these commercials have, when they talk about the abortion issue, these women are like eight, nine months pregnant that they show on there. … Some people don’t understand what this is about, and they see this commercial … and it’s people think that they’re that far along when they go and get an abortion. Most people, they barely even know they’re pregnant. I think that (commerical is) misleading, and that bothers me. … But I know the idea, they want to show you ads about pregnancy. … I just want people to get the correct information. If they’re pro-life, God bless them, that’s their decision and they should never ever have to be in a position for them to ever have to terminate a pregnancy. I hope that never happens to them.
The environment; there’s so much more that can be done. IDEM is very good about cleaning some stuff up down in Martinsville, but just even for the whole state of Indiana. Gary’s not my district, but there’s so much contamination that needs to be cleaned up, snd it shouldn’t be at taxpayers expense. It should be the corporations; they’ve got the money to clean it up. It’s their mess.
Teachers need more money to be reimbursed; that’s a biggie for me. Because there’s a lot of teachers that aren’t making that much money, and they have their own home and family to take care of. And then they’re taking care of all their 25-30 children they have in the classroom. That takes a lot of money. … So No. 1, they need more salaries that they can even put out to be reimbursed.
» How will you execute those?
(I’ll) talk facts to everybody because there’s a lot of misleading information out there. Again, it’s my opinion against them. … Hopefully the voters will look into it and see who’s saying what and what’s correct. We (also) need to put some more control over the companies that maybe didn’t think they were illegal dumping at the time.
» What do you think should be done about the state’s surplus? How should it be spent?
(It should be spent) on all the issues I addressed. Why would you have $6 billion just laying there? Granted, it’s making money in the bank, but I think that $6 billion can be used on some of the issues I addressed.
» What are your thoughts on the state’s abortion law?
I don’t approve. The story is that it is health care first and foremost. That’s what that is. It shouldn’t have anything to do with “Who knows what a woman is doing where?” because it’s her business between her and her physician. … I’m a retired nurse. I know what fetal development is and all this stuff. It’s not anything viable at the certain time most women usually have (abortions). … Usually, from my experience, six weeks was kind of the best time or the earliest time they can do it. … Indiana had a state law at the time … that was like … 12 weeks in a clinic setting. We rarely ever, ever had anything at 12 weeks. There were a couple that I can recall of women that were going in with infertility and everything was going great. They’re pregnant, and then all at once things are starting to not grow correctly … where they would probably have lost the fetus or the embryo at that time. … It’s science too. I go to church, I believe in God. But I do believe God gave us the knowledge to be able to do it correctly.
» Do you think changes to the law will come up again during the 2023 session?
Oh, yeah. You’ve seen all the protests, we’re not gonna let that go. The majority of those women you see out there protesting, that doesn’t mean they’ve all had abortions. It just means it’s nobody’s business. It’s the woman’s choice between her and her physician.
» What should the legislature’s priorities be?
We need to definitely bring up this subject of a woman’s choice. We’ll hopefully have new people that have different ideas, maybe they have some better ideas that we can all share with each other and see how it goes. But yes, this isn’t a done deal.
» Lawmakers will be setting the state’s next biennial budget in January. What would you advocate taxpayer dollars be spent on?
I’m going to say health care. … I know some people that are on Medicare, Medicaid … they’re able to get some health care, but it’s not an expense to them depending on how much money they make. A lot of them have to work more to keep this, but I feel bad for people that work hard at a good job and pay all this money to their company for insurance and it doesn’t pay for much. Some companies are good; some you have to still pay a fortune for your medicine. A lot of that can be a national thing, but it can be a state thing also. …Teachers, I just think they need more money. They need to be reimbursed.
» Do you think the legislature should be spending time on social issues like critical race theory and vaccine mandates?
It’s just so bizarre. How do you even address something like that? Books, schoolbooks that goes with the teachers; teach the facts. You don’t teach how a particular religion believes and if they believe that (same religion), God bless them, but not everybody has the same religion. We have freedom of choice and freedom of religion. There are different kinds of religions out there. If yours is yours, and you believe that and everything, that’s wonderful because that’s your God. … But you can’t have one flat view for all these different people that are … in the state of Indiana.
» How will you communicate with constituents?
I have a Facebook page and email. I’m not big on TikTok. My grandkids are getting on TikTok.
» What else would you like to say to voters?
I just feel everyone needs to vote. It’s their not God-given right, but it’s their right, and it’s very important. … My point is, you need to vote so you can change these things. … You really should vote (in order) to be griping, but the majority of the people I’ve known at different times are the loudest … and I was like “Well blah, blah. You vote?” and they said, “Well I don’t vote.”
Why don’t you vote? “Because I don’t like either one of them.” … This is your American right is to vote. You should be proud of that because a lot countries don’t have that.
THE THORPE FILE
Name: Kathy Thorpe
Family: Three children
Occupation: Retired nurse
Educational background: Emmerich Manual High School, Indianapolis; Marian College, Indianapolis
Political experience: Unsuccessfully ran for Morgan County Coroner in 2020
Memberships: Hoosier Action