Editor’s note: Republican State Rep. Peggy Mayfield is one of two candidates for Indiana House District 60. A Where They Stand interview with her opponent, Democrat Kathy Thorpe, 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 Mayfield to discuss the issues facing the state, the state’s surplus and her priorities if elected. The Q&A below includes answers by Mayfield in her own words, edited for length and grammar.
» What drew you to run for reelection?
I just finished my 10th year, and there are so many things that when you enter the legislature, you have on your mind. … And then you get in there and you realize there’s so much more that goes into running a state and you start learning about all these other areas that you might not have been as familiar with. There are always issues that need to be addressed, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to run forever trying to correct everything. But I think that as my sphere of legislation has broadened into things like public safety, and supports for disabilities and things like that, those are issues that I didn’t know going in and I just want to advance them a little bit further while I have that knowledge … before I pass the torch to someone else.
» What qualifications do you have for this office?
I’m a constituent. I have to live with all the laws that we pass just like everybody else, but (I have) certain insights being a business owner, a mother, a parent. I’m engaged in the community, so I think that that gives me a broad sense of what this area would like to see in public policy.
» What are the most pressing issues facing the state?
Education, taking up 50% of our budget, is a pressing issue, and it has changed so much over the last decades. This is nothing that’s new. There’s a lot of different ways that people want to pursue education, so addressing that is our biggest fiscal responsibility. … What we’re looking at is the outcomes, and the public sentiment that I hear is returning to the basics. I mean … teaching a student what to think, versus teaching a student how to think to come up to that solution, are two different approaches. … And that is really why I fully support school choice because I think that the best way for a student to find the proper learning environment for them is the family decision, the student and the parent being the ones able to decide.
I really want to focus on (those who are) unable, not unwilling … (to) be a self-sustaining, functioning member of society. I’m talking mostly about the disabilities sector. I think that we have an obligation to make sure that they are taken care of sufficiently.
Health care cost is something that’s been on the horizon for a few years now. We’ve launched that task force to come up with recommendations and see where we can improve health care access without lowering the outcomes. We have to maintain a good outcome (with) whatever policies we come up with.
We are in a good position financially as a state with a $6 billion surplus; that was unexpected. But … the forecasts have already indicated that we’re going to lose about a third of that right off the top in the next cycle.
» What are your top priorities?
I’m not putting these in any particular order, but public safety is one. We’re seeing a shortage of interested recruits for law enforcement, EMTs, fire and even in the medical field. We’re trying to figure out a way to not only recruit, but retain those because it’s specialized training.
Education is another because that’s the long-term; what you do now is what you’re going to get in 10 years, 20 years.
Health care is, of course, still a big issue that is just a huge portion of folks’ income, whether they’re paying for insurance or paying deductibles, especially when it becomes a catastrophic issue. It can be financial ruin for families, and the costs involved in that on par with other areas of the country. Obviously, one of the studies said that we are not; we are significantly higher, multiple times higher in many cases.
The fiscal responsibility. Again, we have a surplus. How do we deal with that on an ongoing basis?
» How will you execute those?
Most ideas are not thought up in the time period right before a session. Most of these ideas have been percolating for a couple of years. You have to get the stakeholders, you have to present your ideas, find out what their objections are. … A lot of times you think it’s a simple concept, this is a slam dunk. There is no legislation that is a slam dunk. It’s harder to pass a bill than you think. A lot of times this opposition may come out of left field with an idea that you had never thought about before on how it affects somebody, so you have to address all those details.
» What do you think should be done about the state’s surplus? How should it be spent?
(The surplus will) be eaten up by inflation. So we will … (see an) anticipated drop from about $6 billion down to $4 billion. We don’t know how much longer, if the recession or the inflation continues, it is going to continue eating into the surplus.
We’re looking at additional tax cuts, and we have to figure out exactly where we want those to be. I know that the business personal property tax has been one area we’ve talked about a couple times in the past. Maybe we can continue to hone in on the details of that on how we can get it to benefit businesses. … It’s been debated (in) at least the previous two budget sessions. Each time we’ve tried different approaches. I thought we were getting really close last time. … But then the local government folks, they came to me and said, “But it doesn’t do X,” or “Here’s our concern.” To be fair to them, they have property tax caps, so we have to be cognizant of the fact that they can’t levy or they can’t raise their taxes and they rely on what the state does as well.
» What are your thoughts on the state’s abortion law?
To put it all in one sentence, it wasn’t — and this is to quote somebody else and I cannot attribute it to the proper person — maybe it wasn’t the best bill, but it was the best bill we could get at the time.
» Do you think changes to the law will come up again during the 2023 session?
I think that there are several proposals kind of here and there that will be combined maybe into another pro-life bill. One of the concerns that have come up is local governments using tax money for abortions, so that’s a concern.
» What should the legislature’s priorities be?
Again, the one thing we have to do is our budget. … There was (also) a companion bill to Senate Bill 1, which was the abortion bill, which talked about … family funding for mothers, babies, extending those benefits to help families through those crucial years or hard times. I think we’re going to take a harder look at what we can do, and if we can expand and increase that amount of money … (and) outreach programs to make sure that the populations that need that help know that helps available. That is probably one of the biggest hurdles.
» Lawmakers will be setting the state’s next biennial budget in January. What would you advocate taxpayer dollars be spent on?
I think going to our family, children and maternal investments is one. I know we made a significant investment there, but we also made that significant investment based on a snapshot in time, what was available, and I think we now will have an opportunity to take a broader look at long-term sustainable programs.
Medicaid is federal funds that go to the states and then we decide how they’re spent. I think that a lot of those programs will get a closer look; are there areas where we can improve it?
These (school) waivers, whether we are going to look at our education funding formula. … Is there a better way to approach that?
Then can we, in some way, work with the property tax caps in place? Is there something we can do there? I know it’s in our constitution now, so we do have some limits, but how do you figure those numbers, the assessed value, the market value?
» Do you think the legislature should be spending time on social issues like critical race theory and vaccine mandates?
Those are issues that the legislature deals with because we hear (about) it from our constituents. It’s all about responsiveness. You can call anything what you want, whether it’s CRT or, but I think that parents especially after COVID started paying closer attention to what their children were learning and how they were learning it, they were a little concerned.
» How will you communicate with constituents?
I try and do it weekly, sometimes I miss a week, but I have an electronic newsletter that goes out to anyone who signs up for it. The media has their own way of hitting the hot topics, so the topics that I try and cover are what we’re doing that aren’t hitting the headlines … You can’t do policy on social media. I mean, it’s a dumpster fire, so I make myself available, my legislative assistant fields phone calls and emails, hundreds a day. Unfortunately, a lot of times I have to prioritize which ones get the attention immediately, but putting them in touch with the proper state agencies to help address their problem.
» What else would you like to say to voters?
I’m very grateful that the voters have given me this opportunity … There are 6 million people in Indiana (and) there are 150 legislators and I get to be one of them. Not only is it really cool, but it’s an awesome responsibility that I take very seriously. They have entrusted me with making decisions. My voting record, I think, pretty much speaks for itself. I’ve laid out my platform for years and I have not deviated. … It’s pretty much been the same four things: family values, fiscal responsibility, pro-Second Amendment and pro-life. I have run on those things and haven’t deviated from my position on them. If they identify with those basics, then I would surely appreciate their vote because that’s what they’re gonna get.
THE MAYFIELD FILE
Name: Peggy Mayfield
Family: Husband, Dean; Four children
Occupation: Corporate Officer, Mayfield Insurance
Educational background: North Central High School, Indianapolis; IUPUI – Purdue School of Engineering
Political experience: Current officer holder since 2012; Morgan County Clerk from 2006-2012
Memberships: National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Association, St. Martin’s Catholic Church, VFW #1257, American Legion Post 230, Insurance Agents of Indiana, Martinsville Chamber of Commerce, Mooresville Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Republican Women