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The Indy Chamber’s Business Advocacy Committee (BAC) announced a key state legislative endorsement for the 2018 General Election today, supporting Democratic challenger J.D. Ford in Senate District 29, which covers parts of Hamilton, northwest Marion and southeast Boone Counties.

Ford has spent much of his career in higher education, ‘paying it forward’ from his own experience as a first-generation college graduate.  His campaign platform also emphasizes education, from expanding pre-kindergarten programs and strengthening the K-12 system to providing workforce training and access to post-secondary education for more Hoosiers, aligned to the changing demands of the job market.

“We’re proud to endorse J.D. Ford for State Senate – J.D. impressed our Business Advocacy Committee as a thoughtful candidate with a genuine passion for public service,” said Michael Huber, President and CEO of the Indy Chamber.  “We believe he’ll be a lawmaker who works to bring people together and find common ground, instead of pursuing divisive politics.

“The 2019 session will include wide-ranging proposals to reform our workforce development system, and crafting a two-year state budget with public education as its largest single expense,” Huber continued.  “Getting these issues right is critical to our economy; J.D. Ford will be a constructive voice on these priorities.”

Ford also supports bias crimes legislation; the Indy Chamber and a growing number of other business groups are pushing Indiana to join 45 other states with bias crime (“hate crime”) laws, to promote an inclusive culture that appeals to a diverse and growing workforce.  SD29’s incumbent legislator has consistently refused to support bias crime bills while advocating for policies that undermine anti-discrimination protections for Hoosiers.

“Protecting Hoosiers and punishing criminals motivated by hatred is the right thing to do, and it also sends the signal that Indiana is a welcoming place for people and employers to live, work and do business,” Huber said.  “We applaud Governor Holcomb’s support for this issue; J.D. Ford will join a growing bipartisan movement to take long-overdue action on bias crimes.”

The Chamber’s BAC also noted Ford’s positions on enhancing mass transit to connect people with jobs, pursuing redistricting reform, and embracing talent and quality of life to drive economic development.

“We’re in significant agreement with J.D. on issues of importance to the vitality of our economy and community,” said Mark Fisher, the Indy Chamber’s Chief Policy Officer.  “The Indianapolis region needs representatives who are focused on problem-solving and pro-growth policies – with J.D. Ford, District 29 has the chance to elect a new Senator who will listen to their concerns and offer a practical perspective on issues like jobs and education.”

The Indy Chamber BAC will release additional endorsements for the Indiana General Assembly and other state and local races in weeks to come.