(Aurora, Ind.) – After a year off from serving in elected office, an Aurora resident is looking to put his county government experience to use at the Indiana Statehouse.
Tom Cheek filed to run as a Democrat in House District 67 on Friday, the final day for candidates to declare their candidacy with the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office. He announced his intentions with supporters outside the Aurora Public Library on Second Street this Monday morning – his birthday.
“I want to be the voice of southeast Indiana,” he said.
Cheek was a Dearborn County councilman in District 3 until he lost the November 2010 general election to current councilman Jim Hughes. He owns and operates a successful business with Leisure Pool & Spa in Lawrenceburg.
Cheek’s decision to try for District 67 was made over the past three weeks after receiving phone calls urging him to run, he said.
“I was recruited, so to speak, by the House caucus in Indianapolis,” said Cheek. “I met with a young lady last week who gave me all the ins and outs. I asked her all the hard questions. I asked for the positives and then I asked for all the negatives.”
The 2012 General Assembly’s passing of House Bill 1001, the right to work bill, may have been the final straw in drawing Cheek into the election. The legislation bars companies and unions from forming agreements requiring non-union employees to pay a fee as a condition of employment.
“If somebody is going to represent you, whether it be an association, an organization, or a union, you should have to pay to get the representation just like everybody else. It’s not fair to go along for the free ride,” he said.
It is Cheek’s first run for state office. He is unopposed in the May primary, setting up a November campaign against Republican incumbent in House District 67, Randy Frye of Greensburg.
“I know (Randy Frye) is a retired union firefighter so he belonged to a labor organization for the length of his working career. He turned his back on his fellow firefighters when he voted in favor of the right to work bill, so I don’t know how he can explain that,” Cheek said.
His record from 12 years on county council legitimizes his campaign.
“I fought the battle. My record up there speaks for itself. I was always the guy that stood up and said ‘This is not right and this is why it’s not right.’ At my last meeting I have one of the county council members tell me ‘we’re really going to miss you. You were the conscience of our council.’”
After redistricting approved last year, District 67 includes Ohio and Switzerland counties, as well as parts of Dearborn, Decatur, Jefferson, Jennings and Ripley counties.