Two Republican candidates gunning for House District 69


Incumbent Republican Rep. Jim Lucas of Seymour is facing a challenge from one candidate for the GOP nomination for Indiana House District 69 seat in the May 7 primary. The winner will face Democrat Trish Whitcomb in the Nov. 5 general election.

Brian Savilla of Brownstown, who is a U.S. history and government teacher at Brownstown Central High School and a football coach at Brownstown Central Middle School, said he decided to run for the House because he believes he can serve the people better than Lucas.

“I know I can serve the people better than our current representative,” Savilla said. “As a government teacher and former representative in West Virginia, I believe I have the knowledge and experience to be an effective representative for District 69. This district has a strong Christian, conservative value structure to it, and I am more than willing to compare my record as a representative and citizen versus his when it comes to those principles or anything else.”

Lucas said he initially ran because he wanted to make a positive difference in peoples lives through transparency and abiding by the Constitution.

“My first experience with public service was when I joined the Marine Corps at 17,” he said. “After that, I became active in the local Republican Party and ran for and was elected to Seymour city council at-large in 2007.

“In 2008, I became discouraged with our national politics and personally started and ran the We the People group in Jackson County with money from my own pocket. I ran for city council at-large again in 2011 and was elected to a second term, which I had to resign from after running for and being elected as state representative for District 69 in 2012. I have been elected six times since and want to continue to serve the people.”

The most pressing issue facing the state is “always taxes and spending,” Savilla said.

“We have a welfare state that is unlimited in many aspects, and I believe that we should set time limits on how long someone can collect benefits from the state,” Savilla said. “There is a big difference between a temporary hand-up and enabling generations of people at the taxpayers expense. I also believe our tax system needs to be restructured, mainly because of the traditional nickel and dime approach that taxes us in a hundred different ways. Same as with the value of college classes and degrees, I believe there should be a transparent tax code that is simplistic and shows the people exactly what you’re being taxed and where it is specifically going.”

Savilla said his “biggest dream” is to get rid of the tax system (including property taxes) and move toward a flat tax rate.

Lucas said the most pressing state issue is “unchecked immigration.”

“I fully support someone that wants to come here legally, is properly vetted and can prove they are who they say they are and wants to work and live according to our laws and assimilate into our communities,” Lucas said. “What we are seeing are far too many people coming into our communities and not abiding by our laws and established social structures. There are too many people driving without insurance or a license. Oftentimes there are too many people living in a single residence, and they are straining our resources as they send millions of untaxed dollars out of our state. I am currently working with our policy team to establish what a state can and cannot do regarding requiring a state ID card, matched with fingerprints (not a driver’s license) to work, rent or buy property. I am also working on legislation to hold temporary agencies more accountable for their identification system and also putting some teeth into laws that highly discourage uninsured driving while never having received a license.”

When asked what the biggest challenge facing Indiana in the next five years, Savilla said “illegal immigrants being purposefully sent to our communities.”

“They are bringing untold amounts of problems, such as increased burdens on taxpayers, lost revenue for hospitals, workers that are undercutting wages and jobs, drugs, trafficking and diseases,” Savilla said. “It is blatantly obvious that the Biden administration is trying to undermine our sovereignty by opening our borders to people from across the globe.”

When asked the same question, Lucas said, “There are many issues facing the state, but I believe Medicaid is going to be our biggest long term challenge. We are seeing an explosion in the need for Medicaid services and this will wreak havoc on our budget if they are not kept in control, either by forcing cuts in services or raising taxes. Medicaid is a program for those that truly need help and we must first make sure that the truly needy are receiving responsible help.

“Next, we must ensure that those that could be helping themselves are shown the tools to help themselves. Lastly, we must audit and investigate fraud and prosecute it to the fullest extent of the law. Sadly, Medicaid pays for almost half of the births in Indiana and this course is fiscally unsustainable.”

Savilla said as a state representative, he hopes to accomplish the same goals he has had as a teacher.

“I want the people to be aware and knowledgeable about their government activities, be willing to hold debates over policy in a loving and respectful manner, and change the perception that politicians are far too often self-serving and there’s nothing we can do about it,” he said. “I will not play the games, nor will I be corrupted by money or power. I will prove to my students and everyone else that you can make a positive difference without compromising your morals or soul. I am here to serve God and the people, and I will be a representative that the district can be proud of for a change.”

Lucas said some of his proudest accomplishments as a representative of House District 69 include maintaining a 100% rating with Indiana Life to Right and fighting for and protecting gun rights.

“I authored HEA1284, which protects our right to self defense and is nationally recognized and used as model legislation throughout the country,” Lucas said. “I have been steadfast in my support of parental choice in their child’s education and helped Indiana become nationally recognized on this issue. Personally, I enjoy making myself available to all constituents at all times. My cell phone and personal email are on my cards and although we may disagree on some issues, I always listen to what people have to say.”

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