By JASON MOON
Cloverdale resident Darwyn Nelson recently announced his intentions to seek nomination to run for the District 44 Indiana State Representative seat on the Republican ticket.
The seat serves all of Putnam County and portions of Parke, Clay and Vigo counties.
Last week, Andy Thomas -- the incumbent -- announced he would not seek reelection, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family and continue teaching at Ivy Tech Community College, Greencastle.
"I made a decision (last week) to run," Nelson said. "This came up so quick. I wasn't planning on doing this.
"Andy has done a great job. I've always supported Andy."
Thomas, a native of Brazil, was elected to the District 44 seat in 2002.
He is currently finishing out his second term.
Nelson has an extensive political background.
He has served as a precinct committeeman and was a state delegate for Putnam County.
In addition, he has worked on several other political campaigns.
He is currently the Republican precinct committeeman for Jefferson Township.
"I know the district," Nelson said.
Nelson said he planned to campaign on several issues, but would focus on three, including the state budget, property rights and education.
He said he hoped to maintain the current state budget under the direction of Gov. Mitch Daniels while also wanting to provide initiatives for new state income revenues.
Nelson said he also supports the Major Moves program and a statewide common tax in lieu of current property tax formats.
"We've got a lot of positive things going," he said.
In regard to property rights, Nelson said he hoped to strengthen legislation for more appropriate property owner rights, provide a plan of action for future land development and initiate legislation for more grass-root common sense involvement on local planning and zoning boards.
Regarding education, Nelson said he hoped to initiate legislation that supported a well-balanced curriculum in local schools while providing support to strengthen the commitment for present mandated education programs.
Nelson retired in 1999 from his career in agri-business and is currently a faculty teacher for Vincennes University.
He and his wife, Janice, live in rural Putnam County.
Several others have thrown their hat into the ring recently as well, including Putnam County resident Ken Eitel, Clay County residents Fritz Maurer and Amos Thomas, and Parke County resident Jim Meese.
A Republican caucus will take place at 7 p.m. on Aug. 2 at the Putnam County Courthouse Annex to select a replacement for Thomas on the November ballot.