Brazil Times Managing Editor
ROCKVILLE -- Twenty years ago, Duane Conover sided with Democrats when it came to politics.
On Wednesday, Conover -- now a Republican -- announced his candidacy for State Representative for District 44, which covers portions of Parke, Vigo, Putnam and Clay counties.
The Whiting, Ind., native announced his candidacy for the position Wednesday morning at Kristi and Vicki's Deli, Rockville.
"I've got a pretty good handle on what's going on in this area," Conover told the handful of people in attendance Wednesday morning. "I think there's a great future in this area."
Conover has lived in Rockville for two years with his wife Julie. They have five children.
On Wednesday, Conover told the audience he wanted to help revitalize the district in addition to help bring new job opportunities to the area.
"There's work to be done," Conover said. "Putting things into motion here is what the Duane Conover candidacy is all about. I see so much work here that needs to be done and it's going to be done."
Conover told the audience of his passion for programs that could help people that live in rural communities. He expressed interest in working on beautification and weatherization programs, both of which he helped construct while living in Whiting. He added these types of programs are possible in District 44, but that state officials needed to take notice.
"Everybody else around the state has gotten a share," he said. "Why not us?"
Conover spent most of Tuesday in Brazil and said he was concerned about the amount of buildings on United States 40 that were empty.
He said bringing jobs to the area was a primary concern for him.
"The unemployment situation isn't good," Conover said. "You drive down National Avenue and see a lot of stores closed and buildings vacant. I'm looking optimistically at doing a regional-type workshop, whether I win the primary or not. That's something I'm committed to do."
Conover said he hoped to get Gov. Mitch Daniels involved in workshops to bring more industry to the area.
"Something needs to be done at the state level to bring business here," Conover said. "There is a vital need for dollars and assistance."
Conover also tackled the subject of methamphetmine in the area, saying more education was needed.
"We need more education and positiveness," he said. "We're going to put this thing down. Let's put meth to death. We've got to put these things into action and not just talk about them."
Conover said he plans to meet with current District 44 Representative and Brazil resident Amos Thomas today.
"We're going to shake hands as gentlemen," he said. "Then let the campaign begin. I run on positives, not negatives. This is not a campaign of ego and identity. I just see a lot of things that need to be done."
Although Conover announced his candidacy Wednesday, he will officially file for the position on Jan. 23, 2008, as will all other candidates.
"In the meantime, I'll lay some groundwork," he said. "I build and grow in plateaus. I'm a straight shooter and I'll work hard. I'll get things done."