By Anna Skinner
Scott Willis says he believes he can make a difference.
The 46-year-old Westfield resident said that his past experiences of running two small business – Arnett Management Solutions and Jarhead Holdings, LLC – and being a Marine for 23 years will allow him to make a difference at the state and the local level.
Willis announced Nov. 30 he would be running for State Senate District 20 against Luke Kenley, a Republican who has held the spot for 24 years.
Willis, also a Republican, believes he can win.
“I’m not in the opinion you should run against somebody in your own party, but I reached out to the community and got their impressions and talked to the people close to the issues,” Willis said. “From that, I walked away with the feeling I need to run. It’s time for change. I respect the service he’s had. That’s a lot to give back to the community.”
Willis said he doesn’t believe the Founding Fathers intended for politics to be a career, but to serve the community and then acclimate back into their daily lives.
Out of the multiple things he wants to focus on if he gets elected, education is at the forefront. With three kids in the Westfield Washington School District, Willis said he thinks Hamilton Co. should rise back to the top of the state in dollars per student.
“I would work with other senators to work on a more equitable formula,” Willis said. “Hamilton Co. is known to be a wealthy county, but I want to look for something more balanced. We should treat all students the same. All students are worth the same amount of dollars, regardless of where they live.”
Willis said he has reached out to many people in District 20 – Carmel, Westfield, Noblesville and Fishers – to try and learn what is most needed and wanted in those communities.
“I have reached out to several people in the community and gotten support from a variety of individuals in a variety of positions,” he said. “I’ve reached out to both the business side and not-for-profits, met with all school superintendents. I’ve met with city council members, mayors, and I spent six months interviewing 50 to 60 people and getting a feel of if there is a reason to run.”
In the 2016 primaries, there are only Kenley and Willis running for the District 20 seat.
“I wouldn’t run if I didn’t think I could win,” Willis said. “But I’m going up against someone who’s been in office a very long time, and it’s not going to be easy to knock him off his seat. I wouldn’t do this and sacrifice this time and energy if I thought there was no way I could win.”
Willis said being away from his family has been one of the hardest parts of running for State Senate, but credits his wife with being a strong woman who can help raise his family while he’s gone.
“Running for State Senate has had an effect on my family. There’re a lot of late nights, a lot of no home at nights, a lot of working on the weekends,” Willis said. “My beautiful wife is an exceptionally strong woman. She raised a 2-year-old and a 3-month-old when I was overseas in Iraq. These kinds of stresses are not anything new to her. She’s dealt with this before and has been very supportive.”
To support Willis or to learn more, visit scottwillisforstatesenate.com.
Meet Scott Willis
Family: Wife, Stacey; kids: Sophia, 12, Brenna, 10, Graden, 7. All of the Willis children go to Westfield Washington Schools.
Hobbies: Running, reading, weight lifting, spending time with family, getting ice cream, taking family trips and shooting baskets with son, Graden.
Last book read: “Flags of Our Fathers”
Served in Iraq: 2005-2006
Campaign funding: Willis self-funds his campaign.