By Desiree Williams
State Rep. Jerry Torr, the Republican incumbent for Indiana House District 39, is running to fill the seat for a 23rd year. He is facing a challenge from Democratic candidate Mark C. Hinton.
Torr is a sixth-generation Hoosier from Putnam County who graduated from Greencastle High School in 1976. He studied orchestration, composition and film scoring at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, Calif., and returned to Indiana in 1979 after graduation.
“I did some music stuff for a while, but you get married and have stepkids and have to take care of the family and have a steady income, so I got into the insurance business around 1983,” he said.
Torr’s twin brother was the first to get involved in politics by contributing to a gubernatorial campaign in 1980 and later transitioning to work in the lieutenant governor’s office, which Torr said sparked his interest in politics.
“I never thought I would be a candidate myself until I got into my mid-30s,” he said. “I had kids in public schools. (I was) paying property taxes and working in the insurance industry, which is highly regulated by the state, (and) I realized how much impact state government can have on your daily life.”
In his role, Torr was instrumental in passing the Daylight Saving Time bill in 2006 as well as House Bill 1001, Employee’s Right to Work, in 2012. He also was named Government Leader of the Year by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce in 2005 and 2012.
Torr said he is running for re-election so that he can continue to be a part of the team that drives economic development in Indiana.
- Workforce development: Remove the divide between the skills future employees are learning versus the skills employers are requesting.
- School funding: Ensure suburban schools receive a fair allocation of the state’s budget.
- Redistricting: Introduce a bill to create a non-partisan redistricting commission to end gerrymandering.