Primary candidate Q&A: House District 88


Two candidates have filed to run for the Democratic nomination for State House District 88 — Stephanie Jo Yocum and Starr Joy Hairston.

The district, currently represented by Republican Chris Jeter of Fishers, includes portions of Hamilton and Marion Counties in the Geist area. Jeter is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

Current attempted to reach out to both Democratic candidates with questions about their campaigns but was not able to reach Hairston via email or phone, and she does not appear to have a campaign website. Yocum’s responses are below.

  • Why do you want to run for this office?

I am running because I have a vision of what Indiana can be. Our current Statehouse does not reflect the people of our state. Indiana can be a place where people and businesses want to be and stay, where all people feel valued and represented.

  • What sets you apart from your opponent(s)?

Twenty years ago, I served in the AmeriCorps and my commitment to public service hasn’t waned since. My life and career is dedicated to public service. I’ve successfully led large nonprofit organizations in the education and health care fields and I am the Chair of Indiana’s commission on service and volunteerism.

  • What top three issues is your campaign focused on?

Education: Access to preschool and kindergarten for all kids, fully funded public schools, supporting educators.

Economy: The living wage crisis — anyone working full time should earn enough to care for themselves and their family.

Health care: The rising costs of healthcare, reproductive rights.

  • Rising assessed values are quickly increasing property tax bills, making it more unaffordable to move here (or stay here). How do you plan to address this?

I am a homeowner. I’ve experienced this myself. Addressing this issue is critical because homeownership is the foundation of family economic stability. We have to cap property tax increases, make known resources like assessment appeals and provide immediate relief in the form of tax credits.

  • Health care costs continue to rise sharply in Indiana — how would you propose reining them in?

While we need to continue cost-cutting strategies like capping drug costs and addressing the high costs of hospital stays, we must invest in doing more to improve the health of Hoosiers. Indiana ranks 35th for overall health and 45th in public health funding.

  • Half of the state’s budget pays for education, and we’re seeing the impact of learning loss suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic in student assessment scores and anecdotally. How can the Legislature address this issue without increasing education funding?

Public funds should pay for public education. Funding may seem high, but it’s not all going to public schools. Taxpayers are funding a private school voucher system. Last year, 64 percent of vouchers went to families already paying for private school tuition, leaving an inequitable and inadequate amount for low-income families.

  • We live in an increasingly polarized and politically divided state and nation. How will you work to lead and better all Hoosiers – regardless of whether they support you or not?

My parents, a Republican and a Democrat, are my models of civility. I am grateful for their teachings. I enjoy listening to and learning from others. I know, if we respectfully engage one another, we can find common ground. I commit to making that time and space for all Hoosiers.

  • What do you most want voters to know about you?

A Hoosier, born and raised, I spent half my life in a small Indiana town and now proudly call Indianapolis home. I am running for office because I believe we can do better for all Hoosiers, from our farms to our cities and everywhere in between.