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Candidate Q&A: Genda vs. Woods in Indiana House District 41
Republican Mark Genda faces Democrat Greg Woods for the Indiana House seat in District 41
Republican Mark Genda faces Democrat Greg Woods for the Indiana House seat in District 41, which includes the eastern part of Tippecanoe County, along with parts of Clinton, Montgomery and Boone counties.
Genda, owner of Genda Funeral Home in Frankfort, and Woods, a procurement specialist from Lebanon, are competing for a redrawn district held by state Rep. Tim Brown, a Crawfordsville Republican, who is retiring from the General Assembly at the end of 2022.
Here, Genda and Woods answer questions about their approach to the two-year position.
For more: Find bios of each candidate, along with information about where and when to vote, at the end of this article.
Why are you running?
Mark Genda: I have spent my entire professional career serving the people of Clinton and Carroll counties within my funeral homes. While I never aspired to hold a political office, when the opportunity presented itself, I saw this as an opportunity to continue to serve not only those who I have in the past but extending that to the people of Tippecanoe, Montgomery and Boone counties. I am a servant.
Greg Woods: I have a pin that says, “I stayed in Indiana to make it a better place.” With that in mind, I am running to bring back a working-class person's point of view to the Statehouse. Something I feel and many other people feel is missing. I also want to work to bridge the gap between the two parties and bring back a bipartisan attitude for the people of District 41.
What are two priorities you want to get done during your term, if elected? And how would you get those done?
Mark Genda: Since starting my primary campaign, I am listening to the issues and thoughts of the people of District 41. These will be the priorities that I take to the Statehouse. Additionally, I understand that, if elected, I will be a freshman representative. I will be using my business sense and common sense to navigate my new role. I didn’t enter into this race to be a platform, cause or group candidate. I’ve always maintained myself to be a candidate for the people of District 41.
Greg Woods: My top priority is saving our public education system. This begins by giving our educators back the respect they deserve in addition to increasing their salaries so that they are at least equal to the average in the United States. I believe this can be done by simply returning the education system back to the educators and allowing them to teach to the student and not teach to the test, among other things that I will be looking at doing. The second priority is cleaning up our environment. In Indiana, currently we have the dirtiest water in the country and top five dirtiest air. This is unacceptable in 2022 and with two-thirds of our waterways unsafe for recreational usage it will also scare off prospective employers from moving into Indiana. This issue can be resolved by returning to holding polluters accountable and enforcing regulations already on the books.
Indiana’s new abortion law restricts abortions with limited exceptions for cases involving rape, incest and some medical complications. Do you support the way Senate Bill was written? And what changes would you propose or support in the next legislative session?
Mark Genda: We are all awaiting the decision from the judicial branch. This may or may not be constitutional. This is the intent of the checks and balances that were established for our legislative process.
Greg Woods: I support Roe v. Wade and believe that every woman should have bodily autonomy. The decision on what she should do is between her and her doctor only. I would work to reverse SB1 or rewrite it to better represent the majority of Hoosiers.
No matter who is elected, you’ll likely have to navigate a Republican supermajority in the both chambers of the General Assembly when representing House District 41. How will you do that, and what makes your prospects for success better than those of your opponent?
Mark Genda: I’ve heard this term “supermajority.” I would like to believe that every representative is there to represent the people of their district despite their party affiliation. When elected, I won’t be coming in with a platform, unlike my opponent. I’m here to represent the laborers, the farmers, the professionals, the retired and the children of District 41.
Greg Woods: I have been running and promising to be a bipartisan member of the Indiana House, but with that being said it is a promise I will keep if I get the same from the other members, too often lately the majority has disregarded or outright ignored the input from the other side as well as the general public. I promise an open-door policy and an open mind as well.
Several bills in the General Assembly in 2022 called on the state to do more to oversee curriculum, particularly with so-called divisive topics dealing with race in America, and parental oversight of classroom instruction. Did those bills go too far? Did they not go far enough?
Mark Genda: I believe in a common-sense approach when it comes to school curriculum. This involves a student-focused, collaborative effort between school administration, educators and parents.
Greg Woods: Currently I feel there are too many outside sources and too many supposed experts interfering with our public education system. When elected, I plan to return education to the experts in Indiana, those experts are the educators. I plan to rein in the efforts being made to create fear and distrust in our education system with the goal of taking funding from our public schools. I also plan to support parents in their efforts to be more involved. That is what the PTA is, and it should be re-energized, and spending time in classrooms is something every parent should do and has been welcome to do all they have to do is ask.
Would you vote to legalize marijuana in Indiana? And if so, to what extent? If not, why not?
Mark Genda: In speaking with the District 41, there is in an interest in legalizing marijuana for medical use. I would like to hear and see further input and research before making my decision on the level of support on this topic.
Greg Woods: Legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana is a keystone to my efforts to rebuild our public schools by dedicating the bulk of all possible taxes from the sale of that product to help our children's education. I would follow the lead of Colorado and aim high.
The General Assembly last session legalized permitless carry of concealed handguns in Indiana. Was that the correct move? And what do you believe is the next step involving gun legislation in Indiana?
Mark Genda: This is a constitutional, 2nd Amendment right. Any next steps would come from the people.
Greg Woods: When the head of the Indiana State Police says that the GOP is not listening to anyone and eliminating the carry permit was a huge mistake, I could not have agreed more. I have spoken to a lot of gun owners, and not one has said they support that change. All agree that restricting ownership of guns like AR-15s and raising the age to over 21 is just common-sense laws. And these common-sense laws are needed now more than ever to make are Hoosiers feel safe in public as well as make our children feel safe just to go to school.
What would you approach be to the state’s surplus? Should it be saved? Should it be spent, and on what?
Mark Genda: Being a 30-plus year business owner, I can only approach this with the same strategy I have taken over the years. I would pay off existing debt and save any remaining to assist with the unknown effects that will come from our current economic situation.
Greg Woods: I was approached the other day by an organization called green schools. They told me with just 25% of that surplus every single school in Indiana could have solar power. Imagine that. Having a surplus is always good, but hoarding it when Indiana still charges parents for school books and so many school children go hungry every day is just bad for Hoosiers.
What are one or two things that separate you from your opponent and make you the best fit for District 41?
Mark Genda: I understand the people of my district. Being a born and raised and a lifelong district resident, I have grown with these people both personally and professionally. It has been my honor to serve families over the last 30 years as a local business owner, community supporter, and neighbor. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serving in a new capacity as your Indiana state representative of District 41.
Greg Woods: I believe that being a lifelong Hoosier married for 37 years to my bride and the father of two and working since I was 13 gives me a real world look at Indiana and its issues. Add to that I have been out all year participating in festivals, events, forums and meeting people from every corner of the district, while my challenger sits and waits for Election Day with no plan, no ideas and no willingness to stand up for the people of District 41. I'm just like everybody else in this district and want to represent them and represent them, always believing that I can make Indiana and District 41 a better place.
BALLOTS, VOTER REGISRATION, ETC.: Who will be on your ballot? Need to check your voter registered? That and more, available at Indiana’s voter portal, Indianavoters.in.gov.
EARLY VOTING: For a list of early voting sites in Tippecanoe County ahead of the Nov. 8 election, here’s the schedule.
Occupation: Funeral Director/Business Owner
Education: Worsham College of Mortuary Science, 1984
Past elected positions, if any: Eight years school board member of Community Schools of Frankfort
Immediate family: two older sisters, Becky and Candy, brother-in-law Steve, nieces and nephews
Your campaign site online: www.facebook.com/markgendafor41
Occupation: Procurement Specialist
Education: Project Manager Certification from IUPUI
Past elected positions, if any: not applicable
Immediate family: Wife Sunday, sons Brad Morrison and Kelly Woods
Your campaign site online: electgregawoods.com
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