Tuesday was primary day in Indiana, where a young candidate for the state House of Representatives won his race unopposed. Patrick Lockhart, a 21-year-old Democrat from Indianapolis, is running as the youngest candidate in the history of the Indiana House. He is challenging GOP Rep. Robert Behning, the current chairman of the House Education Committee, who's been in office since 1992.
Lockhart is a refreshing addition to the Indiana political landscape which is usually mired by extremely conservative politics by both Republicans and Democrats. With a bipartisan push in the 2014 general session, the state House narrowly defeated a marriage equality ban (HJR-3) which was pushed by members of both parties.
Lockhart is currently a senior at Indiana University and seeks to bring his youthfulness to the Statehouse to "take a stand" and show that "politics as usual" is unacceptable. I asked Patrick a few questions regarding his campaign and how he seeks to bring change to Indiana and how he would help support the LGBT community as the youngest elected member of the Indiana State House of Representatives.
My interview with Patrick is after the jump.
1. As the youngest candidate for Indiana state representatives, what fresh perspective do you think you can offer to the people of your district?
One of my greatest strengths as a candidate is my youth. As a Millennial, I am part of the generation that is going to grow up inheriting the problems that we either don't address or create in politics today. That means I'm not obsessed with partisan affiliation divide and toeing the party lines the way it is being done throughout the country.
My focus in on coming up with solutions and promoting ideas that work, regardless of who comes up with them and what they call themselves. If we had more of this, we would see an enormous increase in cooperation and results.
2. Do you openly support marriage equality?
Of course. I am completely and entirely a supporter of legal equality, and I am more than ready to fight for that in the Indiana House of Representatives.
3. Why do you openly support marriage equality?
I cannot even see why this is an issue. In Indiana especially, not allowing all Hoosiers to be treated equally in the eyes of the law is not going to attract the best and the brightest minds in the nation. Being a Catholic, I understand why many people don't agree with calling it "marriage", since they view that as a religious sacrament. However, not supporting legal equality makes absolutely no sense to me.
It might be my age, since a huge majority of under-thirty voters (regardless of party) support equality. On top of that, my brother is gay. I will never understand why he should have to be treated as a second-class citizen.
4. If elected to office, how do you plan to support the LGBT residents of your district?
The most obvious answer would be to fight any anti-gay legislation that would allow for discrimination based on sexual orientation or constitutional amendments, as Indiana saw in the recent battle over House Joint Resolution 3. Further than that, I could propose legislation that ensured protection to LGBT Hoosiers in general, not just those in District 91.
5. What bills would you sponsor/co-sponsor to ensure that LGBT constituents are protected in Indiana?
I would start with sponsoring a bill that would allow for same-sex couples to be allowed to marry in the state of Indiana. As of right now, there are already laws on the books that define marriage as between men and women. I am realistic, however, about the chances of such legislation passing...
If elected, I would be one Democrat voted into a Statehouse that has a huge Republican supermajority. This would be the same supermajority that approved such measures as House Joint Resolution 3. With this in mind, I would make it my goal to fight any discriminatory bills that came into the House.
You can find out more information about Patrick Lockhart at http://lockhartfor91.com/.