HANCOCK COUNTY — A New Palestine resident has announ-ced plans to run against longtime Rep. Bob Cherry, R-Greenfield, in this fall’s general election.
Democrat Nancy Tibbett filed paperwork last week to run for the Indiana District 53 House of Representatives seat, which represents Hancock, Rush and Shelby counties.
It will be her first time running for political office, and the first time since 2008 that Cherry, who has represented Hancock County in the state Legislature since 1998, faced a Democrat challenger. When he was most recently re-elected in 2012, he faced just one challenger, a Libertarian.
Tibbett is one of two Democrat candidates seeking to represent Hancock County in a state office. Ken Kern of Marion County has filed to run against Sen. Mike Crider, R-Greenfield, who has served in the Senate representing District 28 since 2012.
Tibbett, who has lived in Hancock County for more than 30 years and serves as the executive director of Bicycle Indiana, a statewide nonprofit organization that advocates for safe routes for cyclists, is running to represent the district to give voters options, she said.
In the past, Democrats have been underrepresented in the race for the seat, Tibbett said.
She doesn’t have experience holding public office but hopes voters appreciate the fresh perspective she would bring to the position, Tibbett said.
“I’m not a career politician,” she said. “I feel like I’m bringing a fresh perspective to … an older legislative body of people who have been there a long time.”
The New Palestine resident began considering a run for the state legislature about a year ago because she believes her leadership experience in several area nonprofits will help her represent the county well.
As the executive director of Bicycle Indiana, she spends a lot of time working with local, state and federal legislators, as well as police and fire departments and schools across the state to help promote safe cycling and educate the public about it.
Those interactions would be good experience for her as a state representative who would need to work with constituents and other lawmakers, she said.
If elected, she hopes to focus on education — specifically on ensuring teachers don’t have to worry about filling their classrooms with the supplies students need to learn — and veterans affairs. She’s the daughter and mother of a veteran and said she wants the state to be doing all it can to help those who serve the country.
Local Democrat Party chair Randy Johnson said he’s thrilled to see two candidates seeking state seats to represent Hancock County residents. His goal as the party’s new chair is to get more Democrats on the election ballot.
“I feel really good having these candidates get on board,” Johnson said. “They’re both great candidates.”
Kern did not return calls seeking comment.