INDIANAPOLIS—In northern Indiana, two incumbent lawmakers who were redrawn in the same district will face off in the May primary.
Rep. Curt Nisly, R-Goshen — a proponent of limited government and personal freedoms — will challenge Rep. Craig Snow, R-Warsaw — a more traditional, business-oriented Republican.
Due to the 2021 redistricting, the parameters of House District 22 will change on November 9, the day after Election Day.
The current district includes the towns of Nappannee, Syracuse, North Webster and most of Warsaw. The new district will include all of Warsaw and the smaller towns of Claypool, Silver Lake, Pierceton and Milford, all located in Kosciusko County.
Kosciusko County has over 100 lakes, with the largest being located in the northeast part of the county. It is home to Lake Tippecanoe, the deepest lake in the state. This reservoir, like most others, was formed by glacial activity.
The county was named after a Polish general who fought in the American Revolution. However, some residents do not know how to pronounce the name of their county. The population there is 87.6% white, 8.2% Latino, 1.7% Asian and 1.1% black.
The county seat is Warsaw, which is a city about an hour’s drive from Fort Wayne with a population of about 16,000.
The seat of House District 22 which encompasses most of the county is currently owned by Nisly, who has served since 2014.
Many of the bills proposed by Nisly have focused on the anti-abortion cause and the Second Amendment.
This year he introduced House Bill 1282, which attempted to make most abortions illegal and legally define life as beginning at conception. He has authored a bill with similar language several times, but none of them have become law.
In addition, his House Bill 1371 this session would have repealed all Second Amendment violations of the right to bear arms if it had become law, but it did not make it past his committee hearing.
Nisly said he started the momentum for this year’s Public Law 175, which eliminated the requirement for Hoosiers to be licensed to carry a handgun.
“I think it’s pretty clear that if I wouldn’t have pushed as hard as I have for the past few years, it’s unlikely to have evolved the way it has this year,” Nisly said. .
Porting without a license has been one of his main projects for years, he said. He has repeatedly called for a roll-call vote on his gun bills and said it has spurred conversations on gun control.
Guns aren’t the only topics he talks about.
On Nisly’s website, he publishes editorials on socialism, limited government, and abortion.
Nisly said he was raised in a very conservative Mennonite Amish family. He was not allowed to engage in politics in any capacity – he could not vote, enlist in the army, etc.
His family members wore modest clothing and denied themselves access to televisions and radios, although they used electricity and cars. His wife, whom he met when he was a teenager, was raised in a stricter Amish family. Her family was shunned in their community for a year when the two left their communities.
Letting go of the customs of their childhood opened up new possibilities and freedoms. They could consume all the media they wanted without fear of being convicted, and Nisly registered to vote for the first time in the 2000 general election.
He first decided to seek public office after becoming involved in the political movement of the Tea Party. There, he said he learned that elected officials represent special interest groups, like the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, rather than the will of the people they serve.
Nisly said he voted like the people in his district. When lawmakers were considering changing the wording of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2015 to avoid discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, he rejected it because he felt the changes would eliminate the aspect of freedom. nun of the bill.
Nisly said her anti-abortion advocacy has always been her top priority, while gun control is next.
“It wasn’t until I started knocking on doors and talking to constituents that I realized how important Second Amendment issues are to people here,” Nisly said. “People here don’t want any type of gun control.”
Nisly said Kosciusko County residents are “industrious” and “hard-working.” Warsaw has been dubbed the orthopedic capital of the world, as it manufactures about a third of the world’s orthopedic supplies. Nisly owns C-Tech, a small company specializing in sheet metal production.
Nisly said people also refer to the county as Indiana’s Bible Belt because it’s historically been a hot spot for evangelists. It once attracted famous preacher Billy Sunday, whose legacy is now enshrined near Lake Winona, just outside Warsaw.
Kosciusko County is one of the most conservative counties in the state, Nisly said. In the 2020 general election, 74% of county voters chose Donald Trump. This was one of the highest percentages among red counties, but the highest was in Franklin County at 80.8%.
“It’s the culture of the community, and it’s been there for a long time,” Nisley said. “People want to be left alone. They don’t want the government to control their lives.
Nisly’s limited governmental philosophy is informed by the Constitution. He sticks to the 10th Amendment, which clarifies that all powers not delegated to the federal government must be left to the states or the people. His campaign has been endorsed by the Make Liberty Win PAC, which advocates for limited government and individual liberty.
He said governments should only intervene in people’s daily lives when someone is causing a problem.
Nisly said he is different from Snow because he will represent the people at all costs.
“I’ve always sought to represent the people of my district, even if that means standing up to Republican leaders in the House. I think it’s very obvious that the other representative doesn’t take that approach,” said said Nisly.
Some say he is isolated within the Republican Caucus. None of his bills ever advanced out of committee, and he never managed to get a second on his motion to talk about a bill, which is pretty rare.
Nisly said he’s accomplished things, but people don’t hear about it because he doesn’t care if his name is made public. He said he used “unconventional methods” to bring about change in the state. For example, he convinced a Democrat to include an amendment to allow underwater boat inspections in another bill after his bill failed.
Nisley enjoys outdoor recreation, especially biking and hiking. He once took a bike trip from northern Indiana to Mackinac Island, Michigan. He’s also run mini-marathons, but said he’s done a lot more political running than physical running since taking office.
His approach to tackling climate change is to keep the government on the sidelines because they are wrong when they get involved. Individuals can understand that, he said.
“The farmers realized that if they changed their practices a bit, they would keep that nutrition and the fertilizer in their fields. If it doesn’t flow, their fields will be healthier, so they were able to adopt these new practices without the government stepping in and saying they have to adopt these practices,” Nisly said.
Nisly said it has been an honor to serve his district. He hopes his constituents will “choose wisely and vote Nisly.”
Snow currently represents House District 18 and has been serving since 2020. This district is made up of the southeastern part of Warsaw as well as the towns of North Manchester, Largo and Wabash.
The Warsaw part will be removed from District 18, while Huntington will be added.
Snow will enter District 22 with Nisly.
Snow is a Warsaw Community High School graduate who still lives in his hometown. Professionally, he is CEO of Cedar Holdings and Chairman of the Board of Silveus Insurance Group.
In 2022, he authored a social regulation bill, which died in committee, as well as youth agriculture programs and childcare bills, which became public laws.
Last year he drafted a Grain Production Bill which also became law.
His website reveals that he has similar views to Nisly. He is a “proud member of the NRA” and earned a business degree from Grace College and Theological Seminary near Warsaw. He is married to a public school teacher, so he understands the importance of shaping future generations, according to his site.
On his campaign Facebook page, he stresses the importance of fighting the opioid epidemic and improving the lives of Hoosiers with disabilities.
Snow did not respond to interview requests.
Dee Moore is the Democratic candidate in the race. She ran for District 18 headquarters in 2018 and won 23.9% of the vote.
On her Facebook page, she said people in her district deserved affordable insulin. It also supports action against climate change, in particular the abandonment of the use of fossil fuels.
She has published articles on the dangers of nuclear waste disposal and the depletion of Arctic ice supplies.
House District 45 is the other place where two incumbents will be vying for a seat. This neighborhood, containing the town of Sullivan, was expanded to include Bloomfield and Worthington.
Indiana lawmakers, who serve about 68,000 voters each on average, take office the day after the general election and serve two-year terms with no term limits. In order to run for a seat in the General Assembly, potential candidates must have lived in the state for the two years before the election and lived in their district for one year before Election Day.
The primary election will be held on May 3, which will reduce the candidates for the November general election to one for each party.