District 26 candidates discuss drug addiction, civil rights at debate

Republican Sally Siegrist and Democrat Victoria Woeste are in the race for Indiana House District 26 seat. The two candidates had their first debate Wednesday, September 22, 2016 at Purdue University (WLFI).
Republican Sally Siegrist and Democrat Victoria Woeste are in the race for Indiana House District 26 seat. The two candidates had their first debate Wednesday, September 22, 2016 at Purdue University (WLFI).

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Two candidates in the race for Indiana House District 26 had their first debate Wednesday night at Purdue University. Republican Sally Siegrist and Democrat Victoria Woeste are in the race to win Randy Truitt’s old seat.

West Lafayette resident Stephanie Washburn feels more confident in her vote for the race. She was one of many who came out to hear the debate between the two candidates at Armstrong Hall.

“I think the government should be for the people and doing everything we can. I’m a bleeding heart,” said Washburn.

Washburn said she’ll be voting for Woeste after hearing her platform.

But Lafayette resident Jeff Kemper said there’s no doubt he’ll be voting for Siegrist.

“Sally was very strong, and she had some convictions about what she will bring to District 26,” said Kemper.

The two candidates answered many questions on hot topics like the needle exchange program, RFRA and civil rights.

“It was good for people to see the contrast between my opponent and myself,” said Siegrist.

Woeste said, if elected, she hopes to have a statewide hate crime law. She said she wants non-Hoosiers to feel welcome in our state and not judged by their background.

“People identify with this country when they come as immigrants or even if they’re born here but feel different or apart for some reason,” said Woeste. “Whether it’s their race or religion or their sexual identification.”

Something both candidates felt passionately about was drug addiction in our state. Siegrist said it’s only going to be fixed when the cycle of addiction is broken.

“[We] need to change the penalties for a dealer who sells an illegal substance that results in an overdose death,” said Siegrist. “[They should be] penalized at a level three of four felony.”

Woeste said drug addiction needs to become more of a mental health issue, not a criminal issue.

The candidates will have a second debate next Thursday at the Wabash Township Fire House at 7 p.m.

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