Q&A: Meet Rep. Joe Taylor, union president turned lawmaker

By Shelby Mullis

This story is part of a question and answer series with newly-elected members of the Indiana General Assembly.

Q&A: Meet Rep. Joe Taylor

Age: 40
Hometown: South Bend
Party: Democrat
Assembler for AM General

INDIANAPOLIS — While Rep. Joe Taylor, D-South Bend, is a freshman in the House, he’s a veteran auto worker, celebrating 21 years in the business.

The third-generation auto worker is currently serving his second term as president of the United Auto Workers union.

In addition to learning the ropes of the General Assembly, he’s dedicating his time to supporting his wife and six children.

TheStatehouseFile.com caught up with Brown to learn more about his new role in the House of Representatives.

Question: How did you get involved in Indiana government?

Rep. Joe Taylor, D-South Bend, listens to his fellow House representatives during session Monday. Photo by Sarah Ramon, TheStatehouseFile.com

Rep. Joe Taylor, D-South Bend, listens to his fellow House representatives during session Monday. Photo by Sarah Ramon, TheStatehouseFile.com

Answer: “Serving in the private sector within my union also has a sense of obligation to serving the community. It expanded from there. I have an uncle that served on many college boards. He was on the board of Ivy Tech. My uncle, Tom Taylor, was a former president of our union — the United Auto Workers. I believe it’s in my genes. An opportunity arose this past election cycle and people suggested I put my name forward and I was blessed to get enough votes to win. I just have a passion for serving and doing the best I can for as many people as I can. That is what led me to this point.”

Question: What issues do you want to tackle as a legislator?

Answer: “Workers’ rights are always front and center — pay and pensions for our public employees. Those are the simple ones. Back at home, with it being a budget year, I’m hearing a lot from constituents about the raising of the taxes. I’m listening to those issues in my district. I have a large agriculture and rural population so that’s new to me. I’ve been front and center listening to those folks and their concerns. I’m part of that agricultural committee. Some of those things don’t come as easy as others. Taxation, better roads and better schools, of course all those things are near and dear to my heart. I’m just paying attention to what my constituents want.”

Question: Is there one goal you want to accomplish during this legislative session?

Answer: “I really just want to make my hometown proud — South Bend and St. Joe County. To be in the way our demographics are made up, I don’t expect to be able to do a lot as a minority ranking member, but just support the standard to live in what we have and not to make it worse for Hoosiers in the 7th District and all districts across the state.”

Question: Have you authored any legislation this session?

Answer: “I’ve authored a couple bills dealing with tuition for undocumented residents. It is a Senate bill that just left committee and had some testimony and made it out of committee and is hopefully coming to the House. I authored a second bill called the SNAP benefits bill. It helps those reentering society be able to receive SNAP benefits. That’s really my major legislation.”

Shelby Mullis is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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