By Quinn Fitzgerald
This story is part of a series of Q&As with newly-elected members of the Indiana House and Senate. Some responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Meet Sen. John Crane
Occupation: Founder and CEO of the Sagamore Leadership Initiative
INDIANAPOLIS – Sen. John Crane, R-Avon, hopes to bring a variety of issues to the table, but his primary goal is getting know to the process better.
“The way I put it is — to listen, to learn, and to lead in that order,” Crane said.
Crane said he is interested in bills about religious liberty, 1st Amendment rights, family and education.
Crane sat down with TheStatehouseFile.com to discuss his goals for the current legislative session and his motivation for becoming a state lawmaker.
Sen. John Crane, R-Avon, attends a session in the Senate chamber. Crane is one of Indiana’s newest senator. Photo by Quinn Fitzgerad, TheStatehouseFile.com
Question: What are your main goals for your first legislative session?
Answer: My approach is to try to be discerning, to listen, talk to folks that’ve been here whether they are people like Matt [Werner, his press secretary] who have been here for a little longer than I have, other senators and say, how do we figure this out? How do we figure that out? Ultimately I want to lead. I want to bring some things to the table, but it’s going to take some time for me to understand the system in order to do that effectively.
What I don’t want to do is to just to rush head-long into the process and give in to this pressure to pass this legislation if I don’t really know how this process works. I feel like that’s a stewardship issue. That the people have elected me to try to lead from a point of wisdom and that’s the approach I’m taking.
Q: What motivated you to run for office?
A: Practically, I was asked by some leaders in my home county, Hendricks County, to consider running. I actually come from a very political family. I have some uncles on my dad’s side who were in Congress. I have one uncle who ran for president. So if you’re ever up in my cubicle you’ll see a picture with my Uncle Phil, my dad and Ronald Reagan. So they were all very active in those days.
But probably the biggest thing that caused me to run was to see some of the decisions that were coming out of the legislature. I would say especially since we have a Republican supermajority, there were some issues that I disagreed with and felt like maybe I could come down and make a difference.
Q: Are there any bills you are interested in authoring in the future?
A: Well it kind of depends on the subject. I’m very interested in education and I’m on the education committee. That’s something I’m passionate about. I’m not on the veterans affairs committee. I tried to get on that one, but I’m interested in veterans issues. I’m very interested in religious liberty, life issues, marriage, some of the social issues, I have a pretty strong background in that area.
Sen. John Crane, R-Avon, is a new lawmaker. He is the founder and CEO of the Sagamore Leadership Initiative. Photo by Quinn Fitzgerald, TheStatehouseFile.com
What I like to try to do is to see if there’s a way to advance legislation that is more of a cornerstone issue. If we can advance this, then it impacts everything else in the House. I’m kind of just keeping an eye out for some of those things that would have even greater, positive ripple effect than some other bill that probably has value but may not have long term value.
Q: What local issues are you passionate about?
A: Well, I would say, again, education’s a big one. Education’s a huge conversation going on really across the country but in our state and even in our area. I have two counties. Hendricks County is where all the focus is. Hendricks County is a donut county. Most of the population of my district lives in Hendricks County. Then you have Putnam County. Putnam County sometimes it gets forgotten in the shuffle. Those folks out there are a little more rural. There isn’t as much urbanization or suburbanization, and yet there are teachers out there working hard trying to help young people. There are parents out there trying to get jobs. There are folks out there that are trying to make a go of it.
One of the things that I want to try to do is to make sure that we are equipping parents to make the best educational choices for their children, but we are also equipping administrators and teachers to be able to have the tools they need to do what they love, because you’re not getting into the teaching profession to get rich. You’re doing it because you have a heart for kids. If we can give them tools to help them in that, that’s what I want to try to do.
Quinn Fitzgerald is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.