2012 State Candidates

Mike Pence

Mike Pence is a lifelong Hoosier, born and raised in Columbus, Indiana, with three brothers and two sisters. Mike graduated from Columbus North High School, went on to graduate from Hanover College in 1981 and earned his J.D. from Indiana University School of Law in 1986.

He was first elected to Congress in 2000 and was most recently elected to a sixth term in November of 2010, representing more than 650,000 Hoosiers in 19 counties in eastern Indiana.

Prior to being elected to Congress, Mike was president of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, hosted “The Mike Pence Show,” a syndicated radio show throughout the state of Indiana as well as a Sunday morning television show in Indianapolis.

Elected unanimously by House Republicans to serve as House Republican Conference Chairman in November 2008, Mike helped to develop and disseminate the message of the Republican Conference and worked to promote its Members. Speaker of the House John Boehner described Pence as “a servant leader and cheerful warrior who will never lay down his arms in the fight for a government that honors our Constitution and reflects the consent of the governed.”

During the 109th Congress, Mike served as Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee. The Republican Study Committee is the largest caucus in the House of Representatives; membership grew to 110 House Republicans under his leadership. The group has been the leading voice for advancing conservative social and economic issues in Congress since the mid-1980s.

In addition, Mike sits on the House Judiciary Committee where he serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and is also a member of the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet. He also serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee where he is the Vice-Chairman on the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. He previously served Hoosiers on the House Agriculture and Small Business committees.

A strong supporter of the military, Mike has visited Hoosier soldiers in Iraq and/or Afghanistan every year since hostilities started in the Middle East. From soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines aboard aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf to bases in Kabul and Baghdad and beyond, Mike has made visiting men and women in uniform who sacrifice to keep us safe a high priority.

Mike describes himself as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.” Mike and his wife Karen have been married for 26 years, live in Columbus, Indiana, and reside in the greater Washington, D.C. area when Congress is in session. They have three children, Michael, Charlotte and Audrey. Karen is an elementary school art teacher. The Pence family enjoys riding horses in southern Indiana, playing sports and vacationing together.


Sue Ellspermann
Lieutenant Governor

Sue was raised in Ferdinand, Indiana, one of six children of Tom and Betty Boeglin. A 1978 graduate of Forest Park High School, she earned a degree in industrial engineering from Purdue University in 1982, and established a career in engineering and management at AC Spark Plug, Michelin, and Frito-Lay.

In 1986, Sue and her family returned to Evansville where she founded a consulting business, Ellspermann and Associates, Inc. Her company provided problem solving and strategic planning facilitation and training.

As Sue built her practice throughout North America and locally with companies such as Kimball International, Pepsi, and McCormick, she completed a doctorate in industrial engineering at the University of Louisville 1996. Research from her dissertation was recognized as one of the Top 50 Management Articles of 2007 by Emerald Management Reviews.

While managing a thriving practice, Sue was involved with the Evansville Chamber of Commerce (now the Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Indiana), Good Shepherd Parish, and the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, among many other organizations. She has facilitated hundreds of strategic planning and problem solving events for nonprofits all across Indiana.

In 2006, Sue became the founding director of the University of Southern Indiana’s Center for Applied Research. Since its inception, the Center has completed nearly 200 projects for southwest Indiana and the state including the I-69 Community Development Study, Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs Strategic Plan, and the Evansville Glenwood Community Development Project. Sue was instrumental in developing the USI-Naval Surface Warfare Center (NWSC) Crane Partnership that includes a focus on technology commercialization.

Sue was elected to represent Dubois, Perry, Spencer and Warrick counties in the Indiana House of Representatives in 2010. She served as Vice Chair of the Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee and was a member of the Small Business, Commerce and Economic Development Committee and Election and Apportionment Committee.

In 2012, Sue joined Transformation Team, Inc., a strategic marketing firm located in Dubois County, as the Director of Strategic Engagement. She continues select work with USI, NSWC Crane and others primarily focused on enhancing the economic viability of southwest Indiana.

Sue has spent the last 25 years helping corporations, nonprofits and governmental units make positive change by developing new strategic directions, crafting visions for the future and problem solving difficult issues that threaten the viability of our region. She is a facilitator of change, creativity and consensus and believes that these skills will serve Indiana well at the Statehouse.

Sue is married to Jim Mehling, Assistant Principal of Forest Park High School. They have a blended family of four daughters.


Greg Zoeller
Attorney General

Greg Zoeller was elected Indiana's 42nd Attorney General November 4, 2008 and sworn into office January 12, 2009. Prior to being elected Attorney General, Zoeller served as the chief deputy to his predecessor, Steve Carter from 2001 to 2008, making him the first to have served in the office prior to being elected.

A commitment to service marks the career of Attorney General Zoeller and is also the mark he is making on the Office of the Attorney General. With a focus on consumer protection, Zoeller has expanded the Do Not Call statute to include wireless telephones, increased protections for teachers in returning discipline to the classroom and fought for homeowners facing foreclosures. Battling scam artists with proactive investigations and aggressively seeking to shut down fraudulent businesses preying on Hoosiers has made Indiana known as a State for consumer predators to avoid.

As a member of the Consumer Protection Committee for the National Association of Attorneys General, Zoeller serves in a national leadership position. He also serves on the US Department of Justice Executive Working Group to develop greater collaboration and coordination of state and federal criminal justice agencies. Zoeller serves as a member of Indiana’s Criminal Justice Institute helping law enforcement agencies with a focus on victim’s rights.

An advocate for the most vulnerable in society, Zoeller developed a partnership with members of the legal profession in the March Against Hunger, an annual campaign to support Indiana’s food banks. During his first year in office Zoeller established an outreach program bringing the services of the Attorney General to communities throughout the state with a focus on serving the elderly, those facing foreclosure and other financial crisis, recent immigrants and our youth who are targeted by scam artists and other predators. 

Zoeller had previously served as Assistant to Vice President Dan Quayle in the White House from 1989-1991 and earlier served then-Senator Quayle in both Washington and Indiana in legislative and executive capacities since 1982. His other government experience includes serving as Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney General, Richard Thornburg, in 1988 and as Senior Counsel to the House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform and Oversight in 1998.

Zoeller served on a U.S. delegation to NATO in Brussels, Belgium as the Vice President of the Indiana Council of World Affairs in 1992 and led Airlift Indiana, a private relief mission, to Bangladesh and another relief mission to Honduras following natural disasters in those countries. 

A native of New Albany, Indiana, Zoeller graduated from Indiana University School of Law at Bloomington in 1982. He is married to Kerrie (Turner) and has three children, Gretchen, Katherine, and Michael. They are members of Christ the King Catholic Church.


Tony Bennett
Superintendent of Public Instruction

Dr. Tony Bennett is a dedicated husband and father of four children – including one set of triplets. He has dedicated his professional life to education, working as a teacher, basketball coach, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. This experience has provided Tony a firm understanding of the important role education plays in the lives of Hoosier children, both for this generation of students and those that follow.

Upon his election as Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2008, Tony set high expectations for all Indiana students. These objectives include achieving a 90% graduation rate, a 25% pass rate for high school students taking advanced placement coursework and a 90% pass rate for both the state’s English and Math assessments.

Working closely with Governor Mitch Daniels and the Indiana General Assembly, Tony led efforts to improve Indiana’s education system. The most important changes focused on ensuring that every classroom in Indiana has an effective teacher and that students master the most fundamental skills necessary for future success in life.

Under the leadership of Dr. Bennett, the hard work of Hoosier educators and students is paying off. Since 2009, academic progress has risen to new heights of success.

In 2011, 85.7% of students graduated from high school. This is the highest percentage in state history.

Indiana students are making solid gains on English and Math tests, marking three consecutive years of improvement (a 7% total increase).

In 2011, 13.4% of all graduates passed an Advanced Placement exam, the highest mark in Indiana’s history.

Dr. Bennett received his doctorate degree in Education and his Superintendent’s License from Spalding University. He earned his Certification in Secondary Administration and Supervision, a Master of Science in Secondary Education, and a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from Indiana University Southeast.


Vaneta Becker
Indiana Senate, District #50

Indiana House of Representatives, 1981 - 2005
Indiana State Senate, 2005
Political Affiliation 
Standing Committees
Health and Provider Services
Public Health Subcommittee, Chair
Homeland Security, Transportation and Veterans Affairs
Public Safety Subcommittee, Chair
Public Policy, Ranking Member

Community Activities 
Member of the Indiana Commission for Women
Board of Directors, ARK Crisis Prevention Nursery
Leadership Evansville Alumni
United Methodist Church
Commission for Excellence in Health Care
Co. Chair The Advisory Board of the Office of Women's Health, Indiana State Department of Health
B.S., University of Southern Indiana
Real Estate & Insurance Broker License
Real Estate Broker, F.C. Tucker/Huber Realtors
Married, Andy Gaurino



Tom Washburne
Indiana House District #64

Having lived in its central, northern and southern areas, Tom is no stranger to the new District 64.  His family moved to Princeton when he was two years old, and he is a 1982 graduate of Princeton Community High School.  Like many Princeton boys, Tom sacked groceries at Gaston’s IGA and sold firearms and sporting goods at William’s Shoe Hospital.

After Tom earned an engineering degree from Purdue, he married his wife Lynne and taught electronics at Vincennes University before heading off to law school at the Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis.  Upon completing a federal judicial clerkship in Indianapolis, Tom and his growing family returned to Vincennes, where he practiced law in the Hart Bell law firm.

In 1995, Tom joined the Washington, DC, staff of Indiana Congressman John Hostettler, eventually becoming Chief of Staff.  In 2001, he left Capitol Hill and joined the staff of the Home School Legal Defense Association, where he defended the rights of parents to educate their children at home if they chose to do so. He later served as Indiana Congressman Mike Sodrel’s Chief of Staff and on the staff of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan.  In 2007, Tom accepted a position with Old National Bancorp in Evansville, and settled his family near Darmstadt in rural northern Vanderburgh County.
Tom and Lynne have been married for twenty-five years and have five children.  A Christian, he is active with a church planting effort of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Tom is an Eagle Scout and a leader with Boy Scout Troop 393 in St. Wendel, Indiana.  In his spare time, he enjoys ham radio (WB9ZFN) and raising sheep and chickens.  Tom is admitted to practice law in Indiana and Michigan.


Wendy McNamara
Indiana House District #76

I've learned a lot about the different ways a State Representative can serve the community.  I'm proud of my record and my service to my community.  I've been able to support several bills that protect our farmers, expand entrepreneurship opportunities, and create a better environment in our corner of the state for job growth.

I've had the opportunity to work with INDOT to get Highway 62 resurfaced; with the Port Authority to improve traffic safety for farmers dropping off their crops; with the county sheriff on the meth problem; and with the Department of Corrections to find placement for teenagers in Posey County.  Those are the sorts of things I can point to--and there are numerous other examples--and know that we're making life better in southern Indiana.


Alan Leibundguth
Indiana House District #77

Alan Leibundguth began his career in public service upon entering active duty with the United States Air Force and continued through many years in education and ministry service. Although a long-time resident of Evansville, Alan gained much experience of community life in locations away from Evansville, including life in Europe. As a youth involved in civic activities such as Boy Scouts and Junior Achievement, he also participated in local Soap Box Derbies and organized team sports. As a young adult, Alan had strong academic training, University & post-graduate studies, that prepared and developed him for the many challenges he would face in life.

Alan is a graduate of Harrison High School and the University of Evansville. He and his wife, Sandra, met and married while attending U of E and are the proud parents of a daughter and two sons; Allison is a Partner of a local law firm, Brian, a pilot, and a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force, and Chad, a Vice President and Regional Business Manager in Louisville, KY.

There are many highlights in Alan’s adult years, some of which include his military service achievements, notably in the United States Air Force as “Top Gun” fighter pilot, Instructor Pilot, and Air Traffic Controller. While on active duty, he obtained his Masters Degree in Business Administration.  Upon leaving the military, Alan invested his time, energy and leadership skills in ministerial duties, taking the lead in church and education, teaching, training and ministry outreach activities.

Alan’s activities for the past thirteen years in Evansville include:  Pastoral ministry and outreach, substitute teaching in the Evansville Vanderburgh and Green County School Corporations, leading Adult Basic Skills Education classes at the local Potter’s Wheel inner-city outreach, teaching Business Ethics as Adjunct Professor at Ivy Tech Community College, and employed in various "blue collar" jobs in the local labor force.

Currently, Alan is serving the community through volunteer leadership in Pastoral Care Ministry at Crossroads Christian Church. He has served politically the past eight years as a Poll Worker, and was elected as a Ward 3 Precinct Committeeman and Third Ward Captain. With his military, educational, ministerial and "blue collar" work experience, Alan aspires to continue serving the residents of Evansville as State Representative, bringing conservative insight into the legislative arena with leadership in the right direction.


Suzanne Crouch
Indiana House District #78

Since 2005, Suzanne Crouch has been serving as State Representative from House District 78. Suzanne represents constituents and taxpayers in portions of Spencer, Vanderburgh and Warrick counties.

During her service as a State Representative, Suzanne has served on a number of committees, including the House Public Health Committee, the House Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee, and as a legislative appointee on the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Suzanne currently serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. Her interim and statutory commission appointments are the Commission on Developmental Disabilities, Select Joint Commission on Medicaid Oversight, Pension Management Oversight Committee, New Harmony Commission, Interim Study Committee on Economic Development.

Representative Crouch, a graduate of Mater Dei High School in Evansville, received her Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University, majoring in Political Science. She and her husband of 32 years, Larry Downs reside on the north side of Evansville.

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