Southern Indiana

Jeffersonville City Council member and long-time teacher Scott Hawkins announced a bid for Indiana’s House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Hawkins is currently in his second term as an at-large member of the city council, winning elections in 2015 and 2019. He’s also served on the city’s redevelopment commission.

If he wins his party’s nomination, he’ll face incumbent State Rep. Rita Fleming, a Democrat from Jeffersonville, in next year’s race for House District 71. The district includes Jeffersonville, Clarksville and parts of New Albany.

“I think we’ve done good for Jeffersonville,” Hawkins said about his time on city council. “And now with Clarksville and a little piece of New Albany, [I want to] just kind of take the lessons I’ve learned and the kind of understanding of the way politics works and just try to spread that a little more to all of Southern Indiana.”

Hawkins has spent his entire life in Clark County. In addition to his city leadership roles, he’s taught high school in the area for 26 years. He currently works at Jeffersonville High School.

If elected, Hawkins said he’ll use that experience to help guide his decisions in the statehouse.

“If half the budget goes to education and you don’t have a strong voice for somebody who’s a teacher and for kids in that structure, I don’t think that’s a very good way of going about business,” he said. “So obviously, education’s going to be something that I’m passionate about.”

Hawkins’ city council term ends in 2023. If he wins the House race, his party will appoint someone to finish his term.

Fleming has held the District 71 seat since 2018. She did not face a Republican opponent in 2020. She said she hopes voters recognize her work to build relationships, both within her party and across the aisle.

“I’m not surprised that people would be seeking this position, because this is just a great area,” Fleming said. “We have terrific people here, and it really is an honor to represent them. I welcome competition. It offers me a chance to present my platform.”

Local House districts were largely unaffected by this year’s redistricting process, which occurs every 10 years after the U.S. Census. District 71 lost precincts in Utica and gained an eastern portion of New Albany.

John Boyle is a reporter and editor at WFPL news focused on Southern Indiana. He is a corps member with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.