3 candidates vie to be Democrat candidate for Congress

By Adam Aasen

Two years ago, U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks took over the seat of longtime Republican congressman Dan Burton, who had served 30 years in that office. This year, three Democratic candidates are vying for a chance to try and flip the seat across the political aisle.

Brooks, who represents Indiana’s 5th Congressional District, defeated Scott Reske with 58 percent of the vote in 2012. If she wins her Republican primary, she will face one of three Democratic opponents, which includes an engineer, an educator and a veteran. The primary date is May 6. None of the Democratic applicants have previously held elected office.

The 5th District contains the northern portion of Marion County and all of Indianapolis’s northern suburbs, and it stretches as far north as the city of Marion, Ind.

Allen Ray Davidson

Davidson

Davidson

Throughout his career as an engineer, Allen Ray Davidson said he’s made it his mission to reduce waste and increase efficiency in government.

The 45-year-old Fishers resident said he has the technical skills necessary to fix the problems in government. He points to his experience as a pavement design engineer for the Indiana Department of Transportation, where he said he alerted officials about buried underdrain outlets causing failures along I-65 near Seymour, Ind.

Due to his help, he said inspectors found 34 percent of underdrain outlets were blocked or buried, and he said it saved the state millions of dollars in project costs. He said it’s an example of his attention to detail which can protect taxpayers.

“I have served the state of Indiana well in my career, to the benefit of all Hoosiers,” Davidson said. “However, I feel that my skills can be better utilized in Washington D.C., for the benefit of all Americans.”

Davidson said he’s also familiar with environmental law due to his work with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Davidson has a daughter, 9-year-old Tanisha, and a son, 4-year-old Ruhan. He has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Texas Tech University.

Shawn Denney

Denney

Denney

Some politicians talk about the tough economy, but Shawn Denney said he’s seen it firsthand.

The 41-year-old Lawrence Township resident said he had a stable, well-paying job in the insurance and investments industry, but, “in the blink of an eye I found myself on the unemployment line.”

“Like me, many people have to find other job opportunities, learn new trades and develop second careers,” he said. “I want to be that voice in Washington that speaks up and advocates for America’s middle and working class.”

That year, Denney took on a new role as educator, teaching young minds about U.S. and world history. He said that gives him insight into what’s good and bad about the state’s education system, one of his top focuses if he is elected.

“Finding the support for our teachers and the communities which support our school districts are just a few of the opportunities I want to advocate for in Washington,” he said.

Denney has three children, Perrin, 15, Charles Kalvin, seven, and Liam, 18 months. He is engaged to Amber Stearns. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Indianapolis.

David Ford

Ford

Ford

The youngest of the three potential candidates, David Ford doesn’t turn 30 until the day before the general election. But Ford said that doesn’t mean he’s inexperienced.

He has served eight years in the U.S. Air Force, including stays at Fort Carson in Colorado and Osan Air Base in South Korea. Since he was honorably discharged in September 2013, he said he’s been focused on his political career.

Ford served in a variety of capacities, but it was his role as government purchase card holder that made him troubled by how the government wastes the taxpayers’ money, he said.

Ford said he’s concerned about the lawmakers representing Indiana. He notes that the number of members of Congress who have served in the armed forces is at an all-time low. He believes elected officials should see their job as a selfless duty, not a perk.

“Washington politicians are out of touch. They are so busy high-fiving each other and patting each other on the back that they have forgotten that they serve at the pleasure of the people,” he said. “Too often, they return to their districts only to fundraise so they can go back to Washington. They believe that the people serve the establishment.”

Ford lives in Westfield with his wife, Marcella, and their 6-month-old son Ethan.

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