Letters to the Editor Supporting Penny Githens

Consider these positions (HT: 4/26/18)

The negative effect of large amounts of money in our elections is eroding our democracy. The decision by the U. S. Supreme Court in Citizens United (2010) has resulted in gluttony of money to essentially buy those representing us in Congress and statehouses. This decision gave corporations the same rights as people and declared that money equals speech.

Reverse Citizens United of Monroe County asked local candidates their positions on this controversial decision.

The following candidates responded that they did not agree with the Citizens United decision and support a constitutional amendment to overturn it. Further, they support regulations to make campaign contributions limited and transparent.

• Joe Donnelly, D, U.S. Senate candidate

• Dan Canon, D, U.S. House candidate for District 9

• Rob Chatlos, D, U.S. House candidate for District 9

• Liz Watson, D, U.S, House candidate for District 9

• Penny Githens, D, state representative candidate for District 46

• Matt Pierce, D, state representative candidate for District 61

• James Alspach, R, candidate for U.S. House District 9, does not support a constitutional amendment, but does support regulations to limit campaign contributions and make them transparent.

Please consider the positions of these candidates when you vote.

Doug Davis,
Reverse Citizens United of Monroe County



Need more like Githens (HT: 6/25/18)

This letter is in support of Penny Githens as a candidate for the Indiana General Assembly in District 60. I have known her for almost 20 years. Penny is a bright, energetic and hard-working young woman with degrees in science and educational psychology.

After becoming interested in running for office due to disagreements with legislative action, especially on privatization of schools, she has attended meetings and rallies in this gerrymandered district to seek opinions of its citizens and to speak out on her education views.

As a mother of an autistic young man, she has long been involved in local school issues. She feels that vouchers and charter schools hurt public schools financially; and that such schools have not proved to be equal or better than current public schools. Such schools often have fewer licensed teachers, less specialized services and inadequate lunch programs.

Public schools need more monies in order to adequately provide services for special needs and for increased preschool programs. Penny will be a strong, new voice for our citizens, making policy decisions based on facts and research. The Indiana legislators need more women who are as bright and articulate as Penny Githens.

Shirley Fitzgibbons



Participate in forums (HT: 8/3/18)

Regarding the Indiana state representative from District 60, my friends and I challenge Peggy Mayfield to participate in all public forums. We know what platform Penny Githens stands on:

Penny will work hard for Hoosiers to have a living wage. She will listen to businesses about their hiring needs, promote apprenticeships for high school students and hire Hoosiers for state infrastructure projects.

Penny will restore common sense to public education, including fully funding public schools, teaching to the child instead of to the test and funding quality pre-K programs for all 4-year-olds.

Penny will work to create more opioid treatment centers, increase the number of doctors and therapists and address addiction as a public-health issue.

Penny has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and math education from Purdue and a master’s degree in educational psychology from IU. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya. She’s been an advocate in the Bloomington and Indiana autism societies. She volunteers with special-needs students through the Monroe County YMCA, and she’s a CASA volunteer.

Improving Indiana’s future is Penny’s priority. Peggy Mayfield must tell Hoosiers her plans for our future.

Robert Eakle



Make views known (HT: 8/24/18)

The power of the vote is the foundation of democracy. It is each voters responsibility to become informed about issues and about the candidates seeking office.

Speaking with, listening to the concerns of and answering the questions of their constituents is part of an elected representatives job. Anyone seeking office should make their views known to voters.

In the race for Indiana Representative District 60, there is a big contrast between Peggy Mayfield and Penny Githens. I have found it difficult to know what Mayfield’s plans are for Indiana. Her Facebook page lists no upcoming events. Her website has a calendar of events that is blank for August, September and October.

Penny Githens is engaging with the people of District 60. She talks with them individually and attends public events where questions can be asked by the voters.

I would like to see both candidates at the upcoming forum for disability issues, the forum for Indiana House of Representatives candidates and any debates that might take place. Give the voters an opportunity to make an informed decision.

Kathy Ruark


Githens will represent us (HT: 9/7/18)

I met Penny Githens several years ago at some community events. We share the experience of having a child with disabilities and having to navigate a patchwork of education and social service programs in Indiana.

Penny is running for state representative for District 60. She understands the important role the Legislature plays in funding public education from kindergarten through college and in funding mental health and other support services needed by many in our communities. We know a great deal about what works in education and mental health, but in Indiana we have not adequately funded those programs.

Penny will advocate for state funds to local schools so they can pay teachers wages to keep them in Indiana, funds to support families and caregivers for people with disabilities so they can live to their fullest potential and funds to provide health and mental health care to children and adults so they can cope with challenges they face.

What I appreciate most about Penny is her involvement in the community and her ability to listen. Penny will be responsive to her constituents, throughout the district. She will attend community events and listen to voters across party lines. She will represent us.

Kathy Byers


Githens the clear choice (HT: 9/7/18)

The Hoosier voucher program, approved by Indiana legislators in 2011, diverts $154 million to private schools from education tax dollars needed to serve the majority of our children in public education. Further, according to a recent study by researchers at the universities of Kentucky and Notre Dame, voucher students not only fell behind their public-school peers academically, but the loss persisted for several years.

District 60 has a choice Nov. 6 of sending a representative to the Indiana Legislature that believes in protecting our schools from this thinly disguised effort to privatize our schools and take away our school boards.

That choice is Penny Githens.

She is the mother of young adults who have gone through public schools. She is the mother of a young adult who needed the special needs program only offered by MCCSC, not a private school. She is dedicated to improving education by respecting teachers, their unions and their acute need for more state tax monies.

Penny’s opponent supports vouchers, despite the fact that the goal to improve educational opportunities for low-income students has not been realized in Indiana.

If you live in District 60, Penny Githens is a clear choice. Please vote!

Susan and Doug Davis


Now voting against party (HT: 10/9/18)

During this year’s primary election, I voted only for women. That changed with the Republican Party’s blithe support for a Supreme Court nominee despite credible evidence of having committed sexual assault. For me, supporting women has transitioned into voting against the party of Trump, who himself demonstrates male chauvinism on a regular basis.

Are all Republicans sexist? Of course not, but until their representatives stand up against the repeated attacks against women, there should be payback at the ballot box. That can start with our community’s support for Liz Watson, a highly qualified candidate who would serve her constituents with informed, compassionate leadership.

I also hope droves of voters will support Joe Donnelly because his Democratic vote counts in the sharply divided Senate. Hopefully, Monroe County voters also will strongly support Democratic candidates, especially those in contested races. The list of qualified local Democratic candidates running against Republican opponents is long. It includes Penny Githens for state rep, Nicole Browne — a great clerk already, as well as Darcie Fawcett for judge, Lee Jones for Monroe County commissioner and three candidates for Monroe County Council: Shelli Yoder, Ashley Pirani and in District 2 (my favorite candidate), Kate Wiltz.

Jim Wiltz


Githens Deserves Vote (HT: 10/12/18)

Do you care about your community schools? Do you believe schools that receive our tax dollars should be required to serve all children? Should taxpayers have access to information about their budgets, curriculum and teachers’ qualifications? Should we be able to vote for school board members to keep our schools responsive to local values and needs? If you answer “yes” to these questions, vote for Penny Githens.

In recent years, Indiana legislators have funneled money away from the districts that have a mandate to serve all into vouchers for private schools that serve some, and into charter schools that have private, self-selected boards and low transparency. Leakage of families and funds damages our public schools, causing the loss of teachers and programs.

In the past two years, incumbent Peggy Mayfield voted along party lines to make the state superintendent appointed, to deprive two cities of the power to elect an actual school board, to shift taxpayer dollars toward private voucher schools, and to fund public schools at levels well below the rate of inflation.

Penny Githens is a practical, whip-smart candidate who understands communities need strong public schools to thrive. She’s a longtime advocate for children with autism and other special needs. Vote for Penny in District 60.

Jenny Robinson


Keep education in mind and vote (HT: 10/19/18)

I admit it. Daily, I am deep in the weeds of supporting public education. I’m a retired public school educator. Two of my adult children and their spouses are public school educators. My grandchildren attend public schools. Our family gatherings are peppered with conversations about everything that is public education from DeVos to the Statehouse to MCCSC to the daily classroom. I have immense concerns about the intentional dismantling of public education — the foundation of our democracy. When I talk to any candidate or read their platforms, I am looking for what they say about public education.

Having moderated forums, read survey responses and talked with candidates, I will unreservedly vote for the following people for MCCSC school board: Elizabeth Ruh, Byron Turner and Brandon Shurr. Fortunately, Matt Pierce has always been pro-public education, as are Penny Githens and Tomasina Marsili — though she isn’t on my ballot. And finally, Liz Watson’s pro-public education voice must be in Congress.

Vote ... keeping in mind dedicated teachers, your own and other people’s children and the future of our democracy.

Debbie Fish


Githens Supported (HT: 10/23/18)

I am writing to support Penny Githens as candidate for the Indiana General Assembly in District 60. I met Penny six years ago when we were poll workers. Her intelligence, warmth and enthusiasm, evident throughout a long and tiring day, impressed me strongly.

At our YMCA, where she volunteers with special-needs clients, I have witnessed Penny’s remarkable ability to reach out and listen to others. As the mother of an autistic child, she has experienced firsthand the struggles of so many Hoosier families. She has been a strong critic of vouchers and charter schools, which negatively impact the ability of our public schools to provide licensed teachers, specialized services, adequate school lunches and pre-K programs. Penny recognizes the gravity of the opioid crisis and will work to create more treatment centers, increase the number of doctors and therapists, and address addiction as a public-health issue. She believes that working Hoosiers should be paid a living wage. She promotes apprenticeships and state infrastructure projects.

Penny is dedicated to improving education, jobs, and health care for all Hoosiers. I encourage citizens living in District 60 to look for Penny on the campaign trail and to take the opportunity of speaking with her.

Christine Potter