Naomi Bechtold: The Right Leadership for Indiana House District 24
This November, our nation will be tasked with participating in one of the most important elections in our country’s history. Now is not the time for voter apathy. Now is the time for action—to vote—and to consider Naomi Bechtold for Indiana House District 24.
We’ve all heard political candidates state they want to be “a voice for change.” Naomi Bechtold brings not only a fresh perspective and extensive experience in academia and public policy, but she also brings a practical voice to government. When asked why she chose to run for Indiana House District 24, Bechtold shared that she is running because she cares about improving the state of Indiana and the lives of other Carmel, Zionsville
and Westfield residents.
The key issues that Naomi Bechtold is advocating for are
● Competitive pay for public school teachers and safety for our children.
● Better, more affordable health care options.
● Fair and secure elections.
● The highest standards for our clean air and water.
● Equal justice reform.
● Economic recovery during and post COVID-19.
● Healthy Hoosier families.
Establishing Strong Roots in the Hoosier State as a Community Leader
Raised in Maryland and a graduate of Duke University, Bechtold majored in public policy. After marrying her husband Marty of 31 years, Bechtold moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and earned her MBA from Lehigh University. After that, she moved to Chicago, then to Cleveland, where her two children were born. Subsequent job moves led the family to Philadelphia, then to Charlotte and finally to Carmel in 2008.
Since planting roots in her Hoosier community, Bechtold has enjoyed being a community leader and is a dedicated professional educator with Purdue Extension. She has served as a member on the Carmel Clay Parks Foundation Board of Directors, as a founding member of the Carmel Kiwanis Club and as president for the Indiana affiliate of the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.
“In all of these roles, I have consistently proven myself to be an independent thinker, thoughtful listener and a valuable member of the community,” Bechtold expressed.
“For over a decade, I’ve listened to the needs of local communities, mediated between sharply divided opinions and worked to find a collaborative path for progress.”
Bringing Extensive Experience in Academia to the Floor
Before moving to Carmel, Bechtold worked as fundraiser and development director of St. Viator High School in Chicago and started and operated a successful small business. In 2005, she moved into higher education, accepting a position at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Bechtold served as an internship coordinator and adjunct professor who taught leadership principles.
Since establishing herself in Carmel, Bechtold has been employed at Purdue University, first as a 4-H youth extension educator and presently as an extension specialist supporting educators throughout the state in the area of personal financial management.
“I’m known as what is called an ‘extension specialist,’” Bechtold explained. “I was a 4-H extension educator for six years, and I moved into health and human sciences in a similar role. My specialty is in the area of personal financial management education. I work with extension educators around the state and provide resources and work on [related] curriculum to help improve the lives of local community members.”
Bechtold is also an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®).
“As you can imagine, extension specialists and educators have become a very needed community resource over the last several months,” Bechtold shared. “I was reading an article in Consumer Reports magazine on key financial steps to take if you get laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19. That’s the type of thing that I do—I provide those resources back to the community.”
Dedicated to Serving Her Constituents and Fellow Hoosiers
As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the national and local economies, Bechtold shared how she views her role evolving from a private citizen whose job it is to provide resources and education to an elected official charged with the same and even more.
“My husband and I are doing our best to help support the local economy, small businesses and keep the restaurants going,” Bechtold stated. “There are several things that elected officials can do when it comes to aiding small businesses. We’re going to have to dive into the state’s reserves and use the funds to create bridge loans and grants to help the small businesses until we can start getting the economy back on track. These reserves are there for a rainy day, and right now, it’s a deluge.”
Bechtold stressed that it’s rough on restaurants who are working at 50% capacity.
“We also need money from the federal level—it can’t just come from the state level,” Bechtold said. “This is why we have the government—to provide help in these kinds of situations. The businesses are doing what they’re supposed to be doing and cutting back their capacity. But they still have expenses and employees to support. I would absolutely advocate pulling from the state’s reserves and pushing our elected federal
officials to make sure that assistance is made available to our businesses.”
On the subject of living wages, Bechtold shared her position on supporting an increase in the minimum wage to assist those who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and the marginalized individuals who are at the lower end of the pay scale.
“We really need to look at increasing the minimum wage to a living wage,” Bechtold stated. “You’ll hear the pushback, ‘Businesses can’t afford that,’ but I don’t think people understand that there are programs available and services that provide utility relief.”
Bechtold continued, “The bottom line is people don’t always understand that being poor is expensive. It is also vitally important that people have access to low-cost and high-quality childcare so that they can go find a decent job that pays more than $7.25 an hour and not have to worry about who they’ve left their children with. I see my role as an elected official as someone who will put in policies that are going to help citizens and provide education so that they know how to find them.”
Connecting Citizens via Broadband
Many may think that access to broadband services is strictly a rural issue. As Bechtold explained, it is not just an issue for the district’s rural citizens.
“We need to make sure that everyone has access to broadband,” Bechtold emphasized. “When it came to education, this past spring, educators found out that many families didn’t have internet access or the necessary technology, and the teachers couldn’t reach them. All this situation has done is really intensify the divide between the haves and have-nots. Broadband access is an essential component of any kind of rehabilitation as we move out of and beyond the pandemic. People have been calling
for it, but now it is absolutely essential.”
Working Across the Aisle and Building Coalitions
Regardless if the topic is focused on affordable and improved health care for Hoosier families, our children’s safety in schools, economic recovery, equal justice reform or any of the key areas of Bechtold’s campaign focus, she plans on continuing her proven strategies that include building purposeful and effective coalitions and partnerships with
“I work through partnerships and coalitions because I am not an expert in all areas, but I know people who are,” Bechtold stated. “It’s about making sure the right people are sitting at the table coming up with innovations. For people who think that different parties can’t talk and get around to creating solutions, this is what I do in my day job. I must bring together people from varying viewpoints and find common ground. I understand the fact that it can’t just be me and a bunch of Democrats sitting on one
corner saying we need to do this and that. We have to be able to work together. So, I understand the idea of building partnerships and working across the aisle—it has to happen.”
Election Reform Is a Priority Going Forward
Many of us got a crash course in election laws this year with regards to absentee voting and no-excuse voting options. No matter how you plan on voting in this year’s general election, Bechtold’s message is simply to “Vote!”
“It is important that everyone understands that every vote absolutely matters,” Bechtold exclaimed. “I’m telling people to apply for your absentee ballot now and then drive it over and walk it into the Hamilton County or Boone County election offices. Even if you must stand in line for a few minutes, it’s better than having to stand in line for hours, and
people will be standing in line for hours on election day. Otherwise, I’m suggesting that people vote early. I’m planning on doing so.”
Bechtold continued, “I would push to make sure that all voting booths throughout Indiana have the paper backup system. I know that Hamilton County is one of 10 counties that uses this ‘paper trail’ system. I think it would go a long way in making people feel less concerned about there being any kind of interference—domestic or international—and it would be an important use of our state’s funds. And I would push for no-excuse absentee ballots for the future.”
When asked how Bechtold feels about the topic of gerrymandering, she had this to say: “This is a huge year for the Democratic Party. We really need to break up the Republican supermajority. We just need to gain one seat, and that would mean the Republicans would have to have hearings for bills that we’re advocating for. Gerrymandering is not good for either side. There’s a reason why we have a two-party system, and that’s to be able to provide balance. Right now, we don’t have that.”
For more information about Naomi Bechtold for Indiana House District 24 and more about all the issues that she is advocating for, visit bechtoldforindiana.com.
PAID FOR BY BECHTOLD FOR INDIANA