State Rep. Win Moses’ defeat is a loss not just to Fort Wayne but – given his role as one of the few effective watchdogs of utilities – to all Hoosiers.
Though some of his constituents might regard his 20-year tenure in the Indiana House as long enough, his loss can best be attributed not to his tenure but to redistricting.
The Republican-controlled General Assembly moved many of the Democratic areas in Moses’ 81st District to fellow Democrat Phil GiaQuinta’s 80th District. Moses had to face a much more Republican-leaning district than in the previous decade.
Tellingly, no Republican opposed GiaQuinta, but state Republicans put a lot of effort into defeating Moses.
Moses long had the support of many independents and even some Republicans because of his two terms as a popular mayor, from 1980 to 1987. But that ended a quarter-century ago when he was defeated following a campaign finance scandal, and Moses was probably as well known now for participating in warranted but unpopular Democratic walkouts that deprived the GOP-dominated House of a quorum.
An astute politician who has extraordinary people skills and a passion to protect less-fortunate Hoosiers, Moses developed a reputation for scrutinizing and – when appropriate – challenging utility rate increases and other legislation he believed helped utility stockholders at the expense of consumers.
One of his most dramatic floor appearances came in 2006 when he questioned a fellow Allen County representative about the controversial Indiana Toll Road lease. Moses’ pointed questions demonstrated much closer knowledge of the lease and the legislation than the bill’s author.
And Moses, a former city councilman as well as mayor, was exceptionally attuned to the needs and challenges facing Indiana’s cities. As a state representative, he strived to help both Republican and Democratic mayors with some of those issues.
To his credit, Republican Martin Carbaugh waged an aggressive and competitive campaign. And with luck, he will represent the city as well as Moses.
But the former mayor will be missed in the state legislature.