Auburn Republican Dennis Kruse first won his Indiana Senate seat in a GOP caucus necessitated by the death of Sen. Charles “Bud” Meeks in 2004.
If Kruse were to follow the example set by many of his predecessors, he would take an early exit and allow party leaders to pick his successor, setting the replacement up as an incumbent with a strong election advantage.
To his credit, in announcing last week his intent to not seek reelection, the veteran lawmaker said he will finish his current term. All Republican voters will have the chance to choose a nominee in 2022; all District 14 voters will have a voice in electing his successor.
Our editorial board has frequently been on the opposite side of Kruse on issues. He was author of a 2014 resolution seeking a constitutional ban on gay marriage and a bill requiring parents' written permission for a student to participate in a sex education course. Kruse also was author of the divisive and damaging Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2015. While supporting school choice measures that came with no accountability to taxpayers, he proposed countless new mandates for public schools.
But the Auburn auction company owner also has been a staunch supporter of the region's higher education interests at IPFW and the regional campus' current IU and Purdue programs. He opposed the push to make the state superintendent of public instruction a political appointee and he supported efforts to counter the predatory lending practices some Republican colleagues worked to protect. While sometimes contrary to our viewpoint, Kruse's legislative efforts seemed to strive for his ideal of a free and democratic society – likely in line with the ideals of most in his conservative district.
The senator's decision to finish out his term and give voters a voice in choosing the next District 14 representative reflects the strong commitment Kruse has shown to his voters. It's an example all lawmakers should follow.