SOUTHERN INDIANA — Floyd County Commissioner Shawn Carruthers has announced he will seek the state Senate District 46 seat being vacated by Ron Grooms.
Grooms, a three-term state legislator from Jeffersonville, said June 4 he would not seek re-election next year.
Republican Carruthers, who has pondered a foray into state politics for about two years, saw Grooms’ pending departure as the right time to seize the opportunity.
“It happened a little sooner than I expected,” Carruthers said of the Senate seat opening up, “but it’s an opportunity I cannot let slip by.”
Carruthers said he wants to ensure state government is responsive, especially as we emerge from the global pandemic, and focused on economic growth.
“I want to make sure we have funding for training, that employers have an educated workforce,” he said.
People are important to Carruthers, he told the News and Tribune on Thursday. “I want to enhance the quality of life in District 46, and invest in our kids, our future.
“I want to make sure the agencies are funded that take care of less fortunate people dealing with life problems, like addiction.”
Carruthers said he has a track record of fighting for people to improve their quality of life. “It’s not just a line item on my resume, it’s something I care about.”
Carruthers noted his leadership in Floyd County, where he helped secure a $16 million grant to meet community needs, including $2 million to extend broadband to more households, and $250,000 to help businesses survive the pandemic.
He also pointed to the economic momentum in the county with the creation of Novaparke Innovation and Technology Campus, which stands to bring 400 good-paying jobs to the area.
“I don’t want this to be a pass-through place, but a destination,” he said of Southern Indiana. “I want people to come here to get jobs and to vacation. I want it to be the destination it can be.”
Indiana Senate District 46 covers Clark and Floyd counties, the cities of New Albany and Jeffersonville, and the towns of Clarksville, Georgetown and Greenville.
The race to fill the Senate seat is likely to attract numerous candidates, one of them being Greenville Republican Kevin Boehnlein, who was tapped by Sen. Grooms as his heir apparent.
That endorsement of Boehnlein doesn’t concern Carruthers.
“At the end of the day, it comes down to the voters,” he said. “I want the endorsement of voters.”
Elected Floyd County commissioner in November 2018, Carruthers, who is the first Black person to be elected commissioner there, has served as president of the governing body. He previously held a number of positions with the Floyd County GOP, most recently as chairman but also treasurer, precinct committee person and convention delegate.
Locally, he is a member of the Caesar’s Foundation and Town Clock Church boards. He also serves on the Lieutenant Governor’s Rural Affairs Committee as well as the advisory committee for the Indiana Republican Diversity Leadership Series.
An Oklahoma native, the 52-year-old Carruthers first came to New Albany when he married in 1992 and after a few years away, moved back permanently in 1999. He is retired from Frito Lay and before that owned a mortgage company. He and his wife, Ann, a social worker, have two grown children, Chris and Kirsten.
The 2022 Indiana Primary election is Tuesday, May 3. Candidates can petition to be placed on the Primary ballot beginning Jan. 5 and continuing through noon Feb. 4. Absentee voting begins April 5.