With a GOP caucus victory last fall, Casey Cox won a brief head start on challengers Kenneth Knoblauch and Denny Worman. He managed in his first legislative session to demonstrate a firm grasp of a sometimes-contentious legislative process and emerge as the best candidate for the Indiana House District 85 nomination.
Cox, 31, was tested by fire. He found himself on not one, but two committees assigned to consider House Joint Resolution 3, the measure to write a ban on same-sex marriage into the state constitution. Testimony in both the Judiciary and Elections committee was spirited, to say the least.
The temptation for a young legislative rookie would be to keep one’s head down and follow the lead of the House speaker. Cox, however, took arguments against the flawed proposal to heart and voted to remove the troublesome second sentence that would have outlawed civil unions. In doing so, he angered tea party activists and other HJR 3 supporters who wanted the resolution to go to a statewide referendum in November. The amendment delays the process until at least 2016, although many believe changing views and legal rulings mean it will never go before voters.
I tried to meet with as many people as possible, Cox said of the issue. I take it very seriously.
An attorney with Beers Mallers Backs & Salin, he’s also faced controversial matters as a member of the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission and as a student member of the Indiana University Board of Trustees. Both are excellent training grounds in local and state government. A bill he authored requiring the Indiana State Police to study the use of familial DNA was adopted this year.
Cox is a Fort Wayne resident. District 85 includes a portion of the city’s east side and most of the eastern portion of Allen County.
Knoblauch, 68, is a well-qualified challenger. A lifelong resident of Woodburn, he’s a veteran, a retired educator and former East Allen County Schools board member. He also has experience in industry.
Knoblauch cites his decades of diverse experience and said he wanted voters in the district to have an opportunity to choose among candidates.
Worman, 60, is seeking the GOP nomination in District 85 for the sixth time, having lost each of his previous bids to Rep. Phyllis Pond. A Leo-Cedarville resident, he is a real estate agent.