As he did in June’s primary, state Rep. J.D. Prescott is fielding a challenge from a local teacher in the upcoming general election.

Democrat Julie Snider, a long-time Muncie Community Schools teacher, is looking to unseat Prescott (R-Union City) from the Indiana House of Representatives. Prescott is finishing his first term as District 33’s representative.

“I’m not just going to fight for things a few people need in District 33,” said Snider, who listed education funding, broadband internet access and expanding state grants for rural communities as her highest priorities if elected.

Prescott, who introduced bills in the previous session that would have eased the application process for fiber optic cables to be installed across the state and make a statewide standardized test for third graders optional for school districts, said he looks to continue what he started in his first term while staying true to his conservative principals.

The upcoming legislative session is of heightened importance as it’s the first full session since the coronavirus pandemic began. (Indiana’s 2020 “short session” concluded March 11.) The 2021 “long session” is expected to be highlighted by state legislators deliberating over Indiana’s biennial budget in the midst of a whirlwind of fiscal uncertainties catalyzed by a recession earlier this year.

“Obviously COVID took a hit on us but the economy is recovering quicker than originally expected,” Prescott said.

He was one of four state representatives to write a letter to Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb criticizing his stay-at-home order in the spring. He said long-term coronavirus measures should have been decided by an Indiana General Assembly special session and that he is working on a bill that will be introduced in the upcoming session that would limit the powers of a governor during a declared emergency.

Snider, who went back to teaching at Muncie Central High School in early August, said it was the right decision for Jay Schools to delay the start of school until after Labor Day to make sure it was ready to operate in the midst of a pandemic.

She also marked Scout Clean Energy’s Bitter Ridge Wind Farm as a valuable addition to Jay County.

“I feel like the more things we can do like that the better,” said Snider, adding businesses and residents are attracted to areas with environment-friendly energy sources.

Attracting high-paying jobs to the area benefits every sector of the community, Snider said, and any policy to help rural areas to do so is a plus.

“It seems like most of the laws we pass, most of the policies we pass benefit suburban and urban areas,” Snider said.

Both Prescott and Snider will be at a meet-the-candidate event hosted by Jay County Chamber of Commerce at 6 p.m. Oct. 15.

Prescott prevailed in the Republican primary in June over Jay County High School teacher Brittany Kloer, securing 69.4% of the vote.

Snider won the Democrat primary against challenger Ryan Scott Davis by more than 1,000 votes.

This is the first time Snider has run for political office. Jay County has been represented by a Republican in the House every year since Portland’s Bill Davis won the 2004 general election.

District 33 encompasses all of Jay and Randolph counties and part of Delaware County. Election day is Nov. 3. Absentee in-person voting begins Tuesday.