Adoption Reform,  2024 election, Black Conservatism in Indiana, & more w/ IN Sen. Candidate Philip Clay

Ever wondered about the House and Senate members who pass over a thousand bills every year? Can you name more than the few that media outlets highlight? Most likely not. Candid{ate} Conversations” is here to bridge the gap between the familiar names in politics and the depth of their roles that often go unnoticed. We’re introducing you to elected officials you may have heard of but have little insight into their day-to-day responsibilities.

Welcome to Candid{ate} Conversations, a unique platform for candid discussions with elected officials and individuals striving to be elected. We embark on insightful conversations that explore the challenges, aspirations, and visions of political leaders and aspiring candidates. Whether you prefer to listen to podcasts or read about our discussions, we aim to provide valuable insights into the political landscape, policies, and the people driving change in our communities and nation.

In this episode of “Candid{ate} Conversation” on The Janelle King Show series, we explore key issues with Phil Clay, a Conservative Republican candidate from Indiana. We discuss prioritizing diplomacy over conflict (“Diplomacy over Daggers”), adoption reform, and insights into Black conservatism in Indiana. From addressing economic challenges and the border crisis to discussing the impact of liberal policies on abortion and the need for effective leadership within the Republican party, Phil Clay offers a unique vision for Indiana’s future. Join us for a candid and insightful conversation on critical topics shaping our political landscape.
[Below, you’ll find an edited snippet from our conversation, streamlined for clarity and ease of reading. This excerpt is taken from various parts of the discussion, not necessarily from the beginning.]


Philip Clay: We need to refocus on having meaningful conversations and working within our own party to achieve our goals, leveraging our votes and abilities effectively. I’m challenging a 35-year incumbent, a unique situation where the incumbent left the Republican caucus, lost committee roles, and has become ineffective. While it’s not the job I initially sought, I’ve stepped up with my family’s support to bring about impactful change.

Janelle King: That’s interesting 35 years, you’re part of the new wave in politics. I can relate to that, being part of the younger political class. We bring a different perspective; we’ve come to realize and are still learning that in this world, the baton isn’t just passed on—it often needs to be taken because it’s not about who’s holding it but where they’re taking it. Our generation is well-equipped to grasp this concept because, in the end, most older officials won’t feel the full impact of their decisions as much as we and our children will. This creates a sense of responsibility among younger conservatives to ensure we’re securing a better future. The idea of not challenging an incumbent is outdated; if someone isn’t serving our interests or those of future generations, they’re out. Similarly, the notion of refraining from critiquing opponents is also fading; if someone in office is making harmful decisions, it’s crucial to address them openly. This approach helps ensure that we have the right leaders in place. On another note, there have been many articles discussing black-on-black crime concerning you. Where do you stand on crime-related issues like these?

Philip Clay: I specifically want to address the situation in Indianapolis, where we’ve witnessed a significant rise in crime under Democrat policies. Joe Hawks, who has served as the Mayor of Indianapolis for three terms now, hasn’t seen any improvement in this regard. Despite winning the majority of straight-ticket votes, he hasn’t been able to address these challenges effectively. Our primary focus in the general assembly is to remove these ineffective prosecutors from office. If they’re not fulfilling their duties, we need to replace them with individuals who will. We can’t just talk about these issues; we need to take action. At home, we emphasize the importance of action, and that’s the mindset I bring to my work. I’m not satisfied with sitting on the sidelines or watching from afar; it’s time to get involved, get in the game, and make meaningful changes.

Janelle King: What challenges does your opponent, Michael, pose in your race, given his role on a correction and crime committee, and what actions or lack thereof do you see as significant in this context?

Philip Clay: Absolutely respect Mike; our conversation played a role in my decision to run. I believe in having honest conversations; if something needs to be said, we’ll talk it out. I told Mike about my decision to run and emphasized the importance of running a respectful race, hoping for mutual respect in return. Despite knowing he doesn’t drink coffee, I mentioned my willingness to sit down for a Coke or a round of golf to discuss things further.

Philip Clay: My concern with Mike isn’t his legislative competence but rather his decision to distance himself from Republican leadership due to personal differences. This has resulted in him taking a passive role, which has begun to impact our district significantly. When discussing Indiana, people often mention the Motor Speedway, our airport, and the Law Enforcement Academy. These key landmarks are all part of the district I aim to represent. It’s clear that our current senator isn’t effectively advocating for our district’s interests, which is why I’m running—to bring proactive and impactful change to our community.

Janelle King: Can you break down your District, including any involved counties? What should I know if I’m not in Indiana? And most importantly, for your constituents, what areas should they focus on regarding your race?

Philip Clay: Senate District 35 encompasses Speedway, Plainfield, Indianapolis, Decatur Township, Clayton, and Hazelwood in Marion County and Hendricks County. With a population of around 137,000, our district is crucial as it includes the surrounding counties of Indianapolis along Interstate 465. While many of these “donut” counties lean Republican, they are susceptible to turning purple or even blue, given the current influence of Indianapolis. This race holds immense significance, as the primary winner often secures victory in the general election. With low turnout in primaries, there’s a unique opportunity to shape policies for the upcoming legislative session and address community needs. I strongly urge everyone to get involved in any way possible, as this engagement is vital for our district’s future.

Janelle King: What are the key platform items that differentiate your campaign and demonstrate forward-thinking compared to your opponents?

Philip Clay:

I share many of the same ideas as my opponents since it’s a Republican primary, and naturally, our platforms will align on key issues such as anti-abortion stances, supporting law enforcement, advocating for tax policies, pushing for adoption reform, and ensuring border security. However, my major distinction lies in my strong support for term limits. While I won’t specify an exact number, I believe individuals should serve for significantly less than 15 years in office. The founding fathers never envisioned such lengthy terms, and prolonged stays in office can hinder fresh leadership and meaningful change, which is why I prioritize term limits as a key differentiator in this race.

Janelle King: Are there specific bills or policies you plan to prioritize right from the start? I have a particular issue in mind that I intend to address immediately.

Philip Clay: The key focus for me is school choice, which I believe is crucial for parents to choose the best educational system for their children. School choice hits close to home as my mom is a charter school teacher, giving us a deep understanding of its importance. Additionally, I feel we must address property taxes; the current average property tax bill in Indiana exceeds $1300, which is excessively high. We shouldn’t be renting our homes from the government but should own them outright. Lastly, Workforce Development is a significant area of concern. While Indiana ranks seventh in attracting college students, we’re 47th in retaining them. This indicates that although Indiana has a compelling narrative, we need to improve our efforts in both promoting and retaining talent within the state.

Janelle King: Sure, before we dive into the quick-fire segment, I’d like to briefly discuss some social issues. Given your background as a Black conservative man from Indiana, I’m curious about your stance on topics like racism and reparations, which are significant in our culture and community. Do you have perspectives on these issues?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this snippet of my discussion with Philip Clay. To hear the entire interview, please click on the link below.

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