By: JIM IRIZARRY
As part of the SGA, both as a senator and as president, Justin Chupp wanted to get everyone involved in making IUSB a better place. Now, as a Republican candidate for state representative, he wants to bring those same ideas to southern St. Joseph County.
The Nappanee native and 2015 IUSB graduate is running to become the state representative from District 7, which covers the west side of South Bend, southern Mishawaka, and the southern rural areas of St. Joseph County. He is currently the only Republican candidate on the ballot for District 7. He will run against Democrat Joe Taylor in the November 8 general election. Being a state representative is not usually on the list of jobs that many recent college graduates have, but Chupp is ready for the challenge.
“I think of how a lot of individuals look, I wouldn’t say necessarily down, but challenge these younger generations that are coming out of school. You know, how are you qualified? What do you have to offer?” Chupp said, in an interview Friday at Chicory Café in South Bend. “My experience before through student government, as I said before, is not my main key, but I understand the dynamics of operating a sense of a government and operating that on a small scale, but, really, when it comes down to the voice in general and understanding that it’s not all about just pushing your agenda, pushing your agenda; it’s about what the constituent’s voice is.”
Chupp isn’t solely relying on the experience he gained in student government here at IUSB. After graduation, he attended the Leadership Institute. He is the co-founder of a marketing company, Genesis Innovations. He also serves as the outreach coordinator for the United Health Services St. Joseph County Suicide Prevention Center. It is in that capacity that he is also a Yellow Ribbon Presenter, which focuses on youth suicide prevention.
“I’ve spoken now with some high school students in classrooms, and it’s these individuals who are our future, and I believe passionately about investing in our future and this younger generation and really helping them develop as our community and culture is kind of changing,” Chupp said.
It’s the younger generation that Chupp believes needs to step up to help grow the state, not just in his district, but as a whole.
“If you look at the new technology and you look at the transition across the world right now, if you don’t have different types of thinking coming into these conversations in the Statehouse, how do you expect for these resolutions to truly be most effective for not just now, but in the future?” Chupp asked.
What issues can Chupp and the younger generation help fix in District 7? Being a rural area, agriculture is certainly on the list. He also thinks that the area needs help in education.
“Innovative education and reform is something that I am very passionate about. This is something that we see on a state level, as well as on a national level,” Chupp said. “With that, there are a lot of different areas that need to be continued to be developed.”
Chupp was appointed and served for two years on the Indiana Student Completion Council by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education during his time at IUSB. He was able to engage in many conversations on the board while representing his community. He says he understands where Indiana is now, where it can go, and how it can get farther by connecting with student leaders.
“Although my district does not have college universities in it, we do have students that live in there,” Chupp said. “That also influences the people. So I want to make sure my fellow citizens, my fellow Hoosiers, are taken care of as well.”
Indiana’s primary election is May 3. While the deadline to register to vote in the primary has passed, you can register to vote in the November 8 general election between May 17 and October 11.