Gail Riecken

Gail Riecken is a Democratic member of the Indiana House of Representatives, representing the 77th District since 2009. She is a candidate for Mayor of Evansville, the third-largest city in the state, in the 2015 election.

Riecken graduated from Benjamin Bosse High School in Evansville and obtained a BA in Sociology and Social Work from Indiana University. She was a real estate broker and riverboat captain prior to her involvement in electoral politics. From 2000 until 2004, Riecken was an Economic Development specialist with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. In 2004, Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel appointed Riecken as Director of the City Parks and Recreation Department where she served until December 2007.

Riecken was elected at-large to the Evansville City Council in 1991 and 1995. Riecken ran for Congress in 1998 as the Democratic nominee in Indiana’s 8th congressional district. She lost in the general election to incumbent Republican John Hostettler. Riecken ran for mayor of Evansville, Indiana in 1999, but lost in the Democratic primary to Rick Borries, who lost the November race to Republican Russ Lloyd Junior.

In 2008, Gail Riecken first won election to the Indiana House of Representatives in District 77 in an un-opposed race. In 2010, Riecken won re-election by narrowly defeating Republican Cheryl Musgrave by a margin of 7,547 to 7,379 (51% to 49%). In 2012, in a district with redrawn lines favoring Democrats, Riecken defeated Republican Alan Leibundguth 64.4% to 35.6%. In 2014 Riecken won re-election by defeating Republican Jeremy Heath 62% to 38%.

Policy positions

Riecken has consistently supported liberal fiscal and social policies throughout her political career. On education, she supported strong national control by opposing repeal of the Common Core educational standards.[1] In fiscal matters, Riecken supports raises to the federal minimum wage and increases on corporate taxes.[2] She also supports increased gun control, subsidies for U.S. farmers, and citizenship for illegal immigrants. With health care Riecken supported the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and government mandates requiring health insurance companies to provide free birth control.


2011 Legislative walkout

Riecken and thirty-six other Democratic representatives participated in a legislative walkout on February 22, 2011, in opposition to proposed legislation limiting union powers in Indiana. The Democratic departure left the House void of a quorum, leaving only 58 of the 67 representatives needed to establish a quorum.[3] The Democrats ended the standoff after 36 days, returning on March 28, 2011.

Syngas controversy

Riecken supported the state mandated purchase of syngas through coal gasification technology. Developers of Leucadia National proposed a $2.6 billion syngas plant in Rockport, Indiana. Under the terms of the deal endorsed by Riecken, the state of Indiana would have bought syngas under a 30-year contract and then mandate that utilities within the state pass on any losses from the transaction on to Hoosier customers.Gas from the plant would make up about 17 percent of the state’s supply. The deal received criticism due to government intrusion in the energy markets, and for forcing consumers to sign up for risky long-term gas purchases at prices substantially higher than market prices. Questions were also raised due to Leucadia National hiring Mark Lubbers to promote the deal. Lubbers is a former aide and close friend of former Governor Mitch Daniels. The project was ultimately panned by the state legislature in 2013.

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