One on One with Senator Victoria Spartz
Newly elected state Senator shares insights on her priorities and governing philosophy
By Mike Corbett
Victoria Spartz, 39, was recently elected by a caucus of Republican precinct committeemen to replace six term State Senator Luke Kenley, who retired. Like Kenley, Spartz is from Noblesville, having married life-long resident Jason Spartz in 2000 and immigrated from her native Ukraine. She has been a citizen since 2006.They have two school-age daughters.
The Spartz family owns Westbrook Village, an upscale mobile home park, and are farmers and land developers in Noblesville. Spartz has a financial background, is a CPA and has worked for various Fortune 200 companies and Big 4 public accounting firms. Most recently she was CFO for the Indiana Attorney General’s office, a post she resigned to avoid a conflict of interest with her elected position.
She earned her BS in International Economics and MBA at National University of Economics in Ukraine. She has a Master of Professional Accountancy degree from IU Kelley School of Business and serves on the adjunct faculty at the Kelley School.
She’s active in the Hamilton County Republican Party, having served as a volunteer, Vice Chair of the Party and President of the Hamilton County Federated Republican Women.
This interview was conducted by email and is unedited.
Hamilton County Business Magazine: You are an immigrant to the United States. Tell me how your background before you arrived impacts your political views.
Victoria Spartz: Growing up in a turbulent environment makes you more vigilant and aware of one’s liberties.
HCBM: You have a business background that should serve you well in the legislature. What do you see as the biggest issues facing Hamilton County businesses?
Spartz: Our state has been moving in the right direction, but we still need to continue benchmarking ourselves to make sure that innovation and human and financial capital will be retained and continue to grow in the long run.
HCBM: Can you elaborate on this a bit? Can you give me an example of a policy moving us in the right direction and where we might be heading the wrong direction?
Spartz: For example, we can always re-evaluate competitiveness of our tax structure and benchmark us against other states, re-assess our regulation burden on businesses and barriers of entry. We should also take a serious look at the efficiency of our educational system, welfare system and alignment of career opportunities and skills.
HCBM: The Spartz family owns considerable real estate in Noblesville. Tell me your views on property rights.
Spartz: Our nation was created based on a natural right to life, liberty and property. Property rights are extremely important for a free society and free individuals.
HCBM: I’d like to know how you feel about municipal economic incentives like tax abatements, TIF districts, etc. Do you think our local cities are using them wisely?
Spartz: I believe in local powers and local responsibility, so voters have an ability to have a more direct impact on these decisions. Although, we can take a look at enhancing flexibility, transparency of TIF adoption and expenditures, as well as broader involvement of elected local bodies.
HCBM: In what way should local elected bodies be more involved?
Spartz: By requiring that the capture of incremental value from any elected body be subject to a vote by that body.
HCBM: You are in favor of limited government. Do you feel the state government is too large now and, if so, where do you think we should cut?
Spartz: I believe we need to implement the COSO internal controls framework to enhance efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of our state government.
HCBM: Can you explain what COSO is and how it works?
Spartz: Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Section 404 required public companies to adopt the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) Internal Control–Integrated Framework. This framework is the best practice for the design and operation of internal controls to achieve an organization’s mission and objectives, and includes five components: control environment, risk assessment, control activities, information and communication, and monitoring. In recent years, the importance of Enterprise Risk Management and internal controls has been getting more traction in the public sector.
HCBM: Legislators often focus on a few favorite topics or issues on which to distinguish themselves. Do you plan to do that and, if so, what areas interest you?
Spartz: I am planning to work on all priorities we have to address. As a business person and educator, I am very passionate about enhancing our competitiveness, business and innovative environment, and educational opportunities. We have an excellent opportunity to advance Indiana’s brand even further, nationally and internationally, and establish long-term frameworks.
HCBM: I’ve noticed you like to quote writers and thinkers on economic issues. Who are your favorites and why?
Spartz: I am a big believer in free enterprise and amazed with some economists and philosophers like Hayek, Friedman, Mill, etc. Their work is as valid and relevant today as it was during their times. I also think every student should read “Democracy in America” written by Alexis de Tocqueville in 1835.
HCBM: What do you think is the biggest impediment to free enterprise in America and in Hamilton County?
Spartz: As Hayek discussed in his work (and also a lot of socialists), socialistic trends are inevitable, and socialism can be avoided only if we start recognizing the possibility of a development in this direction, which happened throughout history. I think we are at that point again.
I would like to quote Alexis de Tocqueville: “Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.” I would also add as someone who grew up in a socialistic system that socialism creates two classes: political elites on top and everyone else – equally poor.