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Congress - 15th District Candidate
Questions & Answers
|For the November 2018 Election|
What is the importance of the US Congress to your constituents in Champaign County?
Congress is important to every constituent in Champaign County. This is most obvious with the current vacuum in leadership in Washington in both Congressional districts that cover the county. The real impacts of policy failure lead to crumbling infrastructure, children being unfed, people suffering and dying due to lack of access to healthcare.
The decisions made and avoided in Congress by our current representatives are not providing the vital opportunities for our residents. Elected officials are our public servants. At least they are supposed to be. The lack of accessibility to these officials to their constituents allows them to avoid the consequences of their decisions and inaction.
We must hold them accountable.
Why are you qualified to be in the US Congress?
I’m qualified for this position because I’ve been fighting successfully for others throughout my life. From helping to push a referendum that built a new elementary school in Moultrie County, challenging the status quo at Rose-Hulman and Terre Haute, fighting to protect and strengthen healthcare access, providing prevention education in inner city schools and neighborhoods, and standing up for those who couldn’t wherever I’ve been. I have the experience and fighting spirit necessary to bring a transformational style of politics to Washington.
I was elected Vice Chair of a federal healthcare planning and advisory council that guided the Indiana State Department of Health in managing federal money and administering services across the state. We saved money and saved lives.
I also know what happens when bureaucrats make cavalier decisions without knowing the consequences. After I moved back to the district, Governor Pence took over Indiana and they gutted all of the programs we had fought so hard to protect. He created an HIV outbreak and the lack of access to healthcare led to the deaths of Hoosiers.
When you know what can happen when government fails, you care enough to inform yourself, to listen to people, and do something about our struggles.
What is a key policy difference between you and your Opponent?
The policy differences between myself and our 21-year incumbent are significant.
I want to strengthen healthcare and expand access while attacking the high costs. Our incumbent is sabotaging healthcare, decreasing access, and is in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry.
My goal is a renewed focus on expanding our economy and job market, not on big business campaign donors. Industrialization of hemp would bring back agriculture jobs and revenue to struggling communities. Microloans to small businesses would help jump start local economies and create new jobs. Increased funding and resources to federal training programs through community colleges will help fast track workers to better paying jobs.
There is so much that has been cut and ignored that would have helped boost our rural economies. Ever since the GOP took control over the House, their goal has been simple, make life more difficult for workers, for small businesses, and for rural communities so they could blame it on the other party.
The largest difference between myself and the long-term incumbent is my availability to voters. We’re having Town Halls everywhere. In just three months we’ve had many Town Halls. In over two decades, he’s held none. If you want accessible representation, the choice is simple.
Is there anything else you would like to say to an undecided voter in Champaign County?
The lack of leadership and direction from our representatives in Congress for the last few decades has resulted in too many missed opportunities. We should be so much further along than we are. That’s why I’m having conversations with people wherever I go. Not short conversations but extensive ones. Not single conversations but many conversations over months and years.
I don’t have all the answers. The people of this district have the answers. It’s about us coming together and working toward a future with more opportunities for everyone, with better paying jobs, more industries to put people back to work, with an education system that prepares the next generation for a better future instead of a stagnant economy.
Champaign County has a history of rising to steep challenges. In the Great Depression, they were one of the first to print their own money in the form of orange bills to keep the county afloat in desperate times. This is an inspiration to anyone that is dedicated to public service. Where there is a determined will, wherever there is coordinated actions, we can come together and move forward.
That is a testament to what is possible today. All we need is to unleash our American values, create common ground, and work together to create a better tomorrow.