U.S. Senate hopefuls Q&A: Fewer rules key to progress

BY SAMM QUINN
For The Republic

The candidates seeking the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Dan Coats say if elected, they’ll work to create a better economic environment in the Hoosier state.

Coats, a Republican who has been in the seat since 2010 after returning from retirement, is not seeking re-election. Republican Todd Young, U.S. representative for Indiana’s 9th Congressional District, faces Democrat Evan Bayh, who served as Indiana’s senator in Congress from 1999 to 2011, and Libertarian Lucy Brenton, who has never held public office.

Brenton is a finance professional who was nominated by the Libertarian Party to run initially against Young and Democrat Baron Hill, who dropped out of the race. That paved the way for Bayh to replace Hill on the ticket.

Brenton said Hoosiers want lawmakers who will help create jobs.

Constituents want lawmakers who will fight to keep companies — such as Carrier, which left Indianapolis for Mexico, leaving thousands of Hoosiers without jobs — in Indiana, Young and Brenton said.

Young said he’s seeking election to ensure his children and other Hoosier students have access to quality education that leads to good-paying jobs in Indiana.

Bayh, who also served two years as Indiana governor, could not be reached for an interview for this story.

One surefire way to keep companies in the U.S. while attracting others is to eliminate corporate income tax, Brenton said, adding those costs are essentially passed on to consumers.

She’d like to see Congress set the corporate income tax to zero, which she said would result in foreign companies fighting to move their operations to the U.S. and bolster the economy.

“If they knew for certain that they could come here and be treated fairly, and if they knew they could come here, and their corporate income tax rate was zero … those companies would flock here. We couldn’t keep them out,” she said.

Current federal business regulations, including those aimed at protecting the environment, are too restrictive and keep companies away, she said.

Instead, companies should be charged to clean up any damage they cause. If business owners knew they would be held liable for damage, regulations wouldn’t be necessary, she said.

“All regulations tell you is how much you’re allowed to cheat,” she said.

Young said one of his top priorities is to make sure every Hoosier has access to a quality job, and business owners creating jobs aren’t burdened by expensive healthcare costs and government regulations.

He’ll seek to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which he said has forced businesses to offer insurance to employees who work more than 30 hours a week, creating a burden on small business owners and resulting in some employers having to cut staffing levels.

Furthermore, environmental policies set by regulating bodies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, have resulted in over-regulation of streams and other bodies of water, which are increasing the cost of doing business, he said.

Regulations such as the Clean Power Plan, which sets a national limit on carbon pollution produced by power plants, are stifling the economy, he said.

Congress needs to loosen the limits it sets for companies and small business owners to enable them to create jobs, he said.

“All of these things are increasing the cost of doing business in the country and decreasing job creation and reducing the wages of rank-and-file Hoosiers,” Young said.

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Evan Bayh

ABOUT THE CANDIDATE

Name: Evan Bayh

Office sought: U.S. Senate

Age: 60

Political party: Democratic

Occupation: Strategic adviser at McGuire Woods

Political experience: Indiana governor (1989-1997), U.S. senator for Indiana (1999-2011)

Family: Wife Susan; two children

Q&A

Why are you seeking election?

I am running for U.S. Senate to champion the causes of working Hoosier families by protecting good-paying jobs in Indiana, helping to make college more affordable and preserving Social Security and Medicare programs for seniors to rely on in their golden years.

What makes you a qualified candidate for the position?

As Indiana’s 46th governor, I worked with a Republican Statehouse to put more money back into the pockets of hardworking Hoosiers with a $1.6 billion tax cut, the largest in Indiana’s history at the time. We worked together to create 350,000 jobs and make college an affordable and achievable goal for more young Hoosiers through the 21st Century Scholars program. As U.S. senator, I worked across the aisle to pass the auto rescue that helped save 100,000 Hoosier jobs and on legislation to help accelerate a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. I want to bring that bipartisan approach and common sense problem-solving back to the U.S. Senate.

What are your legislative priorities if you are elected?

We need Hoosier common sense in Washington, and leaders who will actually work together to address the challenges facing Hoosier families and workers today. We need to go tougher on trade and protect good-paying jobs from being shipped overseas. We need to help our small businesses grow and keep our workforce strong. We need to make college more affordable and help our young people compete and succeed in the 21st Century economy. We need to make sure that Social Security and Medicare are strengthened and these critical programs stay strong for generations to come.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges facing our nation at this time? How do you plan to solve them?

Our nation and our state face tremendous challenges today. From bolstering our national security and combating the terror threat of ISIS to saving our jobs from unenforceable trade deals that leave our workers in the lurch, we need leaders in Washington who will work together, put families first and leave partisan gamesmanship at the door. We can destroy ISIS at their roots by eradicating safe havens abroad. We can lift up our hardworking families by making sure their jobs aren’t shipped to Mexico for cheaper labor. We can make sure our children inherit more from us than our unpaid bills by cracking down on waste and fraud in government spending. We can accomplish a lot by working together.

Major manufacturing companies, including Carrier in Indianapolis, have recently left the United States for Mexico, citing too much federal regulation. Do you believe there is too much business regulation or not enough?

Oversized government regulation has had an overly burdensome effect on businesses and a dampening effect on economic growth. Washington needs to re-evaluate the level of regulation imposed upon our businesses. The Carrier Corporation was a profitable business when it decided to ship 1,400 good-paying Hoosier jobs to Mexico. A loophole in the tax code allows Carrier to enjoy a tax break as it outsources Hoosier jobs — and that has to come to an end. We need to close that loophole, make sure trade deals actually help American workers and do everything we can to ensure our hard-working families are protected from outsourcing.

How do you plan to help work alongside the next president and administration, whether a Democrat or Republican wins?

The problem with Washington today is that too many leaders confuse compromise with betrayal of party. We need principled compromise and common sense back in the legislating process. I don’t care which party an idea originates from — if it’s a good idea for Hoosier families, I’ll support it. I will work with any president — Republican or Democrat — to champion the issues that matter to Hoosier families.

Lucy Brenton
Lucy Brenton

ABOUT THE CANDIDATE

Name: Lucy Brenton

Office sought: U.S. Senate

Age: 45

Political party: Libertarian

Occupation: Finance professional

Political experience: None

Family: Husband Dorn, 10 children

Q&A

Why are you seeking election?

The two-party system is broken. Money determines the outcome in political elections. Everyone says someone should do something, well – I am that someone. I put feet to my words.

What makes you a qualified candidate for the position?

I understand the extreme challenges facing this country. I have financial experience that allows me to drill down to the root cause of our economic problems and how to fix them. Most importantly, I am not a career politician and have no financial strings to be pulled by anyone. No corporate sponsors.

What are your legislative priorities if you are elected?

The first priority is an honest money system, without which economic prosperity and good jobs can’t happen. My second priority is to begin to repeal legislation, such as the The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, the Patriot Act and others, which give special interest groups and big corporations waiver of immunity of their product liability. Those who harm and pollute must be held accountable for their actions and forced to make restitution to their victims. My third priority is to bring our troops home and disengage from endless foreign wars for profit. We are not the world’s policemen, and our military should not be used as soldiers for hire – protecting natural resources needed by oil, pharmaceutical and other corporate interests. America first!

What do you believe are the biggest challenges facing our nation at this time? How do you plan to solve them?

The No. 1 challenge facing our nation is the lack of honest money. It is time to repeal the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and restore our money to the Constitutional requirements under Article 1 Section 8 Paragraph 5: that Congress has the power “to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures.”

Major manufacturing companies, including Carrier in Indianapolis, have recently left the United States for Mexico, citing too much federal regulation. Do you believe there is too much business regulation or not enough?

As an entrepreneur, I understand incentives in business. Companies move because they get better deals from other countries. Why not give them the certainty they require by setting the corporate income tax to zero and providing certainty in regulations, etc.? The end consumer buying the product is the one that ultimately pays all the taxes remitted by a corporation – the corporation just writes the check. With a corporate tax of zero, companies would fight to move their operations to the U.S.

How do you plan to help work alongside the next president and administration, whether a Democrat or Republican wins?

I am a negotiator. A peacemaker. I am not wearing a red or blue jersey and have no strings on my political career that can be pulled by party leaders. I, and other Libertarians and independents, are the only ones who can truly work with members of the old parties to craft real solutions to the very serious challenges facing our nation.

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Todd Young

ABOUT THE CANDIDATE

Name: Todd Young

Office sought: U.S. Senate

Age: 44

Political party: Republican

Occupation: Marine veteran, former management consultant, currently serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives

Political experience: U.S. House of Representatives, 2011-present

Family: Wife Jenny; four children

Q&A

Why are you seeking election?

I’m running for people like my dad. He was a small business owner who just wanted to be able to provide a good home and a good life for his family. And I’m running because Jenny and I want for our four children what every Hoosier parent wants for their children — that’s access to a quality education that leads to good-paying jobs and meaningful careers in the Hoosier state.

What makes you a qualified candidate for the position?

I have experience across a broad spectrum of areas that comes from my time as a Marine intelligence officer, my time in the private sector and of course my time in Congress, where I have consistently not just talked about the problems we face but worked for and achieved solutions to those problems. I have a proven track record of principled, pragmatic answers to some of the toughest challenges Americans face today, and I will continue that work as senator.

What are your legislative priorities if you are elected?

I’ll have three legislative priorities. First, to repeal and replace Obamacare with a free market-based system that keeps costs down and ensures access for the most vulnerable in our society. Second, to reform our tax code so that small businesses are no longer hamstrung at the starting line by unfair and unsustainable taxes. Third, to reverse the failed Obama/Clinton foreign policy through measures like my proposed select committee on the Iranian nuclear deal that would hold Iran accountable and keep Congress and the public informed of its transgressions.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges facing our nation at this time? How do you plan to solve them?

The two largest challenges we face today are a stagnant economy and growing global extremism that threatens U.S. security. Our economy has recovered in only the most technical sense; for millions of Americans, there has been little recovery from the recession. That’s why I want to eliminate job-killing regulations that hamstring businesses and reform our tax code to promote job growth not stifle it. In terms of countering global extremism, rather than continue the failed, lead-from-behind Obama/Clinton foreign policy, America must rise to the challenge and stay engaged in the world. Global stability is in the best interest of America.

Major manufacturing companies, including Carrier in Indianapolis, have recently left the United States for Mexico, citing too much federal regulation. Do you believe there is too much business regulation or not enough?

Regulations are stifling all sectors of our economy, especially manufacturing and agriculture. The current administration’s war on job-creators, otherwise known as the Clean Power Plan, and various other aspects of the left’s environmental agenda are chopping our manufacturing sector at the knees while providing little to no environmental benefit. We should be focusing on creating jobs, and that starts with restoring Congressional power over regulatory bodies. That’s why I introduced the REINS Act, which would require congressional approval over any proposed regulation with over $100 million in economic impact. We need to put unelected bureaucrats out of business, not the people of Indiana.

How do you plan to help work alongside the next president and administration, whether a Democrat or Republican wins?

As a member of the House, I’ve shown that I know how to work across the aisle, while championing the principles of limited government, and I plan on continuing that in the Senate. Regardless of who’s president, I’m willing to work with them to ensure an efficient, effective government that works for the people of America, not special interests or political bosses.