Congress hopefuls share ideas on growing economy

Legislative priorities of the three candidates seeking the U.S. Representative District 6 seat in Congress include a focus on wages for Hoosier workers.

Incumbent Republican Rep. Luke Messer, Greensburg, first elected to the seat in 2012, is being challenged by Barry Welsh, who describes himself as an independent running on the Democratic ticket, and Rich Turvey, nominated by the Libertarian Party. Welsh is from Fayette County and Turvey lives in Eaton.

Messer said there must be a commitment to meaningful education reform, based on improving outcomes at every grade level and in higher education, as one step in growing the number of jobs that pay a living wage in Indiana and the country at large. That would include alternative education programs for adults in career-specific fields, he said.

Messer said the federal budget process must be fixed, as employers and investors alike are becoming unwilling to make future investments to the level of uncertainty in the tax code and regulatory environment.

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“It is time to balance our budget, reduce costly regulations and establish a fair and simplified tax code that will encourage investment and private-sector growth,” Messer said.

The incumbent also said Indiana should build on its strengths in transportation, agriculture and manufacturing, including supporting the state’s growing technology sector and its potential to create high-paying jobs and reinvent many other areas of Indiana’s economy.

Welsh said the minimum wage should be increased to be a living wage. He also recommended that the state should focus on infrastructure, including waterlines, overpasses, bridges, power grid, dams and roads.

And Welsh said the top 1 percent of taxpayers should pay their fair share of taxes to insure the necessary funds for shoring up the future of Indiana’s infrastructure, he said.

Turvey said job growth in Indiana could occur if there were less federally restrictive regulations “from agencies full of bureaucrats who are appointed or hired and not elected — the Food and Drug Administration, Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service, to name a few.”

By removing barriers put in place by those agencies, businesses would start to thrive and jobs would return to Indiana, Turvey said.

Asked what the U.S. should do to protect the security of Americans and the U.S., Messer said America needs to get serious about border security.

“While we are a nation that celebrated our immigrant heritage and embraces a diverse population, we cannot ignore the reality of threats we face from terrorism,” Messer said. “It is past time to make the changes and investments needed to secure our national borders.”

Messer also said that “feckless foreign policy” by the Obama administration has undermined America’s role on the world stage, leaving America’s friends isolated and emboldening enemies. “It is time for America to lead once again and be the resounding global voice for democratic values.”

Welsh said the safety of America can be protected by securing the Second Amendment to the Constitution and the right for responsible people to own and carry a firearm.

He also recommended the United States strengthen intelligence operations and cooperation with allies to be successful against terrorist networks.

Welsh would also increase communication and negotiations in foreign policy to avoid a conventional war between superpowers.

Turvey said the first step in protecting the security of Americans would be to bring America’s military home from the Middle East.

“We have spent 14 years fighting and have not gained much ground,” Turvey said. “If other countries want our help or protection, let them pay for it. Our economy should not support every other nation.”

Indiana’s 6th Congressional District includes 19 counties, from Delaware County at the north, to Jefferson and Switzerland counties to the south.

Rich Turvey bio

Name: Rich Turvey

Rich Turvey
Rich Turvey

Party: Libertarian

Age: 44

City of residence: Eaton

Occupation: Production manager at 3M, major in Army Reserve as a simulations officer

Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts from Ball State University

Previous elected offices held: None

Previous elected offices sought: None

Community involvement: Little League coach, volunteer at church for youth mentorship, U.S. Army Reserve

Family: Amanda, wife.  Five children.

Barry Welsh bio

Name: Barry Welsh

Welsh
Welsh

Party: Independent running on the Democratic ticket

Age: 57

City of residence: Fayette County

Occupation: Freelance sports reporter/photographer, author, retired minister, former CEO of local Big Brothers Big Sisters, former teacher/coach

Education: Bachelor of Science degree from Ball State University

Previous elected offices held: None

Previous elected offices sought: Sixth District representative in 2006, 2008; state senate in 2004.

Community involvement: Supports numerous community organizations.

Family: Sherri, wife. Four children.

Luke Messer bio

Name: Luke Messer

Luke Messer
Luke Messer

Political affiliation: Republican

Age: 45

Residence: Greensburg

Office sought: Indiana 6th Congressional District Representative

Past offices held: State representative in the Indiana House of Representatives; former executive director of the Indiana Republican Party

Employment: Incumbent congressman

Education: Wabash College, 1991; Vanderbilt Law School, 1994

Memberships and community involvement: Indianapolis Foster Care Association Board; Uniform Law Commission; annual Childshare/Indiana Pacers Christmas Party for foster youth; president and CEO of School Choice Indiana and the Choice Charitable Trust; church deacon; youth soccer, basketball and football coach.

Family: Jennifer, wife. Three children.

Rich Turvey grid

We see a lot of partisan politics and as a result, a lot of animosity between Republicans and Democrats. If elected, how would you try to foster a spirit of collaboration and bipartisan efforts with regard to legislation?

As a Libertarian, I would work across party lines in order to sponsor fiscally responsible and socially accepting legislation.

Some members of Congress are attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Do you think national health insurance should be repealed, why or why not?

On the whole, I support repealing. I support legislation affording everyone the right to health care coverage, but not mandating it be obtained. The federal government should not be managing the status of every citizen. Instead, create free-market competition and allow consumers to choose coverage best for their situation.

What are your legislative priorities if you are elected to represent District 6 in the U.S. House of Representatives?

From a macro perspective, work on getting the federal government out of our lives and let people manage themselves. From a micro perspective, repeal the federal income tax, place term limits on elected representatives and balance the federal budget by cutting fraud, waste and abuse that happens daily.

Barry Welsh grid

We see a lot of partisan politics and as a result, a lot of animosity between Republicans and Democrats. If elected, how would you try to foster a spirit of collaboration and bipartisan efforts with regard to legislation?

I am an anti-establishment independent running on the Democratic ticket. I am in a political position to stand up to, and work with, both parties. I believe an idea should be judged as a good idea or a bad idea, not a Democratic or Republican idea.

Some members of Congress are attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Do you think national health insurance should be repealed, why or why not?

The Affordable Care Act was well-meaning but it does not well serve all Hoosiers. I prefer a system that takes health insurance companies out of the equation and brings medical decisions back into the control of the doctor and the patient and ensures prescription prices are affordable.

What are your legislative priorities if you are elected to represent District 6 in the U.S. House of Representatives?

To strengthen and grow the economy in ensuring a living wage to all working Americans, knowing this wage increase will put money back into the system, continuing growth. Equal pay for women and equal treatment for all. Strengthen public education and promote clean energy.

Luke Messer grid

We see a lot of partisan politics and as a result a lot of animosity between Republicans and Democrats. If elected, how would you try to foster a spirit of collaboration and bipartisan efforts with regard to legislation?

While working well with both political parties should be a goal, it is most important that elected leaders stand strong to reflect the voices of those they represent. We can accomplish a great deal for the American people if we set aside the narrow focus of partisanship and special interests.

Some members of Congress are attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Do you think national health insurance should be repealed? Why or why not?

Yes. Obamacare was a poorly written bill and has been an even greater disaster in practice. We must have a health insurance system that focuses on accessibility, affordability and competition.

What are your legislative priorities if you are elected to represent District 6 in the U.S. House of Representatives?

I will continue to focus on education achievement, job growth and national security.

Author photo
Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.