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6th District field full of candidates trying to replace Pence


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The May 8 primary election features five Democrats and six Republicans who are trying to win Indiana’s 6th District seat in Congress, which U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., has held for six terms.

Pence isn’t seeking re-election, because he’s running for governor.

The Democrats believe Congress is broken and that the 6th District has been served poorly by U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind.

Republicans say they want to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, cut spending and change tax laws.

Democrats’ motivations

“We’re seeing now the failure of extreme partisanship,” Dan Bolling said of Congress’ problems. “It’s time for new leaders who do more than pay lip service to placing country over party, who respect their political opponents and who accept good ideas, whatever their source.”

The biotech entrepreneur from Centerville believes changing the tone of national dialog will help strengthen the middle class, and thus the economy, and find ways to cut health care costs while improving quality.

Brad Bookout said the district has moved backward. The percentage of the people living below the poverty line in the district since Pence took office has risen in each of the district’s counties by at least 35 percent, and in some cases up to 85 percent, the Yorktown resident said.

“This is just one of the economic indicators that show how poorly the economy and the jobs situation have fared in the counties in the 6th District during Congressman Mike Pence’s years in office,” said Bookout, an economic development consultant.

Jim Crone said that as a sociology professor at Hanover College he has studied society and social problems for years.

“I believe I can be of help to the American people,” the Hanover resident said.

Susan Hall Heitzman, a retired teacher who lives in North Vernon, said residents in congressional districts have not been truly represented for years because congressmen fall under the sway of party leadership and lobbyists.

“We cannot even legislate sanely because of the level of political polarization created by our present elected congressmen and political parties. I want to change the conversations, neutralize the toxic nature of our political discourse, and move us off of one-issue voting,” she said.

Rushville resident George Holland is running for Congress to try to prevent the next debt bubble, which he thinks could cause an economic collapse.

The retired pharmaceutical salesman suggests reigning in the powers of the president, moving to a tariff-based economy and single-payer health care system, and enforcing laws to prevent the borrowing of Social Security funds.

Republicans’ reasons

Don Bates Jr. said is running for Congress “… to restore America’s greatness, revive our economy and reclaim our liberties. I want to repeal Obamacare, reduce the corporate tax rate to zero, balance the budget, reduce spending, and restore our commitment to protecting life from the womb to the tomb.”

The Richmond resident and financial adviser believes his life-long personal connection to the 6th District and a background in finance qualifies him for the job.

Besides his desire to repeal the 2010 health care law, former State Senator Bill Frazier wants across-the-board federal spending cuts, tax reform and the elimination of regulations he considers burdensome to business.

“I have a history in business and meeting a payroll so I know you can’t spend more than what you take in,” the Muncie resident said. “I’m running because we need strong conservatives, not because I want to move to Washington. I have no trouble saying no to new spending or new taxes.”

Travis Hankins, of Columbus, said he believes too many congressmen have made the job a career in which they are beholden to special interests. He wants to prove that a grassroots campaign can succeed.

“We hope to be the example for other congressional districts on how to fight against the political establishment in Washington and restore our country,” Hankins said.

Luke Messer, a former state representative, said he’d like to lead in the same conservative manner as Pence and Gov. Mitch Daniels.

“I am running for Congress to stop the reckless spending, balance the budget, repeal ObamaCare and end the bailouts,” said Messer, who lives in Shelbyville.

Joe Sizemore, a factory worker, said he’d like to stop reckless spending and help struggling families, but more importantly he believes that the culture of Congress needs to be changed.

“We need normal people in office,” the Metamora resident said, adding “…what we have now isn’t working” because congressmen don’t listen to the average person.

Joseph Van Wye, a part-time electronic service technician, doesn’t like the current state of the Congress, believing that it has too many career politicians and an atmosphere of divisiveness that is hurting the country. He thinks he’d be a good person for the office because he’s never held political office.

“I am a common ordinary working man who knows how to spend money within a budget. I have had to be a fiscal conservative in my own life to make my bills,” said Van Wye, who lives in Madison. “I am also a social conservative, when it comes to abortion, second amendment, marriage between a man and a woman, freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.”

Republicans John Hatter and Allen Smith ended their campaigns.

According to state law, though, their names will remain on the ballot.

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