2 seek Democratic nomination for Indiana’s 9th Congressional District

Two political newcomers are seeking the Democratic nomination for Indiana’s 9th Congressional District in the May 7 primary.

Bloomington resident D. Liam Dorris, 44, and New Washington resident Tim Peck, 43, have both thrown their hats into the ring. The seat is currently held by Republican Rep. Erin Houchin, who is seeking reelection this year and facing a primary challenge from Sellersburg Republican Hugh Doty.

The 9th District includes part of southern Bartholomew County; all of Brown, Decatur, Jackson and Jennings counties; and much of southeastern Indiana; and Cincinnati’s and Louisville’s Indiana suburbs.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face the winner of the Republican primary in the fall election. Because it is a primary, voters must select either the Democratic ballot or the Republican ballot. It is not possible to vote for candidates in both parties.

Early in-person voting started Tuesday.

Q: Why are you running for Congress?

Dorris: I’m running for Congress because I believe in representing the people’s interests, not special interests. My goal is to bring positive change to our community by advocating for policies that promote justice, equality and opportunity for all.

Peck: As an emergency room doctor, health technology entrepreneur, teacher, husband, father, and patient advocate, I’ve come to believe in four core principles: perseverance, finding common ground, service, and taking action. I am running for Congress because our community is facing real problems: a broken healthcare system, a fentanyl epidemic, and a working class that seems to have been largely ignored I want to put my principles into action and do my best to finally get our government to stop wasting time and money pretending to solve problems and actually get Congress back to work – the same way most Hoosiers do every day.

Q: What are the most pressing issues facing your district, and how would you plan to address them if elected?

Dorris: The most pressing issues in our district include affordable healthcare, economic recovery, and education. I plan to address these by advocating for universal healthcare, supporting small businesses, and investing in education and job training programs to ensure everyone has opportunities for success. Additionally, I’ll work to improve infrastructure and address environmental concerns to create a sustainable future for our community.

Peck: The epidemic of fentanyl is not only addicting and killing thousands of our community members every year, it is also spreading misery that will last generations. It brings poverty, loss of economic opportunity, and will lead to generational problems. As an emergency room doctor I have been on the front lines of this, held the hands of people who almost lost their lives to overdose and prayed with parents who just lost their children. Combating the epidemic will be one of my top priorities in Congress, and I will work with anyone from any party to get it done.

Q: How should the United States handle the growing number of migrants seeking entry to the country at the U.S.-Mexico border?

Dorris: The United States should approach the issue of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border with compassion and humanity while also ensuring border security. I believe in upholding asylum laws and providing a fair and efficient process for migrants seeking refuge. This includes addressing the root causes of migration, such as poverty, violence, and instability in migrants’ home countries, through diplomacy, foreign aid, and cooperation with international partners. Additionally, investing in border infrastructure and resources for immigration courts can help manage the flow of migrants while respecting their human rights.

Peck: Border security and immigration are the responsibility of the federal government, and it is up to the federal government to fix it. This will require both parties to come together and accomplish something – because failing to act, or acting solely for performative politics – is criminally neglectful. I support the recent efforts to pass a bipartisan border security bill that would authorize 1,300 more border patrol agents, 375 immigration judges, 1,600 asylum officers, and over 100 cutting-edge inspection machines to help detect and stop fentanyl at our southwest border. Failing to address this crisis in a bipartisan manner and kicking the can down the road is only going to put more people’s lives in danger and help flood our streets with more misery in the form of more fentanyl.

Q: Would you support providing more military aid to Ukraine? Why or why not?

Dorris: I would approach the issue of providing military aid to Ukraine with caution and strategic thinking. While supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and security is important, escalating military involvement could further exacerbate tensions with Russia and potentially escalate the conflict. Instead, I believe in diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the situation and find peaceful resolutions. Additionally, providing non-military aid, such as economic assistance and humanitarian aid, can better address the root causes of the conflict and support the Ukrainian people without escalating the situation militarily.

Peck: Yes, we should support more funding and military air to Ukraine. Not only is it the right thing to do geopolitically but it is the right thing to do morally. Ukranians are fighting a brutal and murderous invading army – to abdicate our responsibility to provide Ukranians the ability to defend themselves is giving permission for Vladamir Putin to invade more nations and kill more civilians.

Q: What should be the United States’ position on Israel’s war in Gaza?

Dorris: The United States should prioritize advocating for a ceasefire and promoting dialogue between Israel and Hamas to end the violence and protect civilian lives. While supporting Israel’s right to self-defense, it’s crucial to condemn actions that result in civilian casualties and exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Additionally, the U.S. should address the root causes of the conflict, including the ongoing occupation and blockade, and work towards a sustainable peace agreement that respects the rights and dignity of both Israelis and Palestinians. This may involve diplomatic pressure on both parties to engage in meaningful negotiations and respect international humanitarian law.

Peck: The attack on Israel was an unconscionable attack on civilians. After months of war it’s time to ensure that innocent children and adults in Gaza are not only saved from further harm, but given the support they need. I have called for the US to both work to stem the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and I support efforts to ensure peace and security in Israel, which can be done without the continued harm to innocent civilians in Gaza.

Tim Peck

Age: 43

Residence: New Washington

Occupation: Physician, business owner

Political experience: none

Education: Emergency Medicine Residency at Harvard Medical School

Community service: New Washington Beautification Committee, Mustang Run Club

Family: Wife Missy, one son

D. Liam Dorris

Age: 44

Residence: Bloomington

Occupation: Metrology

Political experience: None

Education: Vocational training metrology

Community service and organizations: U.S. Marine Corp. veteran