In the general
election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, Democrat Frank J. Mrvan, Republican Mark J.
Leyva, and Libertarian Michael Strauss will vie for the 1st District seat in
the U.S. House currently held by Democrat Pete Visclosky. Visclosky is not
running for re-election.
Tribune invited all three to respond to candidate questionnaires. The
Tribune set word limits and reserved the right to edit for length.
(1) Age, place of
Highland; North Township Trustee.
Highland; self-employed carpenter.
Miller district of Gary; electrician and electronic technician by trade,
with other certifications and degrees over the years.
(2) Why are you
seeking election to this office? (75 words)
Mrvan: As North
Township Trustee, I have spent 15 years helping people who are facing a
financial crisis, struggling to obtain health or mental health services, or
who need help finding a good-paying job. I am running for Congress in order
to continue to be a public servant, and a trusted and dependable resource
for all those in need.
reason is that I qualify under our U.S. Constitution. Second, to help create
a strong economy and create good jobs. Third, to make sure that our children
and grandchildren have the same or better opportunities as we have had.
Strauss: I am
focused at helping to ensure as a society we can preserve liberty for future
generations. I back our Constitution as the highest law of the land. I have
a responsibility and commitment to my constituents as an elected
representative to make sure the needs of society are met while staying
within the confines of the Constitution.
(3) Describe your
qualifications for office (100 words).
Trustee’s Office has represented and advocated on behalf of thousands of
people who came into my office struggling to secure access to quality
healthcare, pay their rent, keep the lights and heat on, and take care of
basic family necessities and transportation needs. I know firsthand the
struggles of vulnerable individuals, including the elderly who have been in
need of assistance, children who have been victims of sexual exploitation,
and veterans who have been in need of mental health services. As a member of
Congress, I will continue to work to bring people together and solve
I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution gives the qualification for this
office. I am over 25, and I’m a U.S. citizen for over seven years.
1998 I opened my first business. Since then I have had failures and I've had
wins. I've had to adapt and I've had to learn new ways. I've had and I
haven't. I had to start my first company with $50 in my pocket as a junior
in high school. I grew that investment and sold that business 20 years later
to start a new chapter in life. I did this all within a budget. All without
external funding or taking a loan.
yourself from your opponents and indicate why in particular you believe
yourself to be the better candidate (100 words).
Mrvan: I am
running for Congress in order to bring our region together so that we may
make transformational investments in our regional economy. We can no longer
afford to think of our region as just one city, one town, or one community.
We are all in this together. And as your member of Congress, I will build
upon my career of public service and work with all individuals and areas to
positively impact our future and attract transformational investments to our
Leyva: I am a
Constitutional Conservative and a former Local 1010 steelworker and Local
434 carpenter. Currently I am a self-employed carpenter. My opponent is a
Strauss: I am a
doer. Plain and simple. I do as I say. I demand transparency and
accountability in government. I am an activist out on the streets taking
that stand and putting those values on Front Street. I’ve put my reputation,
livelihood, family, and life on the line over and over again for these
values. I defend the Constitution, rights, and God-given liberties.
(5) What are the
key issues in this race? (150 words)
Mrvan: My first
issue as a member of Congress will be to address the immediate COVID-19
health crisis and the pressing needs of individuals and families. We must
fully respond to this emergency and reinvest in our federal pandemic health
response efforts to prevent the next disaster. Second, I believe the current
health and economic crisis highlights the need of everyone to have access to
affordable healthcare. We must take action to reduce the cost of
prescription drugs and ensure that all individuals have access to mental
health and preventative care. And third, we must focus on our economic
recovery. This health crisis has shown that essential workers are the
strength of our economy. As a member of Congress, I will prioritize
legislation that makes investments in our public infrastructure and
transportation systems, and also supports our essential workers, including
our manufacturing and steel industries.
Border wall. Legal immigration. Tax cuts 2.0. Healthcare reform. Pro-guns.
Pro-life. Pro-vets. Patent reform. Term limits.
believe the key issues are what government was put in place for. Those
issues are defending the life, liberty, and property of everyone, reducing
the federal budget and responsibly managing America's financial future, and
getting government out of the lives and pockets of responsible hard-working
(6) What is your
view of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act? (75
support the CARES Act and believe that federal legislation should also keep
in mind the mental health toll that this crisis is inflicting upon so many
individuals and families in our region. The crisis also highlights the
increased challenges for those without health insurance, and I would
advocate that any legislation aims to support additional resources to inform
individuals and families about how they can obtain health insurance and
taxpayers and business community should be first priority for relief. When
the Democrats attach political legislation because they can’t let a good
crisis go to waste, taxpayers and businessmen suffer. The media needs to
call them out.
CoVid19 has been hard on all Americans. Like it or not we’ve all been
affected by it. I believe it’s not the government’s job to be closing
businesses and locking people down. It’s unconstitutional and wrong. I
believe society can handle issues of this type on their own voluntarily.
When government mandates things that affect people’s lives, however, they
accept responsibility for the effects of those decisions. That’s when
government must resort to socialist assistance.
(7) Assess the
Trump Administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic (75 words).
Mrvan: As North
Township Trustee, during the health crisis I have been resolutely focused on
making sure that the immediate and pressing needs of individuals, workers,
and families are addressed. Therefore, I do not have a quantifiable rating
for the Administration’s response. However, I would say in response to
talking to residents throughout the 1st Congressional District that more
must be done to establish trust and responsiveness in our federal government
and health policies.
Job. They shut our country down and went into quarantine, while the
Democrats wanted to keep things open. The Trump administration did great
decisions while there was so much misinformation by the CDC and the WHO.
response was handled wrong and results show that countries around the world
who took a more constitutional approach have faired better than the
unconstitutional authoritarian approach taken by this administration.
(8) Do you support
mask mandates? Why or why not? (50 words)
Mrvan: Yes. To
move beyond this health crisis, we must all follow the guidance of medical
health professionals and do our part to keep ourselves and our communities
There is no scientific evidence that masks work.
acquired CoVid in November 2019 and can honestly say I still don’t support a
“mandate.” That’s not the government’s job. I’m not saying masks don’t help
or you shouldn’t wear one. I wear one when “I believe” I may be at risk or
may be a risk to others.
(9) What would your
local priorities be with respect specifically to Indiana's 1st Congressional
District? (75 words)
Mrvan: I will
work every day to bring our region together so we can make transformational
investments in the future of our region. These investments include action to
improve our transportation infrastructure, including the South Shore Rail
Line, the Gary Chicago/International Airport, our regional bus system, and
also protect our environment and create more open, public access to our
green spaces and the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Leyva: To pass
good legislation that benefits all our local taxpayers and creates good
first priority is to determine what we can do to bring more accountability
in government to local constituents. I want to bridge that gap and bring
municipalities, law enforcement, and residents back to the table on a level
where society can function properly. That cannot happen when residents
believe corruption is rampant in government and government believes most
residents are suspects and their natural thoughts are selfish and to do the
(10) What do you
view as the single greatest threat to this nation's security and what steps
can Congress take to mitigate it? (75 words)
Mrvan: In order
to ensure the strength of our national security, we must do more to ensure
that American workers and our defense industrial base have the ability to
manufacture and provide our military with the resources it needs to keep our
nation safe. I also am greatly concerned about cybersecurity and countries
that attempt to steal information about our military and business
single greatest threat is liberal elected Democratic mayors and governors.
Defund federal dollars to city and states that don’t uphold law and order.
single greatest threat to our nation today is government itself
unaccountable to the people. Congress can pass legislation to bridge that
gap and make our government fully and criminally liable for rights
violations and corrupt actions. This needs to be rewritten to allow access
to everyone, not just to those who rattle the cage the loudest.
(11) On what media
outlets do you chiefly rely for your news? (25 words)
Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs magazine, the
Economist, BBC, and our indispensable local Northwest Indiana media sources,
including the Chesterton Tribune.
Report and podcasts and Sean Hannity.
Strauss: I own
NINewsmaker.com It is a slowly growing local news outlet. Otherwise I don't
chiefly rely on any news outlet. I read, watch, and listen to all news
stories and take everything with a grain of salt.
(12) What does the
term "fake news" mean to you? (50 words)
news” is an unfortunate development in our public discourse that allows
individuals to simply discredit information without a factual basis. It is
destructive to our democracy to attempt to discredit legitimate news sources
that have long been a pillar of promoting free press and an informed public
mainstream news media.
news is any news story that doesn’t simply state the facts and allow the
subscriber to formulate their own opinions if the news story is not put
forward as an opinion piece. The composer of a “news” story should never put
spin or opinion in a real news story.