Chesterton Tribune



US Senate candidate Baron Hill vows to be steel's / labor's friend

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Baron Hill, the Democrat candidate for the open seat in the U.S. Senate currently held by Republican Dan Coats, vows to be a champion of steel and labor.

Hill visited the Chesterton Tribune newsroom on Wednesday during a swing through Northwest Indiana and made it immediately clear he knows what folks in the region care about: steel.

“I’ve always been a free-trade person but when it comes to steel, it’s not soybeans or corn,” Hill said. “Steel is a matter of national security. It makes our tanks and aircraft carriers. We can’t depend on China for our steel. That’s why I’ll join (U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. and U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st) and make sure our domestic steel industry remains robust and prosperous.”

Despite the resurgence of the economy since the bottom dropped out in 2008--“We’re better off today than when President Obama took office,” he said--Hill told the Tribune he’s become aware of a lingering “anxiety” as he travels the state. “Families are struggling. There an uneasiness. An anger. They don’t know what the future will hold. And they want their representatives in Congress to care about them and the middle class.”

The problem, in Hill’s view, is that the middle class has been “diminished,” and that’s because labor unions have been “weakened.” When workers “aren’t able to negotiate better wages and benefits, that affects their families,” Hill said. Or as an executive for Cummins, the engine manufacturer headquartered in Columbus, Ind., once told Hill, “Unions keep people like me honest. The unions created the middle class.”

“I’m going to be the U.S. Senator who protects steel and look out for the backs of labor unions,” Hill said.

Hill made one other promise: to visit Northwest Indiana often while in office. “I love this state and I want to be part of this community,” he said. “The only way you can do that is to be here. I’ll visit your community and businesses.”

Hill held five non-consecutive terms in the U.S. House, representing Indiana’s 9th Congressional District south of Bloomington. He was defeated for re-election in 2010 by Republican Todd Young, who as it happens is now Hill’s opponent once again, as the GOP’s nominee for the Senate seat. Coats is not seeking re-election.


Posted 5/19/2016




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