Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Pete Visclosky faces Mark Leyva and Jon Morris in 1st District US House race

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In the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 2, incumbent U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, will defend his seat in the House against Republican Mark Leyva and Libertarian Jon Morris. The Chesterton Tribune invited all three to respond to candidate questionnaires.

The Tribune set word limits for each question and reserved the right to edit for length.

(1) To Visclosky: Age, place of residence, terms in office.

61, Merrillville, currently serving 13th term.

To Leyva and Morris: Age, place of residence, occupation.

Leyva: 51, Highland, carpenter.

Morris: 26, Valparaiso, small-business owner.

(2) To Visclosky: Describe your achievements in office. (75 words)

As chair of the Congressional Steel Caucus, I have worked to protect existing jobs through programs like Buy America, create new jobs through public infrastructure investments, make our neighborhoods and law enforcement officers more secure by writing legislation for programs like the Bulletproof Vest Partnership, improve our communities through projects like the Marquette Plan, and invest in our youth and our future through institutions like local universities and the Purdue Technology Center.

To Leyva and Morris: Describe your qualifications for office. (75 words)

Leyva: Based on our forefathers and the U.S. Constitution, I am at least 25 years of age and a U.S. citizen.

Morris: My education and experience combined make me a qualified candidate. I have a JD/MBA from Valparaiso University, and a BA in Economics and Business Administration from Alma College. I have worked in many different jobs that range from landscaping to financial services. I have extensive leadership experience and I am skilled at addressing multiple challenging tasks at once.

(3) To Visclosky: Why are you seeking re-election to the office? (75 words)

As a public servant, I am always conscious of the great responsibility entrusted to me by the residents of Indiana’s 1st District, and I take those responsibilities very seriously. I am running for re-election to continue serving our troops and veterans, protect our domestic manufacturing base, rein in the abusive practices of Wall Street, address our nation’s budget deficit, and create better educational and economic opportunities for our next generation.

To Leyva and Morris: Why are you seeking election to the office? (75 words)

Leyva: Indiana’s 1st Congressional District needs a representative in Washington who will represent “We The People,” not a pay-for-play politician.

Morris: I am terribly concerned about our country’s future, I want to end corruption in Washington, and I don’t trust the Democrats and Republicans to fix the enormous problems they both created. From 2002-08 the Republicans doubled our national debt. Since 2008 the Democrats have caused our national debt to surpass our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Both parties have failed to be responsible with our tax dollars. It’s time for a third party in Washington.

(4) Differentiate yourself from your opponents and indicate why you believe yourself a better candidate? (100 words)

Visclosky: I respect my opponents and the democratic process. As someone who has dedicated my professional career to being a public servant, I am always conscious of the responsibilities that have been entrusted to me by the residents of Indiana’s 1st District, and if re-elected, I will remember that first and foremost, my work is to serve them.

Leyva: I am opposite of the incumbent. I am a blue-collar carpenter by trade. I am a former 1010 steel worker. I am pro life. I am pro Second Amendment. I am against Obamacare, I am against cap-and-trade, I am a TEA Party candidate.

Morris: I am the candidate with the necessary skills, creativity, and integrity to solve problems in Washington without compromising the constitution and our personal freedoms. I appeal to both sides. Democrats like me because I want to end corruption and REVIVE AMERICAN MANUFACTURING bringing jobs back to Northwest Indiana. Republicans like me because they want a responsible fiscal conservative to win this election and they know the Republicans have lost in this district since 1931.

(5) What are the key issues in the race? (125 words)

Visclosky: America’s military security is important to all constituents, particularly those who have a loved one serving our nation or are serving our nation themselves. If re-elected, I would continue fighting to ensure that American troops receive the equipment they need on the battlefield and world-class healthcare when they return home, through projects like the Adam Benjamin Clinic expansion.

Jobs and economic recovery also remain top priorities, and that is why I would continue working daily to bring both back to our region. That is also why I voted against the Big Bank Bailout, wrote the Buy America Amendment to the 2009 recovery act, and have actively opposed unfair trade practices and Chinese currency manipulation so American workers can compete on a level playing field.

Leyva: Repealing Obamacare, continuing the Bush tax cuts, stop the wasted spending, and protecting our borders.

Morris: Corruption: I will push for campaign finance reform, mandatory balanced budget, page limits on bills, auditing of the Federal Reserve, and elimination of earmark spending. Health Care: I will author legislation repealing the National Health Care Bill, replacing it with free-market solutions putting the patient back in control and lowering the cost of healthcare. Economy: NWI needs manufacturing jobs, and we need to lower the cost of doing business by reforming our ineffective regulations. Taxes: We have over 67,500 pages of tax codes and regulations. The Fair Tax could double the size of our economy, keep your paycheck in your pocket, and eliminate our ridiculous burdensome tax collection process.

(6) The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are set to expire on Jan. 1. President Obama has indicated his support for extending them for those earning less than $250,000 but so far Congress has taken no action. Do you support the extension of tax cuts for those earning less than $250,000? For those earning more than $250,000. Why or why not? (75 words)

Visclosky: I believe that it is imperative that Congress consider each of the expiring tax provisions and extend, modify, or repeal each based on their merit and impact on the American people and the federal budget, both present and future. Our nation’s accumulated debt necessitates that Congress and the Administration address the long-term fiscal situation facing the federal government, and both federal programs and tax cuts must be on the table.

Leyva: I am for continuing the Bush tax cuts for everyone. It is the wealthy that creates jobs. If the Obama selective tax cuts are implemented, it will affect 2.5 percent of businesses or 890,000 individual businesses. They will have to lay off two to four employees to absorb the new tax increases. If two employees are laid off from 2.5 percent of businesses, we will have 1,788,000 more unemployed.

Morris: I support extending the tax cuts for all Americans only if accompanied by a decrease in government spending. Tax cuts ultimately are a short-term fix for a short-term increase in spending. We must eliminate this short-term focus. A long-term solution to our tax problem is tax reform and adopting the Fair Tax. This would place a smaller tax burden on Americans while increasing the tax base and decreasing avoidance and evasion.

(7) To Visclosky: You voted in favor of the health-care reform bill, several provisions of which have now taken effect. Do you see a need to re-visit that bill—and if so, why—or are you satisfied with its present form? (75 words)

Recent healthcare reform greatly improves a broken system by enacting reforms to protect those who have health insurance and expanding access to quality, affordable coverage to nearly all Americans. Already, provisions are in effect to ensure that sick children are not denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, insurance companies cannot place lifetime caps on coverage, and young adults may remain on their parents’ insurance policy. As with any major reform, unintended consequences may necessitate adjustments.

To Leyva and Morris: Should Congress, in its next session, re-visit the health-care reform bills, what amendments or modifications would you support? (75 words)

Leyva: Repeal it and legislate real reform, like tort reform, across-state-line health care purchasing, more medical savings accounts, and small business health care co-ops.

Morris: Congress should repeal the health-care reform bill and replace it with a free-market system that decreases the cost of health-care and puts the patient back in control. If health insurance were administered in the same way auto insurance is and competition were allowed across state lines, we would have a huge decrease in the cost of healthcare and health insurance, the quality of both would increase, and the problem would be solved.

(8) What, in your view, poses the greatest threat to the future of the U.S. and how would you propose to address that threat? (75 words)

Visclosky: The greatest threat to our nation is failure to secure our military and economic security. As a nation at war, we must continue fighting to ensure our troops receive the resources they need while in service to our country and the benefits they so richly deserve when they return home. I also believe that it is vitally important for Congress and the Administration to address the long-term fiscal situation facing the federal government.

Leyva: Continue to vote in career, corrupt politicians that are voting for special interest not the good of our country and their constituents.

Morris: Fear and apathy pose the greatest threat. Many of us vote Democrat or Republican for fear that the other will win. Many of us would rather not vote for the lesser of two evils but are afraid of wasting our vote. Fear and apathy prevent us from voting for the right people. The only wasted vote is the one we continue to cast, for the same parties, falsely hoping for different results.




Posted 10/15/2010




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