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
set word limits for each question and reserved the right to edit for length.
Visclosky: Age, place of residence, terms in office.
Merrillville, currently serving 13th term.
To Leyva and
Morris: Age, place of residence, occupation.
Valparaiso, small-business owner.
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)
on our forefathers and the U.S. Constitution, I am at least 25 years of age
and a U.S. citizen.
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
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
To Leyva and
Morris: Why are you seeking election to the office? (75 words)
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.
Differentiate yourself from your opponents and indicate why you believe
yourself a better candidate? (100 words)
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)
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
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
Repealing Obamacare, continuing the Bush tax cuts, stop the wasted spending,
and protecting our borders.
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)
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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)
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.
Continue to vote in career, corrupt politicians that are voting for special
interest not the good of our country and their constituents.
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