Congressional candidates share ideas, values

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

Dubois County voters will select in this General Election who they want to represent them in the U.S. House of Representatives.

They have three candidates to choose from: Libertarian challenger James Rodenberger, Democratic challenger E. Thomasina Marsili and Republican incumbent Larry Bucshon.

District 8 includes Dubois, Spencer, Clay, Daviess, Gibson, Greene, Knox, Martin, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Sullivan, Vermillion, Vanderburgh, Vigo and Warrick counties and a part of Crawford County.

Early voting started Tuesday; the General Election is Nov. 3.

To get some insight into each person’s perspective, The Herald sent each candidate a questionnaire with a series of questions related to the congressional position. Each candidate received the same questions.

The responses that follow are their answers in their own words.

Bucshon

Larry Bucshon

What qualities do you have (characteristics, education, experience...) that you feel would help you to be an effective representative?

Prior to my service in Congress, I spent over 15 years as a heart surgeon and performed hundreds of heart surgeries. Health care is one of the most important issues to Americans, and I know firsthand what it takes to provide quality health care for patients. While practicing medicine I also gained valuable insight to the challenges small business owners face every day while serving as president of my medical group, which employed over 100 people in Southwest Indiana. I also understand the importance of keeping the American Dream alive, as I’ve been able to live it myself. I am the son of a coal miner and a nurse that was able to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a medical degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago, allowing me to practice medicine and ultimately earn a seat in Congress. 

What two issues do you want to tackle as a representative? And what would you do, as a representative, to make change(s) in those issues? 

In Congress, I have been a recognized leader in the fight to lower the cost of health care and advance patient-centered solutions that give Americans — not Washington bureaucrats — the ability and freedom to make health care decisions. I have also been a leader on other critical issues that are important to Southwest Indiana, from fighting to ensure Hoosiers were getting their fair share of federal infrastructure funding to standing up for energy jobs at Indiana’s coal mines. As a result of my common sense, principled leadership in Congress, I have earned 100 percent rating from National Right to Life and an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association. I have been endorsed for reelection by numerous groups including: National Right to Life, the Indiana Farm Bureau, the National Federation of Independent Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

What is the best indicator of economic health (stock market, unemployment rate, income…)? Based on those indicators, what is your opinion of the United States’ economic health?

I believe the best indicator of economic health is the success of the Main Street economy, with growing paychecks and opportunities for hard-working Americans.

Should the U.S. offer businesses tax incentives/breaks at this time? Why or why not? 

During the 115th Congress, we passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that led to the strongest economy America has ever seen. Our tax code was out of date and we were no longer able to compete on the global stage with our outrageous level of tax. Now, we are once again a global competitor and I am optimistic that once we get through this health care crisis, America will be on top once again. 

Would you support cutting social services if it meant lower taxes? Or would you support higher taxes if it meant more services? Why? 

Government spending is at levels not seen since World War II and the debt we are accruing will be a burden on generations to come. The federal government takes in trillions of dollars in revenue every year, but Congress isn’t forced to set priorities and make hard decisions about the federal budget. For example, there are tens of billions of dollars in wasteful or fraudulent federal spending every year that Congress does little to address. Just like American families have to balance their budgets, Congress needs to be forced to balance the federal budget. That’s why I support adding a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution that will force Congress to make tough decisions today instead of kicking the can down the road.

Would you vote to overturn a presidential veto to keep the government running? Why or why not? 

While there can be honest disagreements about federal spending priorities, Washington should keep the federal government funded while negotiations continue. There is no reason that the American people should be held hostage while some in Washington choose to play politics. 

Why do you want to be a member of Congress? Why should I vote for you?

Helping people has always been my passion. From the operating room to Congress, I have lived my life to help others through my actions. I also believe that my life experiences give me a depth of knowledge on the issues important to Hoosiers in the 8th District. I have been a tireless advocate for those that cannot speak, for those that want to heal, and for all Hoosiers who want a better life for their children and their grandchildren.

Marsili

E. Thomasina Marsili

What qualities do you have (characteristics, education, experience...) that you feel would help you to be an effective representative?

With over 30 years of experience in emergency response, I have the skillset to respond quickly, without emotion, running toward the fire and not away from the emergency. Having over 20 years of corporate management experience, the practice of data analytics gives me sight to see where business is failing and how to build it back toward economic growth. With a degree in research psychology, I rely on evidence and research to guide my decisions. The life experience I have is rooted in southern Indiana and has given me my work ethic, my understanding of faith and community and my deep-rooted ideal of being of service.

What two issues do you want to tackle as a representative? And what would you do, as a representative, to make change(s) in those issues?

I want to tackle the idea that our representatives cannot multitask. There should never be two issues we are working on for 750,000 people. Each demographic of the 8th District requires equal representation and requires different issues to be at the forefront. For example, in farming we are facing a crisis due to COVID-19, which has left our livestock farmers needing support. We as a district cannot afford to lose any processing or livestock farming and the jobs that come with them. However, the bills that have been passed with bipartisan effort, have fallen short of the full needs of the farming community. We are also facing issues with trade, specifically with respect to our soybean crops. The government is asking our farmers to accept 1956 prices on soybeans while the investment for machinery is at 2020 prices. Reversing the recent rollbacks of workers’ rights is an issue to which I remain committed. Workers should be favored over corporations, and ensuring that workers have the knowledge and skills needed for our 21st Century is paramount if the 8th District is to remain competitive. When we look at education, we find an array of issues needing to be addressed. On the federal level, we need to fully fund Title I as promised before I was born. Next, we need to fully fund nurses and psychological services in each school, not in each district. We need to bring back federally funded industrial and home economics programs. Through education, we can increase the number of much needed health care workers and teachers, create job opportunities and meet workforce demands. Finally, we have an opportunity to increase teacher pay and benefits in order to create better opportunities for teachers to stay in their communities.

What is the best indicator of economic health (stock market, unemployment rate, income…)? Based on those indicators, what is your opinion of the United States’ economic health?

Efficiency, effectiveness, value and consumption are the basis of a healthy economy. For example, if you have a quarry with no workers, you have raw materials but no consumption due to lack of production, market sales, efficiency or effectiveness. There are hundreds of jobs waiting to be filled, but are there skilled workers? Is there enough equipment? Can the product be shipped by trucks or train? Is the market value of the product bringing in enough to sustain workers, growth, distribution and regulation?

With the unemployment rates at an all-time high, the stagnant wage gap, and loss of revenue in small business, the “health” of the economy is declining. The economy is not made for the worker but can determine what the worker can forecast for wages and work. The pandemic has exasperated an already precarious financial situation for many families. One of the largest industries in the 8th District is the service industry, and these workers have been hit tremendously hard. People are avoiding the businesses due to a fear of COVID and also people have less expendable income due to the economic fallout of the pandemic. The crisis continuous to expose huge wage inequities throughout the district.

Should the U.S. offer businesses tax incentives/breaks at this time? Why or why not?

Economists across the spectrum agree that tax incentives to entice companies to move to a city or region are ineffective and a bad idea. Abatements should never be on the table unless correlated with equivalent expenditures to workers or the community. For example, Eisenhower gave us the middle class by extending abatements to businesses that gave working people health insurance. Other examples of tax incentives for businesses that benefit workers and the community include breaks for companies that hire ex-offenders, expanding charitable gift deductions, credits for job creation and carbon capture credits.

Would you support cutting social services if it meant lower taxes? Or would you support higher taxes if it meant more services? Why?

I support higher wages to support social security needs and will never support cuts to social security because citizens paid into that with every hour worked on the job. It is our duty to ensure that the basic needs of our citizens are met, particularly for those least able to help themselves. I believe there is an economic benefit to funding social services including enhanced quality of life and stronger and more economically competitive individuals, families and communities. These programs are wise investments and stave off future costs that would be incurred if social problems they address were left unchecked.

Would you vote to overturn a presidential veto to keep the government running? Why or why not?

Yes, because the government is in charge of programs for the people and is one of the largest employers. I could not live with myself if a veteran or service member did not receive care, medication or transfer due to a political play. Government shutdowns are costly; the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reports that the lost productivity caused by the 2013 government shutdown cost the government $2 billion. Government shutdowns lower the GDP, interfere with small business startups, stall regulatory offices like the ATF, interrupt federal services and harm the federal workforce.

Why do you want to be a member of Congress? Why should I vote for you?

I want to be of service to the people and a voice that is unifying, compassionate and mindful of the needs of the 8th district. If you choose to vote for me, you will get a representative who examines the best possible outcome for the people, and speaks directly to the masses, regardless of income or political affiliation. We are Hoosiers, we are in this together.

Rodenberger

James Rodenberger

What qualities do you have (characteristics, education, experience...) that you feel would help you to be an effective representative?

We've had enough lawyers and career politicians in Washington. What makes me qualified is the fact that I am a better representation of the people in the 8th district. I know what it's like to have to budget, and know what it is like to have to decide to do without to make ends meet.

What two issues do you want to tackle as a representative? And what would you do, as a representative, to make change(s) in those issues?

My first issue is our national debt. I'm appalled that our government is borrowing from our future to subsidize super profitable companies, and foreign militaries. 

My second issue is to stop the erosion of our personal rights. Such as the right to bear arms, and our as ability to do business with anyone we choose.

What is the best indicator of economic health (stock market, unemployment rate, income…)? Based on those indicators, what is your opinion of the United States’ economic health?

My indicator of the economy is the people of the 8th district. When I look at our local economy I know that we are hurting and we've been hurting for a long time. 

Should the U.S. offer businesses tax incentives/breaks at this time? Why or why not?

I'm all for lower taxes, but I want lower taxes for everyone not just a select few. The government shouldn't be choosing winners and losers. The market should. 

Would you support cutting social services if it meant lower taxes? Or would you support higher taxes if it meant more services? Why?

The federal government is the worst provider of services. I would rather cut taxes so local communities can decide how to spend their own money. 

Would you vote to overturn a presidential veto to keep the government running? Why or why not?

It depends on what we are doing to keep it open. A government shutdown doesn't help anyone, but I won't make a bad deal just to keep it going. 

Why do you want to be a member of Congress? Why should I vote for you?

I was tired of the direction this country is going. I'm running to make a difference. Even if I don't win, I hope that I can help change the conversation.




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