District 8 candidates share their top issuesMay 22, 2020
By CANDY NEAL
Three candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination for District 8 U.S. Representative.
Ron Drake, Thomasina Marsili and Mike Webster would like to be the one to challenge incumbent Congressman Larry Bucshon in the fall election. And each has a different reason, a different focus for doing so.
Early voting for the primary starts Tuesday. Primary Election Day is June 2.
“It’s all about [President Donald] Trump,” Drake said. “We have to save the country from Trump.”
Drake, 82, lives on a farm in Sullivan County and works as an attorney. He is a former teacher and has served as Sullivan and Clay counties’ state representative. He also ran for U.S. Representative in 2016.
He has a list of things he would want to do as a congressman, including restructuring student loans, guaranteeing pensions and medical care for miners, opposing politically correct speech codes and improving the Affordable Care Act.
“The whole thing is about Trump,” Drake said. “If the election is close, he won’t be reelected to the White House. I’d like to be there to support the country.”
Drake said that his platform and experience, which is listed on the mailers he sent out to voters and a YouTube video he produced called “Ron Drake For Congress,” is concise and doable with the right leadership. “I believe that [I] make it clear what I would do if I were elected,” he said.
“It’s not about your opponent,” Marsili said. “It’s about the people you serve, and them having a voice.”
Marsili, 44, lives in rural Spencer County. She is a nationally registered emergency medical technician, small business operator, certified life coach and motivational speaker.
Although she has many issues listed on her website, www.hopein8.com, that she wants to tackle, the biggest issue currently is the economy, she said.
“What we’re going to be facing with the health care industry is the same thing that we faced in 2008 with the downfall of the auto industry,” Marsili said. “Our most important issue is bringing back our economy to a stable unit. And how we are going to do that is through the health care system, through incentives. We’re going to have to go to an FDR, New Deal, 1930s, come-back-from-a-depression-type of legislation.”
She said that the community needs adequate wages. “When I was 15 years old, I had two jobs. The federal minimum wage at that time was $4.25 an hour; the job that I had paid $8.50 an hour. Now, that same job pays $7.25 an hour. So it dropped $1.25 an hour, to the minimum wage we have now,” she explained. “If we were on a normal trajectory, where there’s a normal incline where employment meets the demands of the people, that job would be paying $20 to $25 an hour. And it’s not.”
Marsili has been going across the district to meet people, driving 24,000 miles before the virus hit. After the pandemic began, she and her supporters spent their time taking supplies to people: masks, sanitizers and groceries for the elderly.
“We didn’t stop campaigning. We just changed our campaign and to serve the people,” she said. “These are the things that every single one of the candidates should have been doing, including Dr. Bucshon.”
Marsili feels that it’s time for new leaders to step in and deal with the issues facing Americans.
“It is the burden of my generation to fix the broken system we have been handed, even before COVID,” she said. “And the experience that I saw before this emergency came in, the mess even worse now. This is why I’m running.”
“Things are really bad now. And a lot of it has to do with the Congress, particularly Republicans, even more specifically Larry Bucshon,” Webster said. “We’ve really got to come together and bring decency and competence back to how the country is run. It’s just out of control. And Bucshon is a big part of the problem.”
Webster, 59, lives in Evansville and manages computer distributions; he has also worked in publishing.
On his website, mikewebsterforcongress.com, Webster speaks about a lot of different issues and shares his perspectives. When asked for his two top issues, he said future jobs and health care.
“I’m really interested in the jobs of the future. Already, renewable energies are outpacing coal as far as jobs and salaries. I think there is an opportunity for us to get ahead of the curve, to really push renewable energy,” he said. “We need to be focusing not where the jobs were, but where they are going to be 20 years from now. Whether or not we make an effort, that’s the direction it’s going to go. We just need to be ahead of it.”
Studying how other countries handle their health care systems could help the United States, Webster explained.
“Health care is such a disaster, and it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s plenty of countries that do it so much better than we do,” he said. So you don’t have to invent the wheel; just study how others made the wheel, and then make a better wheel.
“The Larry Bucshons of the world can’t relate. The older generation still have good health insurance or are on Medicare, so they don’t know how bad this has gotten.”
Webster said his experience would help him be an effective congressman.
“I have a lot of history as a project manager. I have a lot of experience getting things done in business. I know how to hire staff. I know how to assign things to get people to work. That would really apply to how a congressional office would need to be run,” he said. “I would set up all the different projects needed in the district and then oversee the staff to make sure they get done. And any constituent that called in with a problem, that wouldn’t fall through the cracks somewhere. It would be managed to completion.
“Constituent services is the first thing you realistically have to do, to help the people of the district,” he added. “The important thing is what you do for your district.”
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