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Sodrel’s campaign on 18 wheels rolls into Corydon

Mike Sodrel’s big rig is rolling down the campaign trail as the successful Jeffersonville-based trucking entrepreneur makes his second bid for Congress in Indiana’s Ninth District.
The Republican Sodrel, 58, is unchallenged in the primary and expects to face incumbent Baron Hill for the second time in two consecutive elections in the fall. The first time, Sodrel said, was a learning experience.
‘There isn’t a real formal education progress to conducting a political campaign,’ he said.
He and his wife of 36 years, the former Marquita Dean of Jeffersonville, have two grown children and six grandchildren. They reside in New Albany.
When Sodrel’s campaign on wheels swept through Harrison County on April 14, he weighed in on issues spanning from an Interstate 265 bridge to the 9/11 Commission.
But among subjects most often broached in the Ninth District are the war in Iraq and the manufacturing economy, Sodrel said.
‘I think it was the right thing to do,’ Sodrel said of the war.
‘In my mind, we were doing the international equivalent of serving a search warrant. The United Nations, through a series of resolutions, basically issued a search warrant. We had probable cause. We know they had (weapons of mass destruction). We know they used them. We know they might still have them,’ he said.
Referencing Pearl Harbor and 9/11, Sodrel said, ‘We seem to have short-term memory loss.’
That being said, Sodrel supports the work of the 9/11 Commission.
‘I think it was an important exercise to look at how the government works. How they gather information. How they use it. We have a plane crash, we convene a board to find out why the airplane crashed and what we could do to prevent it.
‘Could (9/11) have been prevented? No, I don’t think so. Maybe if everything was completely different, but we have to deal with circumstances as they were,’ Sodrel said.
‘Other than manufacturing, the economy is doing well,’ said Sodrel, who supported Bush’s economic stimulus package. ‘I think without it we might have lost another million, million-and-a-half jobs.
And as for manufacturing, ‘People are concerned with Chinese trade,’ he said.
‘I would never have voted for Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China. They do not share in our freedom of press, freedom of speech, or any other freedom.
‘It’s virtually impossible for a small business in the U.S. to compete with the Chinese government,’ Sodrel said, adding, trading with China poses an economic problem in the short term and a national security problem long-term.
‘A nation that doesn’t manufacture the things it needs to defend itself will eventually become defenseless,’ he said.
Sodrel expressed similar views on trade with Cuba.
‘These are not allies of the U.S. These are not our friends. They do not believe the same things we believe. There has to be fairness to the trade, and I don’t know if you can ever have fair trade between a communist country and a capitalist country,’ he said.
Sodrel also spoke out against what he said were unnecessary regulations, particularly a bill calling for mandatory ergonomics which, he said, would have cost manufacturers $20 billion a year.
The bill originated through the Occupational Safety & Health Administration and was defeated in Congress though supported by Hill, Sodrel said.
The candidate often references his opponent’s Congressional voting record, but, he said, ‘You will never hear me say that my opponent is a bad person. We just disagree.’
Sodrel supports health savings accounts and the greater individual control they give over employee medical benefits, and he believes that prescription drug plans should be income-based.
‘I don’t believe that a 20- or 30-something should be paying for Bill Gates’ prescription drugs,’ he said.
Regarding Social Security, Sodrel said, ‘We have to maintain the contract that we have with our currently retired seniors and those about to retire. ‘If we can allow younger people to have more control over Social Security and not jeopardize the benefits of those already on it, I would certainly give it a hard look.’
He said transportation is an issue that troubles him.
‘My opponent voted against an Interstate 265 bridge and local interchange project, and I don’t understand how you can take credit for something you voted against,’ Sodrel said.
Those items were part of a transportation package that passed Congress by a 357-65 vote.