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Ninth District race draws a crowd

The ballots for the May 3 Primary Election will include nine candidates — four Democrats and five Republicans — for Indiana’s Ninth District congressional seat. Incumbent Todd Young, R-Bloomington, is not seeking re-election; instead, he is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Dan Coats. The Democrat hopefuls are Bob Kern, James R. McClure Jr., Bill Thomas and Shelli Yoder. Those seeking to be the GOP candidate in the fall are Robert Hall, Trey Hollingsworth, Erin Houchin, Brent Waltz and Greg Zoeller. Here are the candidates’ responses to a questionnaire from this newspaper.
Democrats
Name, age and residency: Bob Kern, 52, Indianapolis
Family: Single. Father: Benjamin and Mother: Joyce. Identical twin brother Billy, 3 other brothers and 3 sisters and nieces and nephews.
Education/Occupation/Political experience: I am the 2016 Indiana Democratic State Delegate. Past elected Marion County Precinct Committeeman and Indiana Democratic State Delegate. First ran in 1996 for United States Congress in the 10th district. I was one of nine candidates. I learned then not to give up, and I didn’t. I ran in 1998, and this time I won the nomination for the Democratic party, beating the slated candidate without spending or raising millions of dollars. I ran in the 7th Congressional district, and in 2014 ran in the 2nd Congressional district. Remember, never give up on your dreams.
Contact information for voters: Call me anytime 24/7 1-812-391-7769, 1-317-450-9545; also can be reached by email: [email protected] or the people’s website: www.bobkern4indiana.org
Why are you seeking the office, and why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents (in 150 words or less)? What makes me, Bob Kern, the best candidate is my willingness to listen, learn and act on behalf of my constituents. I offer a fresh perspective and special skillset enabling me to make impartial decisions and improving the congressional office work for the people of the 9th District. I will not accept endorsements from those who seek to politically enslave and control me in Congress and deter me from accomplishing the people’s overarching goals. I represent all the people and hereby promise to conduct business in office with the utmost transparency and to always be held accountable to the people.
With the popularity of anti-establishment presidential candidates, such as Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders, what is the message that Congress should be hearing? How would you respond to that message (in 150 words or less)? I want to make something very clear. America has never stopped being great! Politicians stopped acting for the people. It’s time we take action that is not just for the two political parties. People don’t want a president who’s not trustworthy. America doesn’t want a president trying to shove policies at them with the same routine we have seen for many years. The two political parties need to start listening to the people. The Republicans want Donald Trump; so do some of the Democrats. Trump says exactly what they want to hear. Trump walks the walk and talks the talk. Hillary isn’t in this equation because the only thing that makes Hillary different from Bernie Sanders is that her husband is a former president. People are going to rise up and take America from them. They place absolutely no effort into anything the people want. These politicians should be fired.
Name, age and residency: James McClure Jr., 50, Clarksville
Family: Wife: Theresa, married 25 years; son: James III; son: Leland; daughter: Cassandra; son: Alexander
Education/Occupation/Political experience: Associate degree in computer science from the Community College of the Air Force; IT analyst; never elected to office, citizen activist keeping my town and county government honest and effective
Contact information for voters: e-mail: [email protected]; phone: 1-812-697-8595; Facebook: www.facebook.com/jamesrmcclurejrforcongress; Twitter: @JamesRMcClureJr
Why are you seeking the office, and why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents (in 150 words or less)? I am seeking to represent The People of the Ninth District because the Party of Lies and Pandering, a.k.a. the Republican Party, has failed to represent The People of Indiana for six years. Todd Young sold out The People of Indiana for a seat on Ways and Means and has been a puppet of the PLP establishment ever since. I was the first candidate this cycle to declare a run against Todd, because The People of IN09 deserve a congressman who works for them, not big-money special interests in Washington. As a Jeffersonian Anti-Federalist Democrat, I can appeal to disillusioned Republican and Independent voters in a way no other Democrat can. I am the PLP’s worst nightmare, because I, a citizen just like you, can win this heavily gerrymandered district, and I will serve The People, defend your Liberty and preserve The Constitution.
With the popularity of anti-establishment presidential candidates, such as Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders, what is the message that Congress should be hearing? How would you respond to that message (in 150 words or less)? The People are sick of liars and panderers. They are tired of having their liberty eroded daily. The People cry out for an honest statesman. I have heard that call, and I am willing to again serve The People of Indiana, just as I did in Iraq. I have pledged to spend several hours a day answering my own phone once elected. The People deserve direct contact with their elected representative. I believe that listening to your constituents directly on a daily basis is key to serving them. Once a public servant stops listening to his boss, The People, he becomes a politician, existing only to get re-elected. He no longer serves The People and must be removed. I am offering My service to The People of Indiana. You deserve better, and I will work, every day, to be YOUR representative.
Name, age and residency: Bill Thomas, 54, Corydon
Family: Spouse of 36 years, Beth. Beth is a nurse, working in Southern Indiana. Five children: Tyler, Benjamin, Hunter, Darcey and Morgan.
Education/Occupation/Political experience: Graduate of Massasoit College in Massachusetts. Graduate of IUS B.A. A seminary graduate with graduate degrees in biblical studies and pastoral, ministry. Licensed Real Estate Broker Indiana. Licensed Real Estate agent in Massachusetts. Licensed pilot. Pastor. Work for a Fortune 500 company for the past 32 years as a Union member and in management. Associate pastor at Mount Zion Church. Have lived in Corydon/Lanesville for over two decades on a small farm.
Contact information for voters: billthomastocongress.com; 812-207-4763; 2444 Hidden Valley, Corydon, IN 47112; email: [email protected]
Why are you seeking the office, and why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents (in 150 words or less)? The United States is in dire need of sound judgment and sound leadership, for the people, by the people, making decisions which have a positive impact on the country for current and future generations. We owe it to ourselves and our children. Congress is not listening to the people. I will support the Constitution and the freedom that gives every American life and liberty. It is time to hold Congress accountable. A vote for me is a vote for the people of Southern Indiana. I will be your voice in Washington, not my own. I support the Second Amendment 100 percent. I will strengthen Social Security for today and the future. I support the following: Gun Rights (NRA member), Religious Freedom (pastor), Strong Military, Border Security, Police, “Whose lives matter,” our teachers, Unions and bringing jobs back to America. Together we can get America back on track.
With the popularity of anti-establishment presidential candidates, such as Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders, what is the message that Congress should be hearing? How would you respond to that message (in 150 words or less)? Congress needs to hear the people and support the people’s decisions, not their own … Congress continues to do whatever they want at the expense of the American people. We have too much spending, too much mismanagement and too much infighting among the politicians in Washington. Let’s send Washington a message that the people are fed up and we will not tolerate it anymore. Washington needs to recognize that they are elected officials by the people not rich donors, big corporations and foreign governments. I will work for the people seven days a week, 24 hours a day; I will be at the helm defending the rights of every American. Let us not continue with the status quo in Washington … Elect and visit BillThomastocongress.com.
Name, age and residency: Shelli Yoder, 47, Bloomington
Family: Married, 3 children
Education/Occupation/Political experience: Education: Master of Divinity, Vanderbilt University; Master of Science in counseling and human services, Indiana University at South Bend; Bachelor of Arts, Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne. Occupation: Educator at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Political experience: Monroe County Council, District 1 (2013-current); 2012 9th District Democratic nominee for Congress.
Contact information for voters: Phone: 1-812-340-9245; email: [email protected]
Why are you seeking the office, and why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents (in 150 words or less)? When I get to Congress, I will get to work day one creating an environment for the growth of good-paying jobs throughout the 9th District. The people of the 9th District deserve a representative in Washington who will truly represent them and their needs and not those of a political party or outside special interests. I will be that representative. I’m not a career politician. I’m someone who has spent my career helping vulnerable communities through my work in non-profit leadership and teaching our next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs the values of hard work, honesty and service through my teaching at IU-Kelley School of Business. I want to work to give people the sense that, if you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead in America.
With the popularity of anti-establishment presidential candidates, such as Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders, what is the message that Congress should be hearing? How would you respond to that message (in 150 words or less)? Congress needs to hear that people are sick and tired of the status quo, of politicians working for special interest and big money in hopes of getting re-elected instead of doing what is right for their constituents. My promise is to do what is right by those in the 9th District and represent their interests and values at the federal level. If an idea is good for America and the 9th District, I will support it. That’s what it means to serve your country, and it’s just plain Hoosier common sense.
Republicans
Name, age, residency: Robert Hall, 66, Bloomington
Family: Wife – Mary Jane; 2 adult sons
Education/Occupation/Political experience: Education: B.S.I.E degree, Purdue University; M.B.A. degree, University of Chicago. Occupation: Retired manufacturing executive. Political experience: 48-year volunteer, state chairman, Young Republicans; elected GOP precinct committeeman; delegate to GOP state conventions in 3 states; editor, Grassroots Conservatives eNews, 3,000 subscribers; lead Grassroots Conservatives group in 9CD, 400 attended monthly meetings in 4 years; Tea Party Patriots, local coordinator.
Contact information for voters: RobertHallforCongress.com
Why are you seeking the office, and why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents (in 150 words or less)? Politics was not my career, I am NOT a career politician. My 40-year career was in the private sector, mostly improving manufacturing operations, and I got results. I am an expert at lean manufacturing and have started more than 800 improvement teams at 135 plants. I am very unhappy with the direction of our country. Career politicians, Democrats and Republicans, in Washington have taken our country in the wrong direction. Since 2001, we have lost millions of manufacturing jobs, and thousands of factories have closed. Most of our cities and towns have lost a factory, and those good, stable, middle-class jobs are gone. With 94 million Americans not in the labor force, the labor participation rate is the lowest since 1977. As a member of Congress, my highest priority will be to improve our economy by bringing back manufacturing jobs from Mexico and China and balancing the budget.
With the popularity of anti-establishment presidential candidates, such as Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders, what is the message that Congress should be hearing? How would you respond to that message (in 150 words or less)? Career politicians in Washington vote for more government spending, vote for budgets that don’t balance within 5 years, vote for omnibus spending bills, for continuing budget resolutions and vote for raising the debt limit. Voting Republican is not enough! We must do better than that. Here are five things that will help bring back middle-class manufacturing jobs: 1.) Replace the income tax with the Fair Tax eliminating the IRS, 2.) Repeal Obamacare, 3.) Stop China’s currency manipulations, 4.) Quit the climate change nonsense, and 5.) Change the unfair trade policies. I will support legislation that will limit the federal government, reduce spending and waste by simply following the U.S. Constitution. I will fight for constitutional amendments for term limits and a balanced budget. It is time we put our country back on the right track. I am a true conservative. I am the most conservative candidate in this race.
Name, age and residency: Trey Hollingsworth, 32, Jeffersonville
Family: Wife, Kelly
Education/Occupation/Political experience: Business school graduate’ own eight Indiana businesses, including an aluminum manufacturing facility; first-time candidate and have never held elected office
Contact information for voters: www.VoteForTrey.com
Why are you seeking the office, and why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents (in 150 words or less)? I am running for Congress because it is time to stop the “politics as usual” and bring business sense to Washington. Job creators are having a hard time creating careers that Hoosiers want because of our onerous tax code, unpredictable regulatory environment, unsecure border and damaging laws like Obamacare. Unfortunately, it is not realistic to assume that career politicians will be willing to buck a system that has been shaped to benefit them. We need to elect public servants who understand the problems facing our nation and are willing to stand up for our beliefs. If we want to change Washington, we need to change whom we send to Washington.
With the popularity of anti-establishment presidential candidates, such as Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders, what is the message that Congress should be hearing? How would you respond to that message (in 150 words or less)? Elected officials need to listen to our concerns instead of trivializing them. We have been betrayed because OUR voices have been drowned out by lobbyists, special interests and party leaders that promise campaign contributions and bigger offices. I have personally reached out and listened to the concerns of thousands of Hoosiers, on the phone and at their doorsteps. I have pledged to each one of them that I will serve no more than eight years because we all deserve better than the “go along to get ahead” political insiders who will place the next election ahead of the next generation.
Name, age and residency: Erin Houchin, 39, Salem
Family: Husband, Dustin. 3 children.
Education/ Occupation/Political experience: B.A. in psychology from Indiana University, M.A. in political management from The George Washington University. Current State Senator for District 47. Previously served as the Southeastern Regional Director for U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, representing the Senator in all of Indiana’s 9th District, as well as 9th District chair of the Indiana Republican Party.
Contact information for voters: 1-812-993-1770; [email protected]
Why are you seeking the office, and why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents (in 150 words or less)? All my life I have believed I could make a difference for my community and the state of Indiana. I am strongly pro-life, and I support our Second Amendment rights. I believe we are taxed enough already, we must reduce our spending and debt and we need to get government out of the way of our nation’s job creators. One of my opponents hasn’t lived in the 9th District for over 40 years and another just moved to Indiana from Tennessee and views this area as merely a place to run for office. I have lived, worked and served in this district for my entire life. I understand our challenges and our values. I’m running for Congress because it’s time conservative principles started winning again, and it’s going to take a fighter for that to happen. I will be that leader for the 9th District.
With the popularity of anti-establishment presidential candidates, such as Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders, what is the message that Congress should be hearing? How would you respond to that message (in 150 words or less)? In the last seven years, the Obama presidency has put conservatism on the defensive, and I want to change that. Washington has failed the American people too often. The times demand that we send a new generation of conservative leaders who will stand up for our values and fight back against the liberal Obama/Clinton agenda and the establishment status quo. I believe it comes down to a simple choice for the voters in the 9th District. By electing me, our district will send a proven fighter to represent our values, the same ones instilled in me while growing up in Southern Indiana. Washington County is my home; Washington, D.C., is not and never will be.
Name, age and residency: Brent Waltz, 42, Greenwood
Family: Single
Education/Occupation/Political experience: Center Grove High School — National Merit Scholar; graduate of Wabash College with honors; president of The Baron Group; 4 years county council; 12 years state senator
Contact information for voters: Brent Waltz, P.O. Box 7274, Greenwood, IN 46142; Brent Waltz for Congress at brentwaltz.com
Why are you seeking the office, and why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents (in 150 words or less)? Public service. Successful businessman. A proven Conservative record. These are some of the reasons I am running for the Republican nomination of Indiana’s 9th Congressional District. I am a 7th generation Hoosier and a lifelong resident of our district. I am an Eagle Scout, graduated as a National Merit Scholar from Wabash College and, at the age of 22, became the youngest Registered Investment Adviser in Indiana by founding The Baron Group Inc., an investment company creating hundreds of jobs in Indiana. I served as a county councilman before my election to the Indiana Senate in 2004. I am a card-carrying life member of the NRA and one of three senators in Indiana with an A+ rating and endorsed by Indiana Right to Life; proud to have a 100-percent voting record on pro-life issues. I pledge to fight every day in Washington as your Congressman for Conservative Hoosier values.
With the popularity of anti-establishment presidential candidates, such as Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders, what is the message that Congress should be hearing? How would you respond to that message (in 150 words or less)? Washington is broken.
Name, age and residency: Greg Zoeller, 60, native of New Albany
Family: Wife Kerrie, daughters Gretchen (25), Kat (18) and son Michael (15)
Education/Occupation/Political experience: Education: Providence Catholic High School (’73), Purdue University (’73-75), Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington (’82). Occupation: Attorney. Political experience: Elected Attorney General 2008, re-elected 2012
Contact information for voters? Website: www.gregzoeller.com
Why are you seeking the office, and why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents (in 150 words or less)? As Attorney General, I have fought for the rights of Hoosiers and our state and fought against the overreach of the federal government into areas beyond their constitutional limits. I believe many of the problems that our country faces come from the dysfunction in Congress during a time when we have serious challenges. Addressing our country’s fiscal problems, fixing our broken immigration system and providing for the future security needs of our nation can only be done in Congress. I have the experience, good judgment and willingness to take on the serious challenges that Congress must face without concern for being re-elected. My experience with both federal and state government will help me get things done in Congress as well as supporting economic development projects in the 9th District. I understand the anger people feel toward our federal government, and I am running for Congress to do something about it.
With the popularity of anti-establishment presidential candidates, such as Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders, what is the message that Congress should be hearing? How would you respond to that message (in 150 words or less)? As I’ve campaigned throughout the 13 counties that make up the 9th District, I’ve heard from people who are frustrated and angry at the status quo in Washington. They understand that our country faces serious challenges and needs a Congress that focuses on the problems that only the federal government can address. They see the $19 trillion debt, a foreign policy in disarray and an immigration system that is broken and want Congress to get to work fixing these problems. They also want the federal government to leave other matters to the state and local government or to the people themselves just as our Constitution directs. Most people understand that government doesn’t create jobs and grow our economy but that government can restrict job growth by the private sector and weaken our economy. So, the message to Congress is to quit causing problems and get to work doing what only our federal government can do for us.

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