Students are facing a poor job market, an unstable economy, a decline in education funding and a variety of other issues.
The 9th District Congressional candidates Democrat Baron Hill, Republican Todd Young and Libertarian Greg Knott offer their stances on each of these issues before they face one another for a debate Oct. 18 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
Democrat incumbent Baron Hill has been in office as Indiana’s 9th District U.S. Representative for almost 12 years. The New York Times has deemed the 9th District Congressional race to be a toss up as of now between Democratic incumbent Baron Hill and Republican candidate Todd Young.
BARON HILL (Democrat)
Baron Hill is the 9th District’s current representative. He was first elected to Congress in 1998 and is currently serving his fifth term.
If elected in November, Hill emphasized continuing down a similar path and implementing policies proposed during the last term. Policies Hill mentioned included the economic stimulus bill, cash for clunkers, homeowner’s credit and a $50 billion jobs bill President Obama proposed that will create projects for road, water and sewer projects.
“I think the policies that we have put forth to try to get this country back moving again should continue to be carried out,” Hill said. “A lot of those policies that were put in place I believe kept us from sliding off in the direction of a depression.”
Hill also supports the Small Business Jobs Act, which was signed this past week by Obama and guarantees loans for small businesses and offers tax credits.
“In the final analysis, it’s the private sector that at some point has to grip a hole in making the investments that they have not been making recently, and that will get us back to full employment and good, strong job growth,” Hill said.
During his term, Hill said interest rates of college loans were lowered and opportunities increased for the Federal Pell Grant, a program that provides need-based grants to low-income college students.
Currently, Hill said students can obtain anywhere between $12,000 and $16,000 in relief loans, but he said the government can do better.
“I would be supportive of even increasing student loans because one of the things we can do as a government is to create opportunities for young people, in particular, to be able to stand on their own two feet because they’ve got a good education,” Hill said.
Hill said he supported the decision to reduce troops in Iraq in order to build up a security force in Afghanistan.
“We have a mission in Afghanistan and that mission is to dramatically reduce the ability of the Al-Qaida and the Taliban to inflict another blow on the United States like they did on 9/11,” Hill said. “The president thinks that we can accomplish that mission by the first probably next year and I support him in those efforts.”
“I think marriage is between a man and a woman. I don’t advocate that, but I do believe in civil unions and as it relates to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military, I voted to eliminate that policy,” Hill said.
As a father of three daughters, Hill said he advocates for some restrictions on abortion but supports the right of women to choose.
“I believe parents ought to have a right to know if one of their children going to be having the abortion is under legal age,” Hill said. “I don’t believe in federal funding for abortions, but I think fundamentally that decision should be left up to the individual women and not the government.”
GREG KNOTT (Libertarian)
Greg Knott, a graduate from the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, works in Bloomington as an IT network administrator for the land survey and civil engineering firm Bledsoe, Riggert and Guerrettaz Inc.
Knott supports FairTax, a national retail sales tax to replace all of the current federal taxes.
“It totally untaxes the working poor,” Knott said. “Currently the working poor, they don’t pay much of any income tax, but they do pay about 15 percent in payroll taxes, and that would remove that burden from them and also give them a rebate to pay for all of the basics in life.”
With the FairTax, Knott said job growth could be stimulated without cutting government revenue or adding to the national debt.
“Economists agree there are hidden embedded taxes within the price of a good — it averages about 22 percent across the economy,” Knott said. “The FairTax eliminates all of those hidden embedded taxes, lowers the price of manufactured goods and averages 22 percent, which boosts exports, which grows American manufacturing jobs.”
Knott said Indiana is not investing enough in primary and secondary education.
“Here in Monroe country we’re spending about $55 hundred per student per year—that’s just not enough to make sure every child graduates from high school prepared for the work force and prepared for college,” Knott said.
Knott said he supports implementing a program in Monroe County similar to the Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy, which spends about $16,000 per student.
In order to increase education spending by about more than $10,000 per student in Monroe County, Knott said the U.S. must cut overseas military spending.
“We spend almost as much on our military as almost the entire rest of the world combined, and much of that is wasteful overseas military deployments,” Knott said. “There’s a proposal now in Congress to cut the overseas spending by over a trillion dollars and my suggestion would be to use those savings to invest in K-12 scholarships, in $16,000 per year per student for the 30 percent of students that are most at risk of not graduating high school.”
Knott supports immediate withdrawal from both Iraq and Afghanistan.
“For every dollar we spend overseas, it’s one less dollar we have to spend here at home,” Knott said. “The researchers from Harvard and Columbia estimate that the war will be $7 trillion, which if you divide that by 114 million households ends up to be $61,000 per household, and I don’t think Indiana families feel like they are $61,000 more secure.”
“I don’t see a role for government in marriage. I think we should go back to where churches marry people,” Knott said. “I think everyone — heterosexuals and homosexuals — should get a contract from the state government called a civil union.”
“My personal view is that abortion should be safe, legal and rare up to the point of fetal viability,” Knott said. “I see no role for the federal government to have in abortion whatsoever, but I do see a state role, and I don’t see a federal role for abortion restrictions or abortion subsidies or abortion funding.”
TODD YOUNG (Republican)
Todd Young is a Marine veteran and deputy prosecutor and earned his J.D. from IU. He served as a delegate to the Indiana Republican State Convention and as a vice precinct committeeman.
Young said the spending carried out over the past 18 plus months has been obtuse and he supports cutting spending dramatically.
“When you spend a lot of money by borrowing from others — largely foreign governments like we have been doing here — that creates great uncertainty about the future, and in order to pay back these debts, you’re going to have to cut spending in certain areas. You’re going to have to raise taxes significantly, you inflate the value of the dollar, you may have to raise interest rates — all of these uncertainties stifle investments in our economy,” Young said.
Young also said he supports lowering taxes and conducting more cost-benefit analyses so endued costs are not imposed on businesses and individual American families.
“Let’s not be careless about those regulations that do pass,” Young said. “We need to recognize we’re in a globally competitive economy so when we pass a cap and trade bill as Baron Hill supported, what we end up doing is doubling the price of electricity in places like the State of Indiana, and that increases the cost of doing business, and that will send jobs overseas.”
Young said he supports increasing higher education spending.
“I have no plans to eliminate the current grants offered to our college students — in fact, we need to continue to give those who have a difficult time affording college,” Young said.
If elected, Young said he would work to identify avenues to increase education assistance to further train the workforce for a globally competitive economy.
According to ToddYoungforCongress.com, Young supports investing in America’s military, and if elected, he would work to provide soldiers with advanced equipment.
Young also said on his website that until America returns to a state of fiscal responsibility, the safety of its citizens is at risk.
Young said he does not support a federal constitutional amendment that would change the definition of marriage to include homosexual couples.
“Marriage is a union between one man and one woman,” Young said. “I have a limited view of government and what areas they should be involved in, especially our federal government.”
Instead, Young said gay marriage issues should be handled at the state level.
“This allows for some diversity between states in our region and frankly differences in culture across this wonderful country,” Young said. “One of the visions of our founding fathers is to allow for that diversity and legislative experimentation and mobility.”
Young identifies himself as a “pro-life” candidate and disapproves of the Supreme Court decision, Roe V. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States.
He said like gay marriage, abortion rights should be returned to the states.