There was pizza, but he didn’t eat it.
Instead, U.S. Rep. Todd Young, R-9th District, worked the room, taking informal questions and learning the names of students at the IU College Republicans spring call-out meeting Tuesday night.
He talked about his past as a Marine, a policy consultant and an attorney before running for Congress in 2010, when he defeated longtime democratic congressman Baron Hill.
The call-out meeting was Young’s fourth stop of the day.
Early Tuesday morning, he filed his paperwork with the Indiana Secretary of State, officially announcing his bid for re-election in the 9th District Congressional race.
On his way back to Bloomington, where he lives with his wife and four young children, Young met with constituents in Johnson and Morgan counties before ending the night at IU.
As he took the podium before more than 40 students and local politicians in the Georgian Room of the IMU, Young asked for an update on the IU men’s basketball game against Michigan State.
“IU is up by five with 11 minutes left,” one male student replied.
“OK,” Young said to a laughing room, “I better be brief.”
The congressman outlined three areas of which millennials should feel ownership — the deficit, healthcare reform and unemployment.
It shouldn’t be hard to engage peers with those topics, Young told the interested room, since each relates to challenges most college students face — debt, healthcare and the job search.
Young criticized the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, mentioning the serious glitches in the website’s rollout that left many citizens confused and unable to sign up for the program.
“Of course the rollout was an absolute disaster,” Young said. “But the rollout is just beginning.”
He told the students that he began with dry policy issues to make a point.
There’s work to be done, he said, especially with the young vote.
“There’s an opportunity in places like Bloomington, Indiana to grow our reign,” Young said. “There’s an opportunity to grow our reign on campuses like Indiana University.”
In a predominantly blue city in a traditionally red state, Young said he was the first 9th district republican to be re-elected consecutively in 50 years.
He defeated former Rep. Baron Hill, D-9th District, in a close race in 2010 and kept his seat in 2012, defeating democratic candidate Shelli Yoder.
Young is a native Hoosier who earned an MBA from the University of Chicago, served in the U.S. Marine Corps and later graduated with a law degree from IU.
Young currently serves on the Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.
As of Tuesday, Young is the only republican to have filed for candidacy in the 9th District, alongside democrat Bill Bailey — a former mayor in Seymour, Ind., and representative to Indiana’s 66th District.
Bailey announced his intent to run against Young last fall.
Candidates may file with the state through Feb. 7 for the May 6 primary.
IU College Republicans Chairman Riley Parr said the organization wanted a dynamic speaker who would draw an interested crowd to their call-out meeting.
Young, who has been a consistent supporter of the group, seemed like a
Parr has volunteered for Young’s previous campaigns and encouraged students at the meeting to get involved with local politics.
“While you’re here, this is your community, and this is where you can make a difference,” Parr said.
In the crowd Tuesday night were several members of the IU College Democrats’ executive board, who will have their own call-out meeting next Tuesday. Bailey is expected to speak.
Young shook their hands and jokingly asked if the college democrats had come for the free pizza.
“It’s good to represent you,” Young told them. “It really is.”
Follow reporter Katie Mettler on Twitter @kemettler.
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