U.S. House of Representatives for Indiana’s 5th Congressional District candidates, Republican Victoria Spartz and Democrat Christina Hale, participated in a virtual town hall Tuesday night with about 240 viewers presented by Indiana Town Halls and WFYI productions.
The candidates discussed a variety of issues including health care, police reform, climate change, the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic and the partisan division in Congress.
Indiana’s 5th Congressional District’s general election is expected to be competitive because in recent years the 5th district has gone back and forth between electing Democratic and Republican candidates. The 5th Congressional Distrcit includes Fishers, Carmel and Marion, Indiana. Bloomington is in Indiana's 9th Congressional District.
Spartz said she supports public options for health care she wants the state to provide more transparency and flexibility. She said she wants people to have their choice of doctors and insurance companies and also be able to afford the health care they need.
Hale said she would fight to keep and improve the Affordable Care Act by making prescriptions more affordable and ensuring people can pay for their doctor visits.
“During this pandemic we must have a public option for those who have no health insurance,” Hale said.
Spartz said she strongly supports people’s Second Amendment rights and thinks it is important to properly train police officers, and without them, America would be unable to avoid anarchy and mobs. She said she thinks having a good criminal justice system is essential.
“I think we have to always remember that police are very important,” Spartz said.
Hale said while the police are meant to protect and serve Americans, she has supported certain police reforms such as requiring officers to wear body cameras. She said she would also support ending chokeholds and the no-knock entry policy for drug offenses.
Spartz said she believes it is important to support good policies for the environment and promote sustainable energy. However, she said she thinks the Green New Deal and similar legislation would hurt jobs and be too costly for Indiana residents.
Hale said she thinks Indiana needs greater transparency when it comes to rebuilding sustainable energy. She said she wants Indiana to be at the forefront of clean energy by relying on renewable solar and wind energy rather than coal-fueled energy by 2050.
Governmental response to coronavirus pandemic
Spartz said she feels that President Donald Trump giving the states flexibility to address the pandemic was a good thing. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb was successful at addressing the pandemic and public safety while also working to keep a good economy, she said.
“Sometimes a crisis can actually be an opportunity to get better and innovate,” she said.
Hale said the federal government’s response to the pandemic was not appropriate, andshe wishes it had worked smarter and more strategically to combat COVID-19 early on.
“It’s time to step up our game,” Hale said.
During closing statements, Spartz said she believes the American dream is still alive because she herself came from nothing and achieved her goals through hard work. Spartz immigrated to the United States more than 20 years ago, became a business owner and is currently a member of the Indiana State Senate representing District 20. She said she wants to ensure that every Hoosier has equal opportunities to pursue happiness.
For Hale’s closing, she said she believes Congress needs problem solvers who are willing to reach across party lines and work together to pass legislation. Hale’s background includes working as an executive with Kiwanis International focusing on community and economic development, and was previously a member of the Indiana House of Representatives, representing District 87 from 2012 to 2016.