Thursday, February 16, 2012

5th Congressional District GOP Forum: Post-Valentine's Edition

Last night, I attended a meeting of the Broad Ripple GOP that hosted four of the candidates for the 5th Congressional district: Jack Lugar, Susan Brooks, John McGoff, and David McIntosh. I arrived a bit early and asked the organizer of the event how it'd be set up. He told me it'd be a "speed dating" format. I thought that was odd at first, but it worked out really well due to the limited amount of space that was available.

Each group got about 15-20 minutes with each candidate and we were able to pepper them with questions.

I think it's clear that both McGoff and McIntosh are the most studied for this job. It helps that the two men have run for this district's seat before and served in Congress, respectively. Both expressed their past elected offices (McGoff as Marion County Coroner, McIntosh as a former Congressman) and had the most detailed answers to questions asked.

Lugar doesn't bring much to the table at this point in time. He's running sort of as the anti-candidate, but there's at least four other candidates that filed to run that didn't attend this meeting. So that vote is likely going to be split. There's still time to find his footing. And he's able to talk with people in Broad Ripple just as well as he was able to talk and connect with people in Kokomo. So that's a plus.

Susan Brooks** was clearly in her backyard and was on top of her game, which was a stark contrast to what I observed in Kokomo where she came across as a bit stiff. It probably helped that her husband, Marion County GOP operative David Brooks, was there as well as a bunch of county GOP backed candidates. However, Brooks is going to face an uphill battle in a district where only a small sliver consists of Indianapolis, while most of the rest of the district doesn't hold Indianapolis in high regards. Her selling point is that, as deputy mayor under Mayor Steve Goldsmith, she knows how to get legislation passed and work across political divides. I kind of wonder how much 5th district GOP primary voters would value that, but it'd be a handy skill to have in a legislative body where even members who have been there for a decade might not have a piece of legislation ever pass a sitting President's desk.

While several others have filed to run for the 5th district GOP primary, the only notable candidate of the bunch is Wayne Seybold. Seybold, who wasn't present at last night's forum, is the current Mayor of Marion, Indiana. Word on the street is that he's likely to be endorsed by incumbent Congressman Dan Burton, who has announced his retirement.

Though at some point, you have to ask, does anyone really want Danny's endorsement?

I also had the pleasure to finally meet Carlos May. May is running for the nomination to run as the Republican 7th Congressional district challenger to Democratic incumbent Andre Carson.

Several of the Marion County GOP's slated judicial candidates, including Helen Marshall, were also in attendance.

Finally, a note to my readers. I know a number of you consider yourselves politically independent and are hesitant to attend these functions that are hosted by partisan political organizations.

I think most event organizers are very aware of that and try to be open to even those who aren't part of the inner-party workers. Sure, they might hit you up for a donation or put you on a mailing list. But it's a small price to pay to get educated on candidates that might be representing you in the state legislature or in the halls of Congress.

A couple of other interesting tidbits happened at this event, but they aren't related to the 5th Congressional district. So I'll save that for another post.

**Full disclosure: Susan Brooks is an old family friend and both attend St. Monica in Indianapolis.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I don't think McGoff ever served in Congress. Your article seems to indicate that.

  3. Good article on John R. "Jack" Lugar

    By KEN de la BASTIDE


    When Republican voters cast ballots in the May 8 primary, they will find two candidates with the last name of Lugar on the ballot.

    Richard Lugar is familiar to voters. He seeks a sixth term in the U.S.
    Senate. But Jack Lugar is appearing on the ballot for the first time in his bid for the 5th Congressional District nomination.

    Lugar, 42, has a degree in law and operates his own real estate brokerage firm in Fishers.

    "I truly am a political outsider," Lugar said.

    He made the decision to run for Congress last July while Capitol Hill was in the middle of a debate on raising the debt ceiling.

    "I decided with a 9 percent approval rating for Congress, people were looking for someone who was an outsider, not tied to a political party or big money," he said. "With this year being a presidential year, Senate and governor races, I thought I could get my message out better than at other times."

    Before announcing his candidacy, Lugar heard that incumbent Dan Burton was considering retiring from Congress.

    "I factored in that he may not run, but also that it was time for him to retire," Lugar said of Burton. "I have a strong opposition to career politics; it wasn't the way Congress was set up. I felt we should have community representatives that stayed connected to their communities."

    Lugar knew it would be a tough primary fight whether Burton was in the race or not.

    When Burton announced his retirement, the field of candidates increased to seven.

    "Additional candidates were more beneficial to me because of the fact it would divide the vote enough to give other candidates a chance," he said. "A dark horse has a chance to rise up."

    If elected, Lugar said he will push for a balanced budget and spending cuts.

    "We have to cut spending, we have too many programs," Lugar said.
    "We need to return to a country of sacrifice instead of entitlements."

    Lugar said the nation must eliminate, modify and keep some of the entitlement programs.

    He said Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid have to be modified and agrees with the proposal to make a change in paying into the Social Security system for those under the age of 55.

    "We need to develop a program where people can do some self-directed investing for themselves," Lugar said.

    Leaders in Washington are unwilling to make the tough decisions because they're afraid of losing their jobs, he said.

    "It's a field of service, and I believe most of our leaders have lost the focus on that," Lugar said. "It has become an aristocracy and one of privilege, and that's the problem with becoming a career politician.
    You lose touch with reality.

    "As adults we need to make decisions that will benefit our children,"
    he said.

    Lugar said he will set a self-imposed term limit of 12 years or six terms, but would support a three-term limit if there was a consensus in Congress to impose that limit.

    He also believes the health care reform legislation should be repealed and the process started anew.

    Lugar said he is sure some of the proposals in the health care legislation make sense, but the cost requires the creation of a new plan.

    "Our health care system is not ideal," he said. "People have no idea what they're paying for because of insurance. Medical providers know that, building hospitals like crazy.

    "We don't know what we're paying or what we're paying for," Lugar continued. "We don't have full disclosure of what things cost. When insurance is involved, the price always goes up."


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