Candidate Q&A: U.S. Senator

What would your legislative priorities be if you were elected?


Marlin Stutzman (R): The most important and central role of the government is to keep Americans safe. I will fight for a strong military and foreign policy that will affirm America’s position as a leader in the fight against terrorism and Islamic jihad. Term limits are needed for members of Congress, and I have pledged to serve only two terms as a U.S. senator. Nineteen trillion dollars in debt is the largest threat to our national security. Balancing the budget must be a priority. I have authored a conservative alternative to the federal budget that balances sooner than any other proposal.


Todd Young (R): We need to repeal and replace Obamacare with a market-based solution that keeps costs low and health care outcome quality high. In addition, I am focused on getting Americans back to work through comprehensive tax reform and my bill, the REINS Act. Tax reform is the single greatest tool we have to unleashing economic growth. And the REINS Act would allow the people’s representatives to have direct input on the rules and regulations we live under — effectively reducing the number of over-burdensome regulations written by unelected Washington bureaucrats.

How do you plan to help work alongside the next president and administration, whether a Democrat or Republican wins?

Stutzman: Working with people in a productive manner is important to any business or organization. Finding common ground and working to a solution is possible when people share the same goals. The challenge in Washington is that many people in positions of influence are not working for common goals. Career politicians and the entrenched bureaucracies are more focused on growing government and satisfying the donor class who grant them their power through political donations. I will work with any president whose focus is to protect and promote the American people and stop the runaway growth of the federal government.

Young: My focus in the Senate is going to be consistent, no matter who is president. I will tackle tough problems with conservative reforms on behalf of Hoosiers. I’m not going to the U.S. Senate to grandstand and give speeches. I’m going to the U.S. Senate to make tomorrow better than yesterday for each and every Hoosier, no matter if they voted for me or not.

Major manufacturing companies, including Carrier in Indianapolis, have recently left the United States for Mexico, citing too much federal regulation. Do you believe there is too much business regulation or not enough?

Stutzman: No matter how many layoffs or corporate relocations are announced, too many politicians have refused to risk their own jobs fighting for the changes that could actually save jobs. If we stand together and demand the real changes that are necessary, we can jump-start our economy. We can bring back jobs and foster innovation to create the new jobs of the 21st century. The first step is to overhaul our broken tax code. No economy can thrive under a system that discourages success, double-taxes earnings and requires teams of professionals for compliance.

Young: The regulatory agenda being pushed by the Obama administration has hurt Hoosier farmers, small business owners, landowners, manufactures and, in this case, employees at Carrier. Currently, unelected bureaucrats in Washington are writing the rules and regulations we live under without much direct input from the people or their representatives. My REINS Act would fix this by restoring legislative accountability and responsibility to Congress by having every economically significant regulation come for a simple up or down vote.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges facing our nation? How do you plan to address them?

Stutzman: The biggest challenge facing our nation at this time is the broken system in Washington, D.C., that continues to work against the interests of the American people. Hoosiers need leadership that will continue to challenge the status quo in Washington. I will work against the established interests of party politicians and the unholy alliance between big government and big business. My focus will be on changing the broken and corrupted system in Washington that continues to fail the American people. I am running for the U.S. Senate because I believe we must change Washington, not America.

Young: Because of what I learned at the Naval Academy and in the Marines, my most immediate concern is our national security. ISIS has shifted its attention to launching attacks on foreign soil from its safe havens in Iraq, Syria and Libya. These sorts of attacks are unique in that ISIS is able to plan and direct attacks using sympathizers in foreign countries such as France, Belgium and the U.S. I have urged the president to develop a decisive military strategy to destroy ISIS based off some recommendations I presented learned during my time in the Marine Corps.

— Samm Quinn, Daily Reporter

Editor’s note: The League of Women Voters of Brown County also asked questions of Stutzman and Young in a mailed questionnaire. Stutzman did not respond. Those questions and Young’s answers are below:

Why do you seek the office of Senator, and what experiences particularly qualify you?

Stutzman: No response.

Young: I’m running for all Hoosiers. Jenny and I want for our kids what all Hoosiers want: a better future, more jobs, safety and security. The Naval Academy and the Marine Corps taught me that for America to be strong, we must stay engaged in the world, diplomatically, economically and militarily. I’m running to offer concrete solutions to the problems we face as a country. That’s why I am committed to repealing Obamacare and rolling back Obamacare’s anti‐work rules. I’ve fought to eliminate Obama’s red tape and worked for real, effective spending reforms that have cut the deficit in half. I will fight for a conservative change in Washington that will get our nation back on track. With ISIS on the march, unrest in Ukraine, and pressures from Russia, Iran and North Korea, I will fight to strengthen our military and our foreign policy.

What critical issues currently face Indiana and how do you propose to address them?

Stutzman: No response.

Young: National security: Our country faces evolving threats in radical Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS, which have been able to direct attacks from strongholds in Syria, Iraq and Libya. I find a nuclear-armed Iran to be a threat to the long-term stability of the Middle East and the security of America and our allies. As a graduate of the Naval Academy and a Marine, I know it takes a properly equipped military and an intelligence community given the proper tools to assess and counter incoming threats. Our economy: With the recent uneven economic recovery, it is more important than ever that we put Hoosiers in a position to succeed. I favor comprehensive tax reform that lowers rates so Hoosiers can keep more of the money they earn, and regulatory reform to reduce burdensome regulations so small businesses can hire workers. And we must repeal and replace Obamacare.

What are three specific things you would recommend to improve health care and reduce costs?

Stutzman: No response.

Young: First, Obamacare has been a disaster from day one and should be replaced with a market-based approach that keeps health care decisions between Hoosiers and their doctors. The replacement plan must be based on free-market principles that keep costs low and outcome quality high. One problem Obamacare has created that I’ve worked to fix is the definition of full-time work. Under Obamacare, the definition of full-time work has been decreased to 30 hours. Under this provision, hourly wage-workers are having their hours and take-home pay reduced by 25 percent in order to comply with the mandate. I’ve passed legislation out of the House that restores the full-time definition to 40 hours so hourly wage workers no longer have their wages cut to comply with burdensome Obamacare mandates. This has hurt Indiana school districts that are laying off teachers and staff.

Where do you see our country in five to 10 years as far as energy development and the role of renewable energy?

Stutzman: No response.

Young: I believe an all-of-the-above energy approach is necessary to make America less reliant on foreign oil and is in the best interests of American families and businesses, by keeping energy and fuel costs low. Specifically, a proposal I introduced this Congress would ensure that excise taxes on liquid natural gas and propane are levied at a rate consistent with that of diesel and gasoline. That proposal was signed into law as part of the recently passed highway bill.

To ensure we stay competitive on the global economic stage, what is your vision to ensure access to post-secondary education and training, without causing unsupportable personal debt?

Stutzman: No response.

Young: I believe strongly that we must make higher education more affordable for students. To make it easier for Hoosiers to pay for college, I worked with former Indiana governor and current Purdue President Mitch Daniels to develop an alternative option. After working with Daniels, I introduced the Investing in Student Access Act, which creates a legal framework for an innovative type of education funding called an Income Share Agreement. This arrangement offers students an alternative way to finance their higher education that guarantees affordable payments upon graduation. It doesn’t spend any taxpayer money or remove any existing financial aid options. This initiative will give much-needed legal certainty to would-be investors, while at the same time, provide robust consumer protections for students who choose to utilize this form of debt-free tuition financing.

How do you respond to people who feel disenfranchised by special interests and the amount of money spent in campaign finance?

Stutzman: No response.

Young: I understand why Americans are frustrated. I’m frustrated, too, and that’s one of the reasons I’m running for the U.S. Senate. I believe we need more transparency in campaign finances so voters know who is giving money to candidates and campaigns. As your U.S. senator, I will always be willing to consider proposals to make government more transparent and accessible to all citizens.