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Mourdock aims for Senate seat

Nicole Michels | Thursday, October 25, 2012

Editor’s Note: This story is the second in a series featuring the race for the Indiana seat in the United States Senate.

Republican State Treasurer Richard Mourdock promised to bring a sense of fiscal discipline to the U.S. Senate if Hoosiers vote him into the seat currently held by GOP Senator Richard Lugar.

“You have to make the tough decisions to make sure we live within a budget,” Mourdock said. “I think that’s the type of thing I’d like to see and carry to Washington.”

Mourdock’s foremost opponent for the Nov. 6 election is Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly, a six-year veteran of the House of Representatives.

Strengthening Indiana businesses and rejuvenating its economy are the concerns at the forefront of voters’ minds, Mourdock said.

“Without question, [the most important issue] is getting this economy going again … we’ve had 8 percent or more unemployment over the last 43 months,” Mourdock said. “Some people say that’s the new normal and that we should expect that, but I totally disagree and most Hoosiers disagree.”

Mourdock’s extensive experience in the private sector makes him especially qualified for the position, he said.

“Having worked 31 years in the private sector as a geologist and in the energy business before I ever became State Treasurer, I think I have a wealth of experience in the private sector that is pretty unusual for someone who might get the chance to serve in the Senate,” Mourdock said. “I’d certainly like to take that expertise in business, finance and energy to the Senate.”

Mourdock said his track record in Indiana as State Treasurer speaks to his ability to stimulate the economy.” In Indiana we have been one of the most fiscally responsible states in the country, and we are probably in the most healthy financial shape of any state in the country,” Mourdock said. “Working with Governor Daniels and with state legislators to impose the kind of discipline that it takes to live within a budget, that’s been a very good thing.”

Mourdock said his wish is for the Senate to maximize efficiency, accountability and transparency on a daily basis.

“I certainly am willing to work with anyone, be that Republican, Democratic or independent, who understands the urgency that we must get this economy fixed, and that a big part of fixing it means making government more accountable, more efficient, and transparent,” Mourdock said. “It’s not about creating government programs, it’s about living within our means.”

As Senator, Mourdock said he would rely on a three-pronged approach to turn around the economy.

“Number one, as in Indiana, I think the federal government has to learn to live within its means so it requires less from the people to fund the federal government. Number two, we have to change the tax code to make it more of a pro-growth tax code and not simply look at it as a way to get money from those who would otherwise be creating jobs,” Mourdock said. “Last but certainly not least, we have to loosen the regulatory noose that so many agencies have put on Hoosier businesses.”

Indiana voters would prefer the implementation of another healthcare plan besides the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Mourdock said. Instead, Mourdock said he would work on a healthcare plan more fiscally responsible than the ACA, commonly known as “Obamacare.”

“I get a little frustrated with Republicans who say, ‘Repeal Obamacare!’ without saying what they’re going to replace it with,” Mourdock said. “We have to deal with both the healthcare insurance side and the healthcare cost side: much of Obamacare actually drives up the cost of healthcare, and that ends up driving up the costs of health care insurance as well.”

Mourdock said he will solve at least part of the healthcare issue by allowing the private market to find alternatives not mandated by the government.

“Speaking broadly here, if you want to buy insurance for your car you can buy insurance from any number of national companies because car companies advertise their products across state lines – but health care companies can’t do that,” Mourdock said. “If we allow the health care companies to sell their products across state lines it would bring a lot more people into those risk pools, which would mean that there’s more cash there that is available to companies.”

The lawsuit filed by Notre Dame and other religious organizations against the Department of Health and Human Services revealed the excessive power of the government, Mourdock said.

“Obamacare is about more than just health care,” he said. “This is not something that I think government needs to be involved in: telling people what their morality needs to be and what their moral decision making process should be.”

Mourdock said he has supported Notre Dame’s position in the lawsuit from the outset.

“When Notre Dame joined the lawsuit against Health and Human Services, I actually came up to South Bend and did a news conference,” Mourdock said. “My comment was how ironic it was that a kid from Ball State University is here – me – to defend Notre Dame when my opponent who has two degrees from Notre Dame isn’t taking its position.”

Mourdock said he hopes college students take the time to discern what which candidate will enact policies that will support pursuit of their dreams.

“I would hope that all college students would take the time to take the long term view, and what I mean by that is to look at the candidates not just by what they’re saying today, but what it is they’re saying today that could make the world next year and the next year after that and five years out and ten years out a better place, America a better place and give each student a greater chance at reaching his dream,” he said.