Republican incumbent Marlin Stutzman, Democrat Justin Kuhnle and Libertarian candidate Scott Wise will be the voters’ choices for U.S. Congress Third District representative on the ballot. Voting takes place Tuesday, Nov. 4.
The Mail-Journal asked the candidates their opinion on two situations: one specific to the Third District and one impacting the entire nation. Their responses follow.
Stutzman took the Third District seat in 2010, by special election following the resignation of fellow Republican Mark Souder. He had previously served in both the Indiana House of Representatives and the Indiana State Senate. His federal mandate was reaffirmed by voters in the 2012 general election, and since then the Howe resident and career farmer has been recognized for his support of local agriculture and small businesses and his opposition to gun control. He serves on the Financial Services Committee, is the dean of Indiana’s Republican delegation in the House and is the founding chairman of the Republic Study Committee’s 2nd Amendment Initiative. He and wife Christy have two sons.
LOCAL CONCERNS: “The most pressing issue for both the Third District and for all Americans is our exploding debt. Federal spending is out of control. The national debt is now fast approaching $18 trillion. That comes to about $56,000 per citizen! This is completely unacceptable.
“If we do not get our fiscal house in order, that debt will be left to our children and grandchildren to pay. It will leave the economy volatile and have a negative impact on job growth. I support reforming our entitlement programs so that Social Security and Medicare remain solvent for those who currently need them, but allow future Americans the freedom to pursue other avenues so they do not become dependent on the federal government. I also support simplifying the tax code and a balanced budget amendment to cut wasteful spending and keep our economy strong.”
ISIS: “I have and continue to support an aggressive air campaign to defeat ISIS. This is one of the most advanced terror groups the world has ever seen and we must not find ways to coexist. They must be destroyed.
“I do not want to see American troops bogged down in another ground war in the Middle East, but I also want our commanders to have a plan that will succeed. If they believe special operation forces or a small contingent of allied troops would destroy ISIS, I would certainly be willing to listen. The American people and our brave troops have sacrificed greatly in the war on terror over the last decade. This is not just a fight for American security but also for the future of the Middle East. Our partners in the region such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Turkey need to help lead this fight.”
Challenger Kuhnle is a social services case manager who currently works for Indiana Professional Management Group. A Decatur native and Kendallville resident, he now resides in Kendallville with his wife and infant daughter.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in organization leadership and supervision, and has studied psychology at IPFW and human services at Ivy Tech. Throughout his campaign he has voiced interest in simplifying the tax code, preserving Social Security and Medicare and investing in infrastructure; his support for public education; and fostering an economic atmosphere conducive to job growth.
LOCAL CONCERNS: Infrastructure continues to be the most dire area of concern. The American Society of Civil Engineers has shown 13 areas of concern with current infrastructure that directly affect our communities. I intend to address the areas of need in a balanced way that does not continue to increase spending but does not resort to a “tax increase” policy.
ISIS: ISIS/ISIL, globally, continues to gain in intensity. Congress needs to immediately return to D.C. to debate and vote on an authorization of military action. Under the US Constitution, Congress is required to reauthorize every 2 years for continued military involvement, and I do not agree with using the 2001 and 2003 authorizations for current military involvement. All options need to be on the table, however, this cannot become a United States war. Coalition countries need to put their boots on the ground with the US taking a leadership role in countering and ultimately eliminating the ISIS/ISIL threat. There needs to be a plan in place that assists regional partners in establishing new leadership in these countries so that they ultimately become an inclusive government and not ones that continue to isolate minorities.
The country’s two main political parties have not been successful in changing the course of the country’s indebted future, Wise believes. He would like to provide the strong leadership he sees lacking. That leadership would direct itself toward “cutting the federal government down to size,” as he states on his website, scottwiseforcongress.com, and addressing instances of the U.S. Department of Education and other departments overstepping their bounds.
Originally from Columbia City, Wise resides there now with his wife and two stepchildren. He studied political science and economics at Ball State and graduated from Indiana University. He is employed by Warner Electric as a lean/continuous improvement manager.
LOCAL CONCERNS: “I believe the most pressing concern for Hoosiers in the Third District is that we are rapidly losing faith in our government. This government believes it owns us, and at every turn strips us of our rights and liberties in the name of helping. This government is corrupt and irresponsible. I have no idea how anyone can put any faith in the idea that this government is capable of implementing any grand scheme in a way that is efficient, effective and/or helpful. I would slash the size and scope of the federal government and return the money and responsibility back to the states and localities.”
ISIS: “I am not privy to the intelligence and do not have a lot of faith in our leaders, so it is difficult to take what they say at face value. The images and threats seem pretty clear, and if these people have the means and intentions of bringing the fight to us, then I believe we should pound them into submission whatever rock they hide under. To engage in a philosophy intent on winning means to get the politicians out of the way, and I do not know if that is possible under current circumstances. Military men win wars, politicians get in the way.”