Young, Boustany & Heck Point to Economic Growth and National Security as Key Issues in Fall Campaign

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WASHINGTON, DC – With the general election just over four months away, The Ripon Society held a breakfast discussion yesterday morning with three Members of the U.S. House of Representatives who are running for the U.S. Senate.

The Members were U.S. Rep. Joe Heck (NV-3), U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany (LA-3), and U.S. Rep. Todd Young (IN-9), who kicked off the discussion by talking about his impressive victory in the Indiana primary on May 3rd, the challenges facing the people of his home state, and some of the issues that will be important in the upcoming election.

“We ended up winning 72,000 more votes than our presumptive Republican nominee for President,” Young stated.  “We also won among Cruz voters and Kasich voters.  The reason I bring that up is in part to preempt any questions about what I read into the presidential race, because it’s difficult for us to tease out of that data really much useful information other than to continue doing what we have been doing — continue to raise resources, continue to offer a solutions-oriented agenda, and also acknowledge the frustration of folks on account of this dynamic 21st century service-based economy, which has disproportionately and adversely impacted so many Hoosiers.

“Indiana is the most manufacturing-intensive state in the country. It’s understandable that people are disaffected, as they have been outsourced and their jobs have been automated and so forth.  But nonetheless, I think our job as legislators and even as candidates is to go out there and continue to make the argument for things like free trade, tax reform, and regulatory reform, rather than embrace superficial solutions.  And I’ll be doing that on the stump.”

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Young was elected to the House in 2010.  A graduate of the Naval Academy, he spent a decade serving in the military before returning to Indiana to work as a management consultant for public and private organizations in his home state.

He concluded his remarks by talking about the tenor of his upcoming race, and some of the necessary distinctions he plans to draw with his opponent this fall.

“I will be running a positive campaign,” the Indiana lawmaker stated.  “But of course, I have to draw some distinctions.  I’m a U.S. Marine.  He’s done different things in his life, most of them involving elected office for a long period of time. He voted for Obamacare.  He voted for the stimulus package.  He voted for Cap and Trade.  I hope this doesn’t sound negative – these are just the facts.  And they’re unpopular facts among most Hoosiers.

“With that said, my aim is to ensure that we are sufficiently resourced and focused between now and the end of the summer, so that the Democrats will perceive Indiana to be out of reach – irrespective of what happens on other spots on the ballot.”

Boustany opened his remarks by talking not about his upcoming race for the Senate, but about his background – both as a boy growing up in Louisiana and as a medical professional later in life – and some of the qualities he hopes to bring to the job.

“I am the oldest of 10 kids,” he stated, “so I had to learn responsibility. My father would look at me and say, ‘You’re responsible for getting us all in one place at one time.’  In that context, we always had a lot of people at the dinner table, friends coming in and out.  If you didn’t show up on time, you often missed a meal.  So I learned you have to settle your differences and compromise.  Otherwise, you may not get a meal if you showed up late.

“Then as a heart surgeon, I learned three important things.  One is trust. If you can’t earn trust as a heart surgeon, you are going to be very unsuccessful.  Second, I learned to make decisions under life and death circumstances multiple times a day.  So I am not intimidated very easy, and I am used to dealing with pressure.  And third, I learned to be decisive — make decisions based on the information that you have.

“What I didn’t learn was patience.  And I am very impatient with this place even now in my 12th year of serving.  People are angry and frustrated across Louisiana and across the country.  My message is: a) it’s worse than you think; and, b) it’s time to get serious about real solutions to problems.  Don’t give me a 15-point plan about how you are going to change the world.  Give me a problem and let me fashion a solution and take it from concept to legislation to law.   That’s how I’ve tried to conduct myself in Congress, and that’s what I intend to do as a U.S. Senator.”

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Boustany was elected to the House in 2004 after spending more than 30 years as a cardiovascular surgeon.  Recognized as one of Washington’s foremost experts on health care, he said that economic growth and national security will be key issues in the upcoming campaign, along with defending individual liberty and promoting innovation.

“I am worried that this may be the first time in the history of this country that if somebody has an idea and they try to launch a small business out of their garage, they’re going to fail,” he stated.  “And if you fail, then you may not come back.  Who’s going to give you credit? In the past, this country always valued entrepreneurship and risk taking.  If you failed, you could come back and be successful. Abraham Lincoln is a prime example of that. But the fact is, I am worried.

“I think we are at an inflection point. The future will depend on this election. We have to sustain a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.  Louisiana will be the last race, likely, in the country.  Depending on the calculus, it could be the determining factor of whether there is a 51 seat majority or not. It could come down to that, and I am ready for that fight.”

Heck echoed his colleague’s remarks.

“I don’t think anybody in this room would doubt how important it is to have a Republican majority in 2017,” he stated.  “I talk about it primarily from the perspective of Supreme Court nominations. The next President will have the ability to nominate two, three, maybe four Supreme Court Justices, which will allow for a generational impact that will far surpass the four or eight years that that occupant might have in the White House. So think about who you want conducting those confirmation hearings, regardless of who is making that nomination.”

“As I’ve travelled around the state of Nevada, it’s pretty clear that after eight years of Barack Obama and 30 years of Harry Reid, both Americans and Nevadans are ready for a change. Because they do talk about the frustration, the anger, the disappointment that they’ve experienced – not just in the last eight years of this administration, but really in the last 30 years of Harry Reid holding this seat.”

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Heck was elected to the House in 2010 after spending more than 35 years in public service as a physician, small business owner, Army Reservist, and community volunteer.  In his remarks, he talked about visiting with people across his home state, and how four main areas seem to top their concerns.  The areas are national security, jobs and economic growth, health care, and education.

“I have lived and worked in every one of those four areas,” Heck observed.  “So when somebody wants to talk about national security, I can go back to the fact that I am in my 26th year in the Army Reserve.  I was honored to be promoted to brigadier general in 2014 and honored to command some of the finest men and women that this country has to offer.  I was deployed three times – so I can talk about national security more so than probably anyone else currently serving.

“If they want to talk about jobs and the economy, besides being a physician and working in a hospital emergency department, I had my own business. I had a homeland security consulting firm, so I know what it takes to run a business. My business during the 2008 recession, like most consulting firms, was the first to see hits.  But I learned how to keep my doors open and make sure people got their paychecks, even though I went without the paycheck so we didn’t have to lay anybody off. So I know what it’s like to run a business in today’s economy.

“On health care, I’ve had 25 years working in inner-city hospital emergency departments. If you want to know what works and doesn’t work in the health care system, come spend some time in an inner-city hospital emergency department.  And lastly, on education, my undergraduate degree is actually in education.”

Noting that he requested a seat on the Education and Workforce Committee when he was elected to Congress in 2010, the Nevada Republican concluded by declaring: “Education policy is important.”

To view the remarks of Representatives Young, Boustany and Heck at yesterday’s Ripon Society breakfast discussion, please click on the link below:

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.