“People should be treated as an asset to be realized, not a liability to be written off.”

Young Pushes ‘Fair Shot Agenda’ to Help Those on the Lowest Rungs of the Economic Ladder

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) appeared before a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society yesterday morning, delivering remarks about an effort he recently launched in Indiana to help those on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder, and his belief that, as John F. Kennedy once said, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

“It pretty well captures the essence of free-market Republicanism,” Young stated, referring to the old JFK adage. “We know that a robust economy is good for everyone. I spend roughly half my time when I’m back home in Indiana visiting areas where there are high rates of unemployment, low rates of job creation, low rates of business creation, high rates of public assistance, and high free and reduced lunch levels. And I’ve learned quite a lot.

“The Economic Innovation Group refers to these places as ‘distressed zip codes’. But I’m an optimist at heart, and I see a lot of potential there. I see human capital. People should be treated as an asset to be realized, not a liability to be written off. As jobs are increasingly concentrated in metropolitan, suburban, and even exurban areas, a lot of our rural communities have fallen on hard times. There are also pockets of distress within our larger cities. I see opportunity in these places, especially as I spend more time walking the neighborhoods, convening roundtable sessions, and visiting with some of our community leaders.”

To that end, Young said that he recently introduced the Fair Shot Agenda, a new statewide initiative that aims to ensure every Hoosier has a fair shot at success. According to Young, the Fair Shot Agenda focuses on improving the lives of the people he represents in four key areas, including:

  • Opportunity — How do we improve opportunities for upward mobility, a quality education, and a good-paying job?
  • Safety — How do we ensure the safety of Indiana communities and protect our national security interests?
  • Health — How do we create strong and healthy families?
  • Better Government — How do we develop smarter and more efficient government programs that better serve Hoosiers?

“Who doesn’t want these things?” Young asked matter-of-factly. “But that’s the whole point. They are open-ended. Over a period of time, we’re going to build out this agenda in a ground-up way, working with Hoosiers and other individuals who see opportunity to allow more people to succeed financially, to contribute to their communities, and to understand the dignities of realizing their full human potential. This won’t be a single bill. That’s not my intention. Rather, it will be a series of bills informed by a mindset.

“It’s the same mindset of Calvin Coolidge, who thought that government should be humble. It’s also the same mindset that Dwight Eisenhower took to government in his sort of pragmatic and undogmatic way when he created a new form of Republicanism, which he called, ‘Dynamic Republicanism.’ Along those same lines, when Ronald Reagan was first campaigning for Governor of California, he came up with an alternative to the Great Society which had just been unveiled at the time. He called it the ‘Creative Society.’ It was highly pragmatic. He talked a lot about the importance of mentors and of harnessing human capital in our local communities; not of tearing things down, but of building on the existing successes that he saw right there in the state of California. This is the same spirit with which we have launched the Fair Shot Agenda.”

Young was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016 after serving three terms in the U.S. House. In both chambers, he has earned a reputation as a rising star of the GOP – a policy workhorse who is focused not on partisan politics, but on legislative accomplishments and getting something done.

He spoke about one of these accomplishments in his remarks yesterday morning, and how it is impacting the people he represents.

“I think tax reform has been our biggest win this Congress,” the Indiana lawmaker declared. “It has focused on ‘rising the tide,’ if you will, and it’s worked. I travel around the state of Indiana, and there are scores of companies and individuals benefiting from this. Companies are investing in capital improvements and offering pay increases to entry-level employees. I just visited with Family Express Corporation, a network of gas stations in the northern part of our state. And Family Express has increased their entry level wage at their gas stations by $2, and they will be building out more gas stations. That’s more opportunity on the lower rungs of the economic ladder for these individuals. That’s meaningful.”

“But I think if there was one individual who has made a really big impact on me when I think of this tax legislation, it would be Chelsee Hatfield. Chelsee was my guest at this year’s State of the Union Address. She’s a young mother of three and a bank teller in Tipton, a rural committee not too far north of Indianapolis. Chelsee works at First Farmers Bank and Trust Company, and is still working on her associate’s degree. She received – along with every employee at First Farmers Bank and Trust — a raise, a bonus, and an increase in professional development opportunities.

“What is Chelsee going to do with her money? I asked her when she came out here. Chelsee beamed that she is going to finish her associate’s degree, and she is already saving for her kids’ education. Chelsee Hatfield personifies why we did tax reform. She represents so many other Americans of modest means who are benefiting and will benefit from this moving forward. So we are seeing what you and I have known for a long period of time – namely, if you want to increase the minimum wage, don’t mandate it from Washington, DC. If you want to create benefits, investment and opportunity, then empower people to keep more of their own money so they can deploy more of their own capital. And get Washington out of the way.”

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.