Indiana Election 2011 | Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations

Eighth District Republicans Debate, Agree On Most Issues

Six of the eight Republican candidates running for Indiana's 8th district congressional seat debated last night, but did little to differentiate themselves.

Six of the eight Republican candidates running for Indiana’s eighth district congressional seat debated on WNIN-TV last night, but did little to differentiate themselves from one another on the issues.

All six opposed the recent healthcare overhaul, disagreed with federal bank bailouts, and said lower taxes will improve the economy. But after airing their grievances with the current administration and the Democrat-led Congress, the candidates also said if elected, they would bring a civil and collaborative tone to Washington. The one exception was Bud Bernitt.

“Every year it’s the same old thing,” Bernitt said. “We want to talk civility. We’re going to go to Washington and talk and get things done. Truth of the matter is, we don’t. If I’m elected I’m not going to play patty-cake with these people in Washington because they’re out of touch with us. They don’t listen to normal, everyday Americans.”

The six candidates in the debate were Bernitt, Larry Buchson, Kristi Risk, John Lee Smith, Dan Stockton, and Steve Westell.

Most are making their first bids for public office, and all said their job in Washington would be to listen to and work in the interest of the American people, as opposed to corporate or political interests.

The candidates identified with the Tea Party to varying degrees, but all lauded the movement for getting citizens involved. Whether that energy translates into action at the polls on Tuesday remains to be seen, as mid-term elections typically have low turnout. SOQ