Senator-elect Joe Donnelly stopped by a Fishers diner this Wednesday to enjoy some sunny-side up eggs and chat about his plans for his next six years in Washington.
After shaking hands with a dozen or so patrons, Donnelly sat down with a group of reporters to discuss the end of his campaign and what he hopes to accomplish as he moves from the house to the Senate.
“We want to solve problems, we want to make sure that our kids can have a good future, we want to create jobs, and that isn’t done with partisan rhetoric, it’s done with building our state,” he said.
Donnelly, who touts himself as a moderate Democrat in the style of former Senator Evan Bayh, says working with Republicans in the house and senate will be one of his highest priorities.
“It remained burned in my mind when I was travelling with Senator Bayh, and he said ‘Joe, Richard Lugar and I worked closer together than any other two senators from any state in the country,’” he said. “And that has to happen with the big challenges we face.”
Donnelly’s critics, including his Republican challenger Richard Mourdock, have accused the congressman of supporting only Democratic causes such as the Affordable Care Act and the auto and banking industry bailout.
Donnelly also says he wants to make sure Indiana is poised to grow its workforce.
“I believe it was Ronald Reagan who said the best social program is a job for mom and dad,” he said. “That’s what I’m going to work on nonstop through education, tax credits, making sure the Chinese play fair, paying down our debt.”
Donnelly made a point to mention logistics as a potential source of new jobs. When asked about securing federal funding to complete Interstate 69 from Indy to Evansville, the future senator offered only vague support for the road.
“I think we can figure out a way to make I-69 work that both the folks in Bloomington are happy, and the folks in the rest of Indianapolis, to southwest Indiana, to all of our Hoosiers are happy,” he said.
Donnelly will fill the seat currently held by six term Republican senator Richard Lugar.