Answers from the candidates for Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District were compiled by the League of Women Voters and IUSB’s American Democracy Project. To learn about others races and for tools to help navigate the voting process, go to www.vote411.org
Job: Attorney, teacher, business owner
Education: Doctorate from Notre Dame
Campaign phone: 574-404-7395
Education: Bachelor’s degree from Taylor University
Campaign phone: 855-352-2543
What role should the federal government play in expanding access to healthcare for U.S. citizens? Do you support the ACA, Medicare for All, or some other approach?
Hackett: COVID-19 shows us that the healthcare of one of us impacts all of us. The federal government must play a leading role in expanding access to healthcare. Healthcare is a right and public good. I support the ACA, its removal of lifetime caps, and its removal of exclusions for pre-existing conditions. But the Republican led removal of the individual mandate in 2017 gutted the ACA’s funding, resulting in a huge increase in underinsured adults with employer plans, millions of uninsured, and medical debt as the leading cause of bankruptcy. I support universal healthcare coverage and movement toward a Medicare for All system ensuring coverage regardless of age, pre-existing condition, employment or economic status. A transition to Medicare for All can start with children and anyone 55 and older then all Americans being covered within four years. Vision and dental would be covered, and prescriptions negotiated. It is time that the U.S. join other developed nations and place people over profit.
Walorski: Obamacare has failed to ensure Hoosiers have access to quality, affordable health care. That’s why I led the charge to permanently repeal three costly Obamacare taxes, including the job-killing medical device tax, health insurance tax, and Cadillac tax. It’s clear Americans pay too much for health care and prescription drugs, and I’m committed to finding commonsense solutions to lower costs without limiting patient choice or stifling innovative research to find new cures. It is clear the solution the American people need is not Medicare for All, which would outlaw virtually all private health insurance coverage and force every American into a one-size-fits-all government plan. Instead we need a health care system that puts patients first and allows families to work with their own doctors to make their own medical decisions.
What, if anything, should Congress do to reduce the growing gap between upper-income versus middle-income and lower-income households?
Hackett: Income inequality, the collapse of the middle class, and the decoupling of increased productivity and growth in wages, has destabilized the United States. In Congress, I will pursue: (1) repeal of the misnamed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which explodes the deficit, harms all but the extremely wealthy, guts the ACA’s funding, and jeopardizes Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and replace it with fiscally sound tax laws; (2) legislation supporting organized labor and unions, which protect workers’ ability to organize and negotiate for fair pay and good benefits, and ensure safe workplaces, prevailing wage standards, protection from wage theft and secure retirements. Workers must be at the table, if the middle class is ever to recover in America; (3) an increase to the federal minimum wage to $15.00/hr.; and (4) the funding of this Nation’s infrastructure renewal, informed by responsible climate policy, and full employment policies.
Walorski: When I talk to workers on a factory floor, farmers getting ready for the next growing season, young parents raising their kids, students planning for their future careers – I’m driven to do what I can to make sure they have a chance to achieve the American Dream. As the top Republican on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support, I’ve worked to advance innovative and evidence-based solutions to help people build a bridge out of poverty and help working families thrive. By working in a bipartisan manner, we’ve strengthened vital initiatives like the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting – or MIECHV – program, and we passed a law to help states transform their foster care systems to put families first.
Does climate change pose a fundamental threat to our nation and world? What, if anything, should Congress do to reduce carbon pollution and prepare for the consequences of global warming?
Hackett: Climate change is a catastrophic crisis. It is imperative we enact bold policies and stop the systematic removal of scientists from all relevant agencies. We must rejoin the Paris Climate Accord to combat the effects of climate change including the frequency and severity of natural disasters. I support the principles of the Green New Deal, decarbonizing our economy, a federal jobs guarantee that involves organized labor and entrepreneurs ensuring we leave no one behind. We must invest in clean energy and create a modern infrastructure.
Congressional oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency is essential to ensure that the agency’s actions are guided by science, evidence, and the health and well-being of Americans, not corporate greed. The Trump Administration has rescinded protections to keep our air and water clean. Congress must exercise its oversight authority with particular attention given to the lead and manufacturing contaminants prevalent within this district.
Walorski: We must be good stewards of both our environment and our economy. Indiana’s 2nd District has one of the highest shares of manufacturing jobs in the nation, and agriculture plays a vital role in our region’s economy. Hoosier farmers, manufacturers, and landowners understand the importance of conserving our natural resources, protecting the environment, and growing our economy. Hoosiers already pay enough for gas and electricity, which is why I oppose new energy taxes that will raise costs for job creators and working families alike. I am also a strong supporter of programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act, which helps protect one of our nation’s most vital natural resources.
Why does the United States account for such a disproportionately high number of COVID-19 infections and deaths? What specific steps should Congress take to limit COVID-19 deaths and to help those most affected by the pandemic?
Hackett: Over 200,000 American lives have been lost because the Trump Administration and the incumbent Jackie Walorski have abandoned science and medicine. Trump disbanded the White House’s pandemic response unit that was established by President Obama. Congress failed to act quickly to fund the domestic supply of personal protective equipment. Trump and Jackie Walorski have used China as a scapegoat rather than taking responsibility. To prevent more deaths from this public health catastrophe, we must restore the independence of the CDC and look to the advice of scientists and medical personnel. Congress must pass an additional COVID-19 relief bill that includes stimulus checks for individuals, state and local governments, and small businesses who need them. It must also include robust oversight to prevent conflicts of interest with federal bailout money. Long term economic relief, such as debt forgiveness, will also be necessary, as well as genuine healthcare reform.
Walorski: The coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented challenge for our country, but I believe we will defeat this invisible enemy and emerge stronger than ever before. I’ve worked to make sure health care workers on the front lines of this fight have the personal protective equipment they need. The House recently passed my bipartisan bill to break our dependence on China for critical medical supplies by boosting domestic manufacturing of PPE. I supported passage of the CARES Act to invest in expanded testing and the development of treatments and vaccines and to provide immediate relief to workers, families, and businesses – including through the Paycheck Protection Program, which has been a vital lifeline to help small businesses and nonprofits keep the lights on and save jobs. I continue to work closely with state and local leaders, my colleagues in Congress, and the administration to provide the resources necessary to restore our way of life, rebuild our economy, and renew the American Dream.
What, if anything, can Congress do to increase trust in government and promote citizen participation in the political process? What would you do as a congresswoman to support these efforts?
Hackett: We must eliminate the corrupting role of money in politics. Citizens United has undermined the integrity of Congress and the public’s trust in government. I support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and restrict the corrupting influence of money in politics.
We must assure that citizens are able to exercise their right to vote. This includes removing discriminatory voter ID requirements that disproportionately impact voters of color and those in impoverished communities. I support expanding early voting hours, vote by mail, the number of polling locations, making Election Day a national holiday, and increasing federal funding to assist states with securing their voting systems.
The Senate must not confirm any nominee until after the election. Jackie Walorski and the Senate Republicans’ hypocrisy in pushing to confirm a new justice while voting is underway undermines representative democracy and the integrity of the Supreme Court and Congress.
Walorski: My job is to fight for Hoosiers and make sure their voices are heard in Washington. Civic engagement is a cornerstone of our democracy, and it’s vital that citizens hold their elected officials accountable and that elected officials put the needs of their communities first. That’s why I’ve always had an open-door policy to meet with 2nd District Hoosiers, listen to their concerns, understand the challenges they face, and work together to find commonsense solutions. I will always work to make sure Hoosier workers and families have a chance to thrive, our local manufacturers, small businesses, and farmers have the opportunity to succeed, our veterans have the care and support they earned, and our military servicemembers have the resources they need to keep our nation safe.