U.S. House hopeful Walorski focuses on fiscal issues in RNC address
Posted: 08/29/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Tim Vandenack
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The former three-term Indiana state representative — vying for Indiana’s 2nd District seat in the U.S. House — sounded a fiscally austere message, focusing her remarks on efforts by state officials to trim spending and the importance of keeping government spending in check. She also spoke of the importance of working together in the political sphere, continuing with the more moderated tone that has marked the tea party-backed hopeful’s campaign this cycle.
She alluded to an apparent $1 billion deficit the state had to contend with during her years in the Indiana House and efforts by lawmakers to deal with the shortfall, as she does in one of her TV ads.
“When Indiana faced a massive budget shortfall, we didn’t play partisan games,” said Walorski, one of several GOP U.S. congressional candidates who spoke in Tampa on Tuesday. “We came together, we rolled up our sleeves and we turned a billion dollar deficit into a surplus. We understood that when you have a deficit, spending more money is not the solution.”
Brendan Mullen, her Democratic opponent, didn’t sit idly on the sidelines.
In a statement, his campaign manager, Andy Reynolds, decried what he said was Walorski’s refusal to debate.
“While career politician Jackie Walorski refuses to debate Brendan on issues that matter to Hoosiers, she apparently jumped at the chance to have her moment in the political spotlight,” Reynolds said. “Representative Jackie Walorski should come back and have the conversations voters deserve to hear and agree to a debate with Brendan.”
Mullen, a U.S. Army vet and owner of a small company, has said he’d debate on either of two October dates, as proposed by an Indiana University South Bend political scientist and the League of Women Voters in South Bend. A Walorski rep said earlier in the month that while Walorski is willing to debate, she won’t make a firm decision until all debate invites have been received.
Many critics view Walorski, with strong tea party support, as an ardent right-wing partisan, and some of her comments in years past seem to back up the charges. But in keeping with a seeming change in her demeanor, she spoke Tuesday of the importance of “working together” to resolve political problems.
Walorski’s remarks lasted about three minutes and came at around 3:30 p.m., not the coveted prime time slot reserved for the biggest GOP names. Several other congressional hopefuls from around the country, also alloted around three minutes, spoke before and after her.
Among other things, she also spoke out against increased government spending to deal with the down economy.
“In the face of record unemployment, (Indiana lawmakers) understood that more government spending will not create jobs,” Walorski said, again alluding to her years in the statehouse. “That’s why we passed common sense reforms that made it easier to do business — and create jobs — in our great state.”
More broadly, she spoke of the importance of cutting spending and reducing bureaucratic red tape to “unleash” small businesses, allowing them to create jobs.
Unlike some of the other congressional hopefuls who spoke Tuesday, Walorski made no mention of GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Likewise, though a social conservative, she didn’t touch on social issues. By and large, she kept her comments focused on Indiana and the lessons she thinks Washington lawmakers can draw from the state.
“Fellow Hoosiers, it’s your time to take back this country,” Walorski said.
The Democratic National Convention is set to start Sept. 3 in Charlotte, N.C., but Mullen won’t be there.
In attending the Republican convention in Tampa, “Walorski sought out the most partisan event in politics,” said Reynolds. “In contrast, Mullen will not be attending the Democratic National Convention.”
Libertarian Joe Ruiz of Mishawaka is also running for the 2nd District seat.