Left to right: Luke Messer, Brad Bookout, Rex Bell.
Left to right: Luke Messer, Brad Bookout, Rex Bell.
Today, we profile the three candidates for the 6th Congresssional District which includes Jefferson and Switzerland counties and runs north to Delaware County.

This information is from the online voter guide of the League of Women Voters of Muncie-Delaware County. Answers to questions are in the candidates' own words and have not been edited except for length.   Ellipses (...) mark where a candidate exceeded the 100-word limit. The League of Women Voters did not make spelling or grammatical corrections in the candidates' statements. Candidates provided their own pictures. 

The names of the candidates are placed in the order that they appear on the ballot.

 Publication of these statements is solely in the interest of public service and is in no way to be construed as an endorsement by the League of Women Voters. The League takes no responsibility for any of the views or facts stated by the candidates. 

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

The League never supports or opposes any political candidate or party.



Luke Messer - Republican



Why are you running for election and what are your priorities if you are elected?

I am running for Congress to stop the reckless spending, balance the budget, and repeal Obamacare. We need to focus on creating an environment for job growth and reducing government spending. To do this, we need to change the tax and spend culture in Washington. We must balance the budget and stop piling up debt on future generations. By keeping taxes low, shrinking the size and scope of government and reducing burdensome overregulation, we can create a better climate for the private sector to create jobs.

What qualifications (skills/background) will you bring to this office; why should voters vote for you rather than your opponent(s)?

I have a proven track record of leadership. When I served in the Indiana General Assembly, I earned a 100% voting record from Indiana Right to Life, an "A" rating from the NRA and was endorsed by the Indiana State Chamber. As a State Representative in 2005, I helped Governor Daniels craft the state's first balanced budget in eight years + a budget that, without a tax increase, turned a $600 million deficit into a $300 million surplus in a single year. That experience prepares me to lead on the topics that are critical to moving our country forward.

What should/can the federal government do about the growing economic disparity between the lower/middle classes and the well to do?

We need to do all we can to create an environment for all Americans to have economic prosperity. The best thing the federal government can do is create a stable environment for job creation. We must keep taxes low and get government out of the way.

I will stand up for free market solutions, affordable energy, limited government and individual responsibility. By shrinking the size and scope of government and reducing burdensome overregulation and job-killing bureaucratic red tape, we can create a better climate for the private sector, small businesses and large employers, to create jobs.

Explain why you do or do not believe the federal government should ensure that every American has health coverage.

While we have the best quality health care in the world, our health care system is broken and in need of repair. We must preserve healthcare freedoms while helping families obtain and maintain affordable health care coverage.

Obamacare is not the answer and must be repealed.

I will support policies that will (1) Require health insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions; (2) Make health insurance policies portable from job to job and state to state; (3) Provide tax credits to small businesses that provide health coverage for their employees; (4) Provide incentives for preventative care

Does the federal government have a role in preparing American children to compete in a highly technical and global economy? Explain your position.

I believe education policy decisions are best made at the state and local level empowering parents and teachers to make the best decisions for children in the classroom. No Child Left Behind is widely viewed as an example of the failure that comes when education policy decision making is driven by the federal bureaucracy.

I support an effort to block grant federal education dollars back to the state and local levels of government where they could be better spent.

The past several years in Congress have been a time of intense partisan gridlock. Will you work to overcome this? If so, how? If not, why?

At the start of each Congress, every Member takes an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" and to "bear true faith and allegiance to the same..." Nothing in that oath references party or politics. A congressman's first responsibility is to our country and our community. As a former state legislator, I have a record as someone who will stand strong on principle, but look for common ground where possible to move our community forward.





Brad Bookout - Democrat



Why are you running for election and what are your priorities if you are elected?

As a candidate for U.S. Congress in a District of the United States that has been hit harder by the downed economy than nearly anyplace else in the Country, I believe that it is critical that we send someone to Congress who will stay focused on issues that truly elevate us above all of the political bickering. I am committed to staying focused on issues that ensure Hoosiers have new and better opportunities that propel us to a level of prosperity, health and wellbeing that far exceeds what we have become accustomed to over the past several years. With that...

What qualifications (skills/background) will you bring to this office; why should voters vote for you rather than your opponent(s)?

Being a small business owner, economic development official, devoted husband and a father to three sons, I have learned that negotiation, patience, compromise, and working together are the secrets to succeeding in life and maintaining harmony and happiness in your everyday life. Using these traits, I have managed to construct over five hundred new homes and develop over 300 building lots in East Central Indiana. I have also assisted in attracting businesses to our community that have committed over 1500 new jobs and invested over $200 million in our community. I have secured over $45 million in grants and special...

What should/can the federal government do about the growing economic disparity between the lower/middle classes and the well to do?

I favor income and jobs solutions that are private sector oriented and financially self-sustaining. I have proposed what I call creatively cooperative, prosperous jobs and business growth solutions in my campaign book Super Plan for Jobs. I have been highly specific. These solutions are targeted at improving the financial wellbeing of the broad population base of our economy. Traditional tax policy has made use of various mathematically "progressive" formulations to balance the tax burden. I also favor that practice; however, I do not want to look to it as the main remedy to raising take home income.

Explain why you do or do not believe the federal government should ensure that every American has health coverage.

Among the inalienable rights listed in the Declaration of Independence are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Declaration goes on to state "...That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted...." Therefore, there should be no doubt that access to medical care, as it relates to all of these rights, is a fundamental responsibility of the American concept of government. Just how that responsibility can be best met is a thing of many options. The bottom line is that the job must be done and the federal government has a responsibility to ensure it is done.

Does the federal government have a role in preparing American children to compete in a highly technical and global economy? Explain your position.

I believe that ensuring to the fullest extent practical a high quality K-12 public education for every American child is a responsibility of all levels of our government. In addition, I believe that the administration of that education should be, as much as practical, left at the state and local level, even though the funding of it should be shared across all levels of government as needed. In my campaign book, I put forth a number of specific proposals on improving our educational system to better adapt it to modern needs and means, including those of the global economy.

The past several years in Congress have been a time of intense partisan gridlock. Will you work to overcome this? If so, how? If not, why?

I have proposed in my campaign book, "Brad Bookout's Super Plan for Jobs" about 500 pages of ways we can use a creative cooperative approach I call "constructivism" to get around the gridlock in Congress and make all levels of government more effective. I have covered the topic from the general to the specific. To the extent that both parties in Congress are failing to act out of concern that one will obtain a political advantage over the other for doing something good for the country, I have even proposed a "no credit caucus" to get the job done.





Rex Bell - Liberterian



Why are you running for election and what are your priorities if you are elected?

I am running for office because I am concerned about the growth, unsustainable spending and debt of the federal government. My priorities would be to return the federal government to its Constitutional limits, in turn reducing spending and eliminating the debt.

What qualifications (skills/background) will you bring to this office; why should voters vote for you rather than your opponent(s)?

I formed the contracting business I run today in 1974. I have survived in many various economic over the years through frugal management of limited resources. I'm confident I can transfer the same management skills to the federal government. I believe I am the best candidate for this position because of my business and management background. My Republican opponent is a lobbyist, and my Democratic opponent works for a government funded agency. I am the only candidate with the actual desire to reduce the size of government.

What should/can the federal government do about the growing economic disparity between the lower/middle classes and the well to do?

Instead of attempting to equalize results and redistribute wealth, the federal government could better serve all citizens of the United States by removing barriers and regulations that prevent small businesses and individuals from competing with and succeeding against large politically connected corporations.

Explain why you do or do not believe the federal government should ensure that every American has health coverage.

It is not economically feasible or sustainable for the federal government to require or furnish health insurance coverage. We would be better served if the federal government would stop the spending, and lift the regulations and mandates that contribute to the spiraling increase in health care costs.

Does the federal government have a role in preparing American children to compete in a highly technical and global economy? Explain your position.

No. The federal government should have no role in education except to insure that no one is forcibly denied the opportunity to seek it. Students and parents will be better served with more educational choices at a local level than with the "one size fits all" regulations that are handed down from Washington.

The past several years in Congress have been a time of intense partisan gridlock. Will you work to overcome this? If so, how? If not, why?

Most of the problems Congress faces are caused by the notion that government has to be involved in every aspect of our lives, and that when it creates a new plan or program, every person must participate and fund it. I believe compromise can consist of allowing different individuals to pursue different paths. If a federal program isn't constitutionally mandated, people should be able to opt out if they desire. We would also eliminate a lot of rancor if the government would simply stay out of the private and personal decisions made by and between consenting adults.