By Lisa Trigg
February 22, 2012
TERRE HAUTE — Their life experiences differ, but their messages sounded similar on Tuesday morning – positive change to help families and working Americans through tough economic times.
Joe Donnelly kicked off his campaign to represent Hoosier working families in the U.S. Senate during a visit Tuesday morning to Boo’s Crossroads Cafe in Terre Haute. He is a Democratic candidate for the seat now held by long-time Sen. Richard Lugar.
Donnelly was joined by four members of the community – Evette Langston, a student and single mother of four; retired plumber Mike Shaw; retired teacher Barbara Weber; and farmer David Hartmann.
Langston said she sees education issues as a big factor in her life. She has an elementary-age son who needs extra help at school, but because of the large class size, she fears he won’t get that help. Langston said she is also a student at Indiana State University, which is a family-friendly community, but she feels government often puts up stumbling blocks to people trying to make a better life for themselves and their families.
Hartmann said he is concerned about agriculture legislation in Congress.
“The last two years, our ag economy has done well,” Hartmann said, “but we are 30 days of dry weather away from being back in the tank.”
Shaw, a member of the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union, said that the right-to-work legislation recently passed the Indiana legislature will have a detrimental effect on industry and the quality of work in construction projects.
“It used to be that if a business did well, it would share the wealth with its employees,” Shaw said. “Now, there’s a tremendous threat to working people, especially people in the labor community. I was in the field for 32 years. I’m not trying to attack businesses or anything. I’m just trying to make a doggone living for my kids, and I hope my son is able to make a living for his kids.”
After listening to those four community members, Donnelly outlined his top priority – ensuring that every Hoosier who wants a job, has a job. He said he is focusing on leveling the playing field for American manufacturers, ensuring Main Street comes before Wall Street, going all-in on American energy production, and making sure huge corporations pay their fair share in taxes.
“I’m running for U.S. Senate to be a voice for Hoosier working families,” said Donnelly. “I’m kicking off my campaign by traveling the state, visiting the places where families make their tough decisions: kitchen tables. I think there is more wisdom here in Terre Haute than in Washington, so my campaign will continue to be about listening to the common-sense folks of this great state.”
Tuesday marked the second day of Donnelly’s statewide tour, with additional stops in Lafayette and Hammond. On Monday, he visited Jeffersonville, Evansville and Indianapolis. He will finish in South Bend, Kokomo, Muncie and Fort Wayne today.