Republican Congressional candidate Jackie Walorski leaned on her record of pragmatism in a recent interview with Newsmax.TV, repeatedly emphasizing her “independent voice” and affirming her “passion to make a difference.”
Walorski, who is one of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s "Young Guns," pointed to her history in the Indiana State House as an indication of how she would represent her district in Washington. “I have been an independent voice for the last six years in Indiana. I was in the Indiana house, I was elected in 2004 and I served until 2010. I went in there to make a difference and get out,” explained Walorski. “I certainly did not go there to pick up Colts tickets.”
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Her answers bemoaned the cozy power relationships and knee-jerk partisanship that seem to perennially afflict the nation’s capital. If she is sent to Washington, Walorski vowed to place the interest of her district above the interest of any political party, again citing her history in the State House: “If folks ever had a chance to look at my voting record, they would see that I was an independent voice. I took on some of the government’s largest initiatives, some of my own party many times [ . . . ] I think that’s what Washington needs, is bringing people to the table, and my job is to represent them and not to represent a political party or anybody else.”
Eyeing her relatively long tenure as an elected official, her Democratic opponent, Iraq war veteran and army officer Brendan Mullen, has attacked Walorski as a “career politician.” Asked how she plans to take the fight to Mullen, Walorski lifted a page from the successful insurgent candidacy of Indiana State Treasurer and Republican Senate Nominee Richard Mourdock: “I live in the district and he doesn’t, and residency is a huge issue in the state of Indiana.”
Mourdock, a conservative challenger who recently defeated senior Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar in a stunning primary upset, benefitted from the revelation that Lugar did not actually own a home in Indiana. The senior Republican’s lack of permanent in-state residency abetted Mourdock’s charge that Lugar could not understand the concerns of Indiana voters.
Mourdock also benefitted from a perception among Indiana voters that Lugar was not adequately conservative, a perception amplified by former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Mourdock and by the state treasurer’s strong support among national conservative groups like the Club for Growth.
Walorski sees a similar narrative taking shape in her race with Mullen: “This guy owns three houses in D.C. […] You do these kinds of things for political gain, where you convince people that you’re with them and that you’re going to support them, and you don’t even live here. People see through it.”
Asked about the role of women in shaping a governing agenda, Walorski returned to her mantra of problem-solving over point-scoring. “Women on both sides of the aisle are motivated by very different things than men when they run for office. Women are running because of the passion to make a difference […] I don’t think we’re so attracted to the allure that some people are attracted to in these places of government,” explained Walorski. “I think, by and large, women have a much more independent balance in the way they’re looking at things. The hope for the country is not in political parties. These political parties have let people down.”
As far as Walorski’s policy agenda is concerned, past is prologue. If she emerges victorious in November, she promised an arrival in Washington with the same “pro-growth and pro-business agenda” she championed in the state House: “[We adopted] policies that didn’t penalize companies. We ratcheted back regulations in Indiana as far back as we could […] We balanced our budget."
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