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Fighting for the 4th

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BECK: Tobi Beck speaks with supporters at Johnny V’s Sports Pub during her campaign stop in Frankfort on Thursday. Beck is a candidate for U.S. Congress in Indiana’s 4th District.
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BAIRD: Jim Baird poses for a photo during his campaign stop in Frankfort back in September. After representing District 44 in the Indiana House of Representatives, Baird is now a candidate for U.S. Congress in Indiana’s 4th District.

By Katharine Calabro and Aaron Kennedy - news@ftimes.com

As Indiana voters prepare to fill out their ballots on Election Day, both Democratic candidate Tobi Beck and Republican Jim Baird continue to visit local communities as they close in on the finish of their race to represent Indiana’s 4th Congressional District.

Both Beck and Baird are fighting for the seat soon to be vacated by Congressman Todd Rokita, who has been representing Indiana’s 4th Congressional District since 2011.

Beck visited Frankfort on Thursday, meeting with members of the community and local business owners. She laid out her top priorities for the upcoming term, one being an overall workable healthcare system. She said most of her ideas come from meeting with locals and hearing from them.

For Beck, there are lots of usable methods for creating a sustainable healthcare system like Tricare.

“Tricare is a public-private partnership that the military uses for active duty soldiers, and it costs about 4 to 5 percent and flat-out covers you,” she said. “It’s about creating a system that people want to use.”

Tricare is not a government healthcare system so, if people are interested, it’s something they would have to go about doing on their own. Currently, Beck reported 9 million people do use this form of healthcare successfully.

Baird, the state representative for District 44 since 2010, says the current healthcare system is not working.

“We need to make efforts to improve the availability of healthcare for Americans,” Baird said. “This will require significant reform, and it’s important we continue to look for cost-effective ways for quality healthcare to be available. This requires a conservative practical approach to fixing healthcare.

“I believe, first and foremost, we need a representative who will protect taxpayer dollars and look for ways to reduce burdensome regulations,” he added. “We also need to secure our border and support our military. In Indiana, we have delivered results like balancing our budget and creating a positive business climate. I want to take those commonsense, practical solutions from my time in the Indiana General Assembly and apply that to Washington.”

Beck also stressed the importance of a balanced budget, saying that one of Congress’s biggest duties is passing a solid, balanced budget, which she believes is an important fiscal responsibility.

“There are all sorts of things that we need to take into consideration,” Beck said. “There is a priority to take care of our veterans, and we are looking at things that will help grow an economy.”

Overall, Beck said there are underlying issues that have helped create the problems the state is dealing with. Some ways she plans to address the issues of the economy will be by looking at a fair taxing plan and focus on people working together.

On the topic of immigration, Beck says the system and process is broken and has been for a long time. However, she believes there is still a way to help control the situation.

“I want people to know that we can have strong border security, and we can secure our borders without doing some of the brutal tactics we are doing,” Beck said. “We need a pathway to citizenship.”

She says immigrants have fulfilled many labor positions in places that are necessary, which is why she wants to help revamp immigration policies and procedures.

“There’s a strong need for labor controlled by immigrants, so we at the federal level have the responsibility to build a system that works for everyone,” Beck said. “We have a strong need for reform.”

Baird agrees that there is a need for immigration reform.

“First, we need to secure our borders for national safety,” he said. “Our immigration system is flawed and illegal aliens put a tremendous burden on healthcare and other services. It also negatively impacts our ability to bring in individuals looking to fill positions that local labor force is unable to fill. We can begin to fix this by addressing the diversity lottery and finding a solution for DREAMers.”

Both Baird and Beck are veterans who say they believe in a strong military backed by responsible spending.

“When our military is strong, it serves as a deterrent toward foreign enemies,” Baird said. “Responsible spending and fiscal responsibility is important and must be part of our decision-making process, but our friends and family members serving our country must be well-equipped.”

Beck said that when she signed up to be an officer in the military 25 years ago, she made a pact to protect the constitution of the United States. To her, being a U.S. Representative would be an extension of that oath. She said she believes in strong military spending, but in an efficient and impactful way.

Beck said there are two buckets of spending in the military. One is for equipment, and the other is for soldiers. She said not nearly enough money is used to take care of soldiers.

“They are living on food stamps, and they are living in poverty,” Beck said. “That tells me we aren’t spending money in the right way.”

Beck says that, if elected, there are some ways in which she can help educators and students in Indiana.

“We want to make sure public dollars go to public schools, but there are things we can do to help teachers,” she said. “We don’t at the federal level control their salaries, but we can help control their taxes.”

Baird says that helping to empower parents and local educators to make decisions for the future of our children is paramount.

“Each state, school district and student have unique needs, and the best way to address those needs is by limiting the control of federal government and giving it back to the states,” he said.

As Beck continues her last few days of campaigning, she said it’s about letting people know their voices are heard regardless of their political beliefs.

“I’m here to listen because solutions come from all of us,” Beck said. “We are tired of the partisan politics, and we are interested in working together. That’s why I’m not afraid to stand up in any forum and take questions. I hope voters recognize that particular backbone and recognize that I’m the kind of fighter that will fight for them.”