- By Mateo Menchaca | Feb 13th, 2017 -
After a life in the private sector. one Kokomo lawyer is ready to represent Hoosiers on the United States Senate floor.
Mark Hurt is the first Republican to declare his candidacy for current Sen. Joe Donnelly's chair. representing Indiana. He thinks a primary is likely but that people want an anti-establishment candidate.
'We have some very good congressmen who represent the state well, but I would say I think it's time for a non-established candidate," said Hurt, "one who has private sector experience in business and has worked with the people of Indiana."
Hurt has been running law offices in Kokomo and Noblesville for nearly two decades and says he is ready for public service.
"Governor Daniels showed, and I think President Trump will show that if we bring people from the private sector that have not been in government all their life, it brings a breath of innovation. People from the private sector have an ability to solve problems, be more practical and realistic while holding conservative values."
Hurt acknowledges the difficulties of going from the private sector to public service. A big obstacle will be funding his campaign.
'The political action committees don't like to give money to a non-incumbent. So, you have to deal with the establishment mentality. If you're a sitting congressman. you're building a war chest. That gives you an advantage when it comes to funding. It'll be a big challenge and you have to be realistic about it."
Hurts plan is to travel through the state and meet individuals to create a true grassroots, populist campaign.
One person that will be helping Hurts campaign is William Jeffries. Jeffries is the CEO of the international consulting firm Executive Strategies International and an author of many fiction and nonfiction books.
"Hurt is kind of doing what Mitch Daniels did years ago," said Jeffries. 'When Daniels ran for governor. he hopped on a motorcycle and just ran the state for a year and met people." Jeffries laughed and said, "Mark's not doing that on a motorcycle, I think he's doing it on a Jeep, but he's going around the state trying to get notoriety and recognition."
Jeffries will be advising Hurt with issues regarding the military. He served in the U.S Army for 24 years as a unit commander, military advisor, joint staff officer and military scholar.
Hurt and Jeffries both agree that the Iran nuclear deal was a disaster. Hurt received a degree in international relations from Baylor University. Jeffries said that Hurt has a keen sense for foreign affairs.
Hurt said that as a senator he would work to set the deal aside or renegotiate it.
"A lot of trade agreements need to be renegotiated on a bilateral approach," said Hurt.'We need fairness; if other nations take advantage of us, there needs to be consequences.
Hurt worked with former Sen. Dan Coats, a strong proponent against the Iran nuclear deal, and helped Coats develop the medical savings account, which helps people pay medical and long-term care expenses.
Hurt advised former Michigan governor John Engler and former U.S. Rep. Fred Grandy on health-related issues. Hurt wants mental health reform in Indiana, increasing access to proper treatments for people who are schizophrenic or bipolar.
Hurt believes the federal government is too big, and that Hoosiers want less regulation.
"I'm part of the populace movement," said Hurt. "President Trump received 62 percent of Indiana's vote. When I travel Indiana, I'm hearing that people want the government out of their life. Not too much regulation.they want lower taxes, to live and make a living."
It will be a tough race. but candidates who spent the majority of their lives in the private sector seem to be having success in public service.