Chronicle Tribune: Senate candidate targets wasteful spending

Madison-Grant and Taylor University alum Mark Hurt has thrown his hat into the Senate race where Republicans look to take a seat now held by Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly.

Hurt said he’s on the campaign trail, traveling throughout state trying to collect enough signatures to be on November’s ballot. Hurt enters a race that is currently dominated in the media by Luke Messer and Todd Rokita.

Congressmen Messer and Rokita are expected to duke it out in the coming months in what a Poltico article from August 2017 states as “the GOP’s best opportunity to seize a Senate seat from Democrats...” The primary candidate list on the Republican side is growing as Ballotpedia has eight candidates running within the party. In addition to the two frontrunners, Mike Braun, state representative, and Andrew Takami, director of Purdue Polytechnic Institute, are also in the GOP race.

Hurt however, said his unique expertise and experience make him viable candidate in a race crowded race as he has been practicing law in Indiana since 1998 and has served as a part-time prosecuting attorney for the state. Hurt received his master’s from Baylor University in foreign policy, specializing in international relations.

Key issues for Hurt are repealing the Affordable Health Care Act and reforming healthcare, smarter military spending, cutting the size of the federal government and term limits.

To limit corruption, Hurt said he favors limiting politicians to two terms as he feels often times politicians vote with their career in mind, not what’s best for their constituents.

In reducing the reach of the federal government oversight, Hurt admits it’s a large task if he makes it to Washington D.C.

“I’m not so naive to think...one person goes in and does it overnight,” he said. “I want to push that concept.”

Though Hurt said he wouldn’t necessarily express himself in the ways President Donald Trump does, he approves of many of the president’s policies. The recent tax bill is one of them. Like many Republicans, Hurt said he applauds reducing the corporate tax rate.

“I think these incentives support long term growth,” he said.

Initial signs show this may be true as companies like AT&T, Boeing, Comcast and Wells Fargo have announced they would either give bonuses to their employees or increase their minimum wage. However, if this continues remains to be seen as opponents of the recent tax bill argue more money will go to a company’s stockholders rather than its employees.

Tax cuts are just one part of the plan, though, according to Hurt. The attorney said smarter spending needs to go hand in hand with tax cuts.

“I’m really hopeful they move there next,” Hurt said of addressing unnecessary spending. “There’s a lot of waste, even in the defense department.”

Hurt points to the fact that the United States military forces are currently in 170 countries.

“We do not need to be in 170 countries,” he said. “We are not the world’s policeman.”

Though the United States is year in and year out the number spender in defense, Hurt said smarter spending and investing are needed to combat against cyber and nuclear threats posed by countries such as North Korea.

Repealing the Affordable Healthcare Act in its entirety is also on Hurt’s potential “to-do list.” The repeal of the mandate requiring people to have health insurance, which was included in the tax plan, has Hurt’s approval.

Though considered a major win by the Republican party, proponents to the ACA and the mandate say eliminating the requirement could have dire consequences for those with health insurance.

A Reuters wire service article from November reported the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan budget-scoring agency, estimated that repealing the mandate would increase the number of uninsured by 13 million but lower the deficit by $338 billion. The CBO also said eliminating the requirement would cause premiums to rise because healthier people would be less likely to purchase insurance. Those increases would then create a snowball effect and more people would be discouraged to purchase health insurance due to costs.

Hurt said he likes parts of the ACA, specifically the preexisting conditions and guaranteed renewability portions.

“If you get cancer you shouldn’t be dropped,” he said. “There are insurance reforms within Obamacare (that) I thought were good.”

Hurt’s answer to some of the issues regarding the healthcare climate include health savings accounts. The idea behind a health savings account is a person can contribute money towards their own account, such as a portion of each paycheck. This can then be used to cover premiums and health costs. If the money isn’t used, it rolls over and can gain interest.

Health savings accounts have their share of opponents, however, including the American Public Health Association, a D.C-based organization of health professionals, because, in their opinion, the accounts only benefit people who are healthy. Other opponents argue that the accounts do not help those who are low income because they do not make enough to benefit from them.

“It’s not a cure all,” Hurt said. “In healthcare there are so many pieces to the puzzle.”

Hurt said he’d like to give people more options such as more access to preventive care and less of an emphasis on specialists. He said allowing small businesses and other entities to pool resources together and share the costs of health insurance can help fight against insurance providers and their rising costs.

“I think you have to allow for more options like that,” he said. “Health savings accounts thrive in that environment.”

Hurt said he has until Feb. 8 to obtain 5,000 signatures to be on the ballot. If given the chance to represent his native state, the brother of the late, long time Madison-Grant sports announcer, Max Hurt, will do just that, said he’ll do just that.

“I feel like we need to bring more Hoosier values to the votes,” he said.