The candidates for one of Indiana’s hottest congressional battles squared off at Franklin College for their first debate Tuesday night.
U.S. Rep. Todd Young, a Republican, is running for a second term against Democratic challenger Shelli Yoder in a newly redrawn 9th District that now is seen as far from a safe bet for the GOP.
Young focused on fiscal issues and his opposition to the Affordable Care Act. The country, he said, needs to end big government spending.
“We need to be able to invest in the future,” Young said. “We need a growing economy.”
Yoder was on the attack and accused Young of spending more time in Washington than in Indiana.
She stressed the need for bipartisanship and painted Young as part of the problem in Washington. She noted that Young voted with the Republican Party 95percent of the time.
“Congress has a 9 percent approval rating; that’s worse than the Communist Party,” Yoder said. “Change needs to happen in Washington.”
Young embraced his voting record, calling it evidence of his strong, conservative and Hoosier values.
“I do my homework, I do my due diligence, then I vote my conscience,” Young said. “This is a conservative district. It’s no surprise that I would be voting with the Republican Party.”
Yoder stressed her support for the Affordable Care Act and offered examples of Hoosiers she has met who have been able to get insurance and medical care thanks to the law.
Young vowed to keep fighting to repeal “Obamacare,” saying that the tax it imposes on medical-device makers is particularly devastating to job growth in Indiana.
Yoder blasted Young for supporting the budget of GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, which included deep cuts for a host of government programs, including Social Security, college aid and veterans assistance.
Young said he was proud to support the plan and took credit for helping the Wisconsin congressman craft the budget proposal. Washington must rein in spending, he said.
The race, Young said, boils down to trust.
“If you trust me, I promise you I will bring Hoosier values to Washington,” Young said. “I’ll always fight for you, and I will always place you over Washington.”
Yoder said she would work to end the partisan stalemate in Washington.