Donnelly's support growing
Joe Donnelly is hoping to unseat Chris Chocola in a close race for the Second District seat.
Herald Journal Reporter
October 18. 2006
Indiana's Second District U.S. Congressional hopeful Joe Donnelly was running a few minutes late recently after campaigning at a local church in South Bend.
Apologizing, he removed his coat, took a seat and dove into the issues pertinent to this year's election.
Although he's been running hard in the weeks leading up to Nov. 7, he continues to exude passion in his quest to serve the people in his district.
"My commitment is to help each and every person in this district, and my job (if elected) is not to pursue partisan politics but to be a servant to the people," said Donnelly in quiet but firm tones.
He considers himself a moderate Democrat, and his positions on immigration, the war in Iraq and other issues seem to reflect that stance.
On illegal immigration Donnelly said he wants to secure the country's borders, favors fencing between Mexico and the U.S., and opposes amnesty for illegals already in the country.
"We have to have a secure border and tighten up on it. We also have to enforce our employment law - if jobs are not available (for illegal immigrants) than there's no lure to come here," Donnelly explained.
He said illegal immigration is a national security issue and wants to ensure the American people are safe.
On Iraq, Donnelly stressed the need to be successful in that effort.
"There is no alternative - we have to stabilize that country and have it become a peaceful place once again.
"Our troops get an A-plus for their performance, and now in their peacekeeping mission they have gone above and beyond the call of duty," Donnelly said.
What the troops haven't had, he explained, is a coherent policy of leadership.
"This Congress has sorely let down the American people by not being the tough partner of the administration, and asking tough questions and making sure they are standing up for the troops, the mission and getting things done right," said Donnelly.
And we have to improve the infrastructure in Iraq - when someone has running water, refrigeration and a job, they're not likely to be involved in an insurgency."
He said it needs to be made clear the U.S. has no desire for a permanent base, and the intention is to turn the country back over to the Iraqis once stabilized.
With an estimated 350,000 Iraqi troops ready and without setting a timetable, "We need to ensure they are moving into the field so that U.S. troops can begin to return home.
"I'm going to Congress to fight for our troops, not to be part of an Amen chorus - I'm going there to ask tough questions so we can get a solution and a successful conclusion to this," Donnelly said.
Donnelly also said he wants to be appointed to the Veteran's Committee to improve health care for veterans returning from Iraq, as well as for those from past wars.
Increasing access to health care for veterans in rural areas, or where distance to a facility is an obstacle, is high on Donnelly's list.
One idea is to develop reciprocal agreements with non-Veterans' Administration doctors and hospitals if accessibility to a VA facility is difficult.
The energy situation is another issue and a national security problem, Donnelly noted.
He would push to make Indiana an energy center by further developing ethanol and biodiesel fuels, as well as encouraging hydrogen, wind, solar and clean coal production.
"Energy independence can make us stronger, and (Indiana) can become an energy center for America," said Donnelly.