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Senate hopeful Mark Hurt stumps in Wabash

BY CHELSEA BOULRISSE - cboulrisse@wabashplaindealer.com

Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Mark Hurt was in Wabash to visit with colleagues who were attending the Indiana Policy Makers conference this past weekend.

Wabash was one of the many stops that Hurt has made over the past few weeks as he campaigns for the Republican nomination for Sen. Joe Donnelly’s Senate seat.

This will be Hurt’s first campaign for public office, but the Kokomo resident has been involved in politics for many years. Hurt was at one time a legislative assistant for Rep. Fred Grandy and Sen. Dan Coats and worked as a health care policy advisor to former Michigan Gov. John Engler.

“I want to be a servant leader,” Hurt explained. “Serving the people doesn’t mean I’m always popular because if I’m convicted and trying to help people, sometimes I’m telling them what they don’t want to hear, but I do what think is best for the nation.”

A pro-life candidate and a member of the Federalist Society, Hurt’s campaign website expresses what he considers more “traditional” views. Having been involved with several healthcare initiatives like the creation of healthcare savings accounts, this topic is one that Hurt finds important.

On this topic, Hurt hopes negotiations between drug companies and Medicare providers can develop to ensure fair prices. He added that allowing small businesses to form health insurance plans, even across state lines, so that small firms have better leverage when negotiating rates.

“Healthcare is so multifaceted and there’s many pieces to the puzzle,” Hurt said. “I’m a big believer of everybody should have access to healthcare and we have to bring the cost down. It’s a real squeeze on the middle class.”

Hurt faces an already crowded Republican primary field including well-known and well-funded candidates like Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita.

“I think social media is the key for us,” Hurt said. “I think being a substantive candidate and winning the battle of ideas is one thing, but we also have to get the message out and really that’s a less expensive way of doing it, because I won’t raise as much money as them.”

In this campaign, Hurt will also rely on the “debate of ideas” to help him stand out from the crowd.

“I want to debate the ideas and try to show sharp contrast in why I differ, but not in a way that is brash,” Hurt said. “I’m really pushing ‘convicted civility,’ standing strong with my conviction, but in this debate of ideas, doing it in a civil manner.”

While he respects those who have taken the role of senator before him, Hurt believes that not only Hoosiers, but the American people, are looking for “new blood” in legislation to keep things moving. He added that he is in a “unique” position because although he did at one point work in Washington D.C., he has spent the past 20 years away from the nation’s capital to pursue other ventures.

“It’s great to new blood and fresh ideas,” Hurt said. “I think people want someone coming in from the outside. I think people want to see a change and I think I can represent that change.”