Scott Tibbs
Published in the Indiana Daily Student, March 3, 1998

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Hostettler for 'the people'

The government that governs least governs best." If that is your philosophy about the role of government in our daily lives, then 8th District Rep. John Hostettler represents your views well in Washington.

He has consistently stood for smaller, more efficient government, much to the delight of his constituents. Hostettler, unlike many in Washington, recognizes the importance of the 10th Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people."

Hostettler is an unwavering supporter of the right to life of unborn children. His likely Democratic opponent, Gail Riecken, does not feel the same way. In fact, Riecken supports continued legalization of partial-birth abortion, according to The Petersberg Press. This procedure is so horrific, even House liberals such as David Bonior, D-Mich., and Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., oppose it and voted to ban it. Riecken is far more extreme than Bonior and Gephardt in hoping to keep a procedure legal that was performed 1,500 times in New Jersey alone in one year, according to Congressional testimony.

Hostettler's unwavering support of Second-Amendment rights is another reason he was sent back to Washington by 8th District voters. While President Clinton and the rest of Washington make attempts to deny Americans their right to bear arms, Hostettler defends our Constitutional rights. Can the Democrats debate Hostettler on his opposition to gun control? Apparently not, as one of the Democrats' favorite attacks against him is that he supports private ownership of nuclear weapons. We have seen Democrats at all levels use this attack, from local officials such as Democratic City Council member Pam Service in a letter to the editor in The Herald-Times to his opponents in the congressional race. In fact, Hostettler does NOT support private ownership of nuclear weapons or tanks; he merely opposes government restrictions on most firearms. Hostettler realizes guns are not the problem; criminals are. But despite the fact Hostettler has repeatedly explained his stance on gun control, the Democrats continue to show blatant disregard for the truth.

Hostettler isn't afraid to buck congressional Republicans if he disagrees with them, and he's willing to accept a loss of campaign support to do so. Hostettler voted against Newt Gingrich's compromise re-opening of the federal government early in 1996, a move that forced him to reschedule a fundraiser when Gingrich refused to attend. Then, Hostettler voted "present" on the question of whether Gingrich should be speaker. Hostettler explained in an interview with the Hoosier Review that the Republicans need to find a stronger leader. On education, Hostettler opposes vouchers for private schools, noting the risk of government interference in private or religious schools is too great an attempt to implement a voucher program. Hostettler's belief that "with federal money comes federal strings" puts him at odds with many Republicans on this issue and also with conservative lobbying groups such as the Christian Coalition.

Hostettler's refusal to take special-interest Political Action Committee money sets him apart from his opponents. While Hostettler has taken money from general-interest PACs such as the Friends of Newt and indirectly from the Republican National Committee, he refuses money from single issue PACs, a clear distinction from his past opponents.

And while his opponents might attack Hostettler's views as "extreme," their actions are far more extreme. When the Indiana Forest Alliance showed up at Hostettler's Bloomington office to express support for Rep. Cynthia McKinney's, D-Ga., anti-logging bill, one of them started a chainsaw clearly designed for outdoor use in the office doorway. I was an intern at the time, and the fumes were not pleasant. The next day, this event was reported in The Herald-Times.

Hostettler is a fine representative for the people of southern Indiana. While the intensity of his opponents' attacks will only increase as we get closer to November, it is important to note Hostettler represents the people, not the government.