WBOI Conversations With Jim Banks & Courtney Tritch
Ahead of Tuesday’s midterm election, WBOI’s Zach Bernard held conversations with both candidates running for the 3rd District House seat: incumbent Republican Rep. Jim Banks, and Democratic challenger Courtney Tritch.
Zach spoke with each candidate about their respective platform, and touched on some of the most pressing issues facing Northeast Indiana. The full discussions can be heard below, followed by quotes providing a snapshot on each candidate’s policy positions.
Each conversation began with a question about election security: following a bombshell 40-page report from the Justice Department that highlighted Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 Presidential Election, what will they do in their position to preserve election security and rebuild trust in the process?
Incumbent Republican Rep. Jim Banks
Democratic Candidate Courtney Tritch
The conversations were structured so both candidates were asked similar questions and given as much time as necessary to answer and explain their positions.
On Election Security & Trust
Banks: "From equipping the Ukrainians with lethal weapons as they battle back against Russian aggression, this administration and Congress has a strong record of holding Russia accountable and I expect will continue to do so."
Tritch: "What we're seeing is the Russians and some other actors are infiltrating our social media systems and they're trying to divide us as a country. And I think we need to be aware that that's happening."
On Opioid Abuse Prevention
Banks: "When it comes to this issue, our state and local leaders have the best solutions. The federal government can support those endeavors by leveraging more resources. That's what we've done and that's what I'll continue to do in the next Congress."
Tritch: "This is a mental health crisis that we're dealing with, really, and we need to make sure that we are providing healthcare to the people of this district, as well."
Banks: "There's almost broad bipartisan agreement in Congress that Obamacare has been a colossal failure, so we can start by repealing Obamacare."
Tritch: "I'm an advocate for the public option, which allows people to buy into Medicare, anyone who wants to at any age. And it will help bring down costs, because overhead costs are much lower than private insurance."
On Border Security
Banks: "This caravan of 7,000 Hondurans and Guatamalans marching toward our border is as much of a threat to our border security as maybe we've ever seen, and it underscores why we need better security at the border."
Tritch: "I think we can have a safe, secure border, but I think we can also have humane policies in how we're dealing with immigration in this country."
On Veteran Protections
Banks: "There's a lot more that we need to do: to hold the VA more accountable to provide better healthcare to our veterans. We've started down the right track on that issue, but there's more that we can do to empower our leaders at the VA."
Tritch: "We need to do more to fund the VA, to make sure we're providing holistic care not just around them, but around their families, to make sure we are not privatizing the VA."
On Bringing Citizens Together
Banks: "All of the committee work that I do, on the armed services committee, the veterans committee is done in bipartisan fashion. That's how I've approached the job and I look forward to doing the same in my second term."
Tritch: "One of the reasons I think this election is so important is because there are so many first-time candidates like myself who are standing up and saying, 'No, enough, I don't want this as our political system and we can do something about it if we vote.'"
The Top Issue Affecting Hoosier Voters?
Banks: "I don't know if there's any one... but I would start with healthcare. That's an important issue that affects each and every family in this district that I vow to continue to fight for."
Tritch: "I think the number one issue is healthcare. The last Congress has done nothing to solve this, in fact all they've done is dismantle it."
Final Message To Voters
Banks: "This election is about resistance versus results. We have a choice between continuing the results or putting Nancy Pelosi in charge of the Congress again which would result in a step backwards, and I hope that's not the case."
Tritch: "If you want affordable, accessible healthcare, if you want your public schools fully funded instead of siphoning money off to for-profit schools, if you want someone who will listen and take both sides into account... let's make some changes together."