Indiana 6th District GOP candidates talk foreign policy

0
60

The seven men seeking the Republican nomination for Indiana’s 6th Congressional District shared their stances on Ukraine and Israel policy.

Candidates seeking the office are Jamison Carrier of Greenwood, Darin Childress of Richmond, Bill Frazier of Muncie, John Jacob of Indianapolis, Jeff Raatz of Richmond, Jefferson Shreve of Indianapolis, and Mike Speedy of Indianapolis. The winner of this race will face Columbus Democrat Cinde Wirth in the fall election.

The 6th District includes Hancock County, as well as all or part of Bartholomew, Fayette, Johnson, Henry, Randolph, Rush, Shelby, Union and Wayne counties, and the southern townships in Marion County.

The three AIM Media Indiana newspapers covering the district — the Daily Reporter, the Daily Journal in Franklin and The Republic in Columbus — collaborated to interview the seven candidates for a multi-part series covering key issues of interest this election season.

Here are their thoughts on foreign policy, with some editing for length, clarity, grammar and repetition.

Q: What should the U.S. policy be on Israel and Gaza?

Carrier: Oct. 7 is a terrible day, not just in Israeli history, it’s a terrible day in world history. What [Hamas] did to innocent men, women and children, is unspeakable. It’s also unacceptable. I love the nation of Israel. I have been there. … It’s a beautiful place. It’s a beautiful, diverse culture. There are some who would say the Jewish people are bigots and not accepting of others. Nothing can be further from the truth. When you go to Israel, you will see Muslims and Jews working side by side. The Temple Mount is the perfect picture of what you can see in that culture. In one small area, you have just about every culture in the world represented. … But more important than that, Israel is a democracy. Israel is a partner in a part of the world where we don’t have a lot of partnerships, and Israel … stands up for women and a part of the world where women are oppressed. There are so many ways that we align with Israel; that partnership is quite possibly our most important partnership in the world. So, we have to make sure Israel is safe. They’ve got one of the top five militaries in the world. They’re very independent, very strong, but we have to share that strength with them and help them to be a sign of strength in that region in the world.

Childress: That’s our biggest ally. Plus, any Christian knows if you go by the (Bible), Israel is God’s country. … We should do everything we can to help. They don’t need money. They do need some arms, like for the Iron Dome. … They don’t need boots on the ground… I’m from the military … and I’ve been over there, I agree with Israel fighting the war. We should get what they need to help them continue fighting, because if you look at it, if they’re doing it that means we don’t have to send people over to do it. … You can ask any military person who’s still in the military or a person who has been in — the only way you’re going to get rid of this terrorism is you’re going to have to wipe them out. And then keep an eye on them … because they’re never going to stop. … If you slow them down, they’re going to figure out a way to speed back up.

Frazier: I’m a strong supporter of defending our allies, which Israel is one. I support sending military aid and weapons to Israel, but not U.S. troops. Israel has enough good soldiers. If we give them the supplies that they need, I think we can leave them alone. This business of trying to get in and intervene and force a new election in Israel is way out of line in my book. Supply the message, the material and expertise they need, and they’ll be fine.

Jacob: That’s a complicated question. That one’s very near and dear to me because … my father is Palestinian. My father was born and raised in Israel in the West Bank. I love the Jewish people. I love my Palestinian people. I’m aggrieved by what’s going on there. I would love to see a solution, but that gets into a whole other issue … This has been going on for decades. America’s policy should be supportive of a peaceful solution, but a peaceful solution doesn’t mean one that prevents Israel from defending themselves. They have a right to defend themselves. … The president and administration are putting a lot of pressure on Israel to de-escalate and get out of Gaza. The problem is Hamas is a terrorist organization, and because they’re a terrorist organization, [their] solution is ultimately taking back all of the land of Israel and exterminating the Jewish people. … You cannot make peace with a group that says, ‘I don’t want peace with you. I want you and all your people dead.’ Israel is agreeable to try to come up with a peaceful solution but the peaceful solution to allow a terrorist organization to continue to flourish and exist in Israel is not a solution. American foreign policy should be … at least supportive of Israel being able to protect themselves as a sovereign nation.

Raatz: We’ve been allies with Israel for many years, and I think we need to continue in that relationship … People in the United States don’t have any idea what it’s like to live in that area. And so with continual missiles coming over with the Iron Dome over Israel, so that conflict has been going on as long as I’ve been breathing … Our ties with Israel need to remain. I would make that comment simply because what I’ve seen is … we as the United States, don’t understand it. If you and I had to go live there for six months and understand that it’s not like the United States, it’s different, and it’s continual tension between those in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Shreve: The events of Oct. 7 made it clear Hamas must be eliminated. Israel suffered atrocities at the hands of that terror group. Israel has a right to defend itself and to eliminate Hamas. The U.S. should continue to support Israel, politically and through continued aid — while also empowering Israel to fight the war on its terms. The U.S. must work to help secure an agreement that returns all Israeli and American hostages. We must stand with Israel against a nuclear-weaponized Iran and work to prevent regional aggression. Iran is funding and directing terrorist proxy groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis. These are the same groups that have taken American hostages and committed violence against Americans and our military in Jordan and in international waters. Israel is arguably our most important ally and the only longstanding democracy in the Middle East.

Speedy: (We) need to support Israel. I’ve been to Israel four times, three times as a guest of the Knesset [which is Israel’s legislature] on official business. They are the only democratically elected country in that region. They’re tolerant of other religions there. They have a prosperous economy when they’re not at war. They’re a very great country. The Jewish people need to have their own country, given the history of antisemitism. If Israel is not able to control Hamas, Hezbollah and others there — they’re kind of the firewall against radical jihad Islam. … If it doesn’t get stopped there, then who knows how far it will go.

Q: Would you support continuing aid to Ukraine? Why or why not?

Carrier: Ukraine is another terrible situation in the world. … I would not say that America is to blame, but I would say that a stronger America is a safer world. Over the past few years, we have not portrayed the strength that we need to portray, and I think when President Trump is back in office, we will be a much stronger nation and you will see fewer things like that happening. We’re in a situation that’s terrible and never should have happened. … We can’t allow (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to continue to progress and continue to take over more and more territory — because that’s what he wants to do. We need to get our allies in Europe to do their part. We have helped them out tremendously, so we need to encourage Europe to do their part. But our No. 1 priority right now needs to be securing our own border, and I would not consider anything outside of securing our border first.

Childress: This war is dragging out longer than it should have. We need to start finding the objective. What do we get for Ukraine? … Only reason that Russia attacked Ukraine… Biden pushed NATO again, and that’s why he invaded the country. Trump didn’t push NATO and that’s why they didn’t get invaded. You have to think of it in the military way, not the civilian side. He wants countries around his main country as cushions, that way you have to fight through those countries to get to the motherland. … For Ukraine, we need to give them what they need to finish this war. Or if (they) think this war is going to continue on and on … we need to come to a peaceful settlement — stop the war. … We need to quit throwing money at it and equipment at it.

Frazier: I’m a strong supporter of defending these people. We’ve got to stop the Russian aggression. We saw what happened during World War II and the deal with how Germany expanded. Russia is trying to reestablish the dominance they had in Eastern Europe as we speak, and this is just the beginning.

Jacob: I would not … We need to get out of Ukraine. … I’m sad about what’s going on in Ukraine, but America cannot continue to be the world’s policeman and to police the world. Even if we could afford it, I don’t think it’s right of us to sit there and go in and act as if we’re the police officer for the rest of the world. On the other hand, we’ve put billions and billions of dollars into this war, and again done nothing ultimately but put us further and further into debt. That’s not fair to the American people. … I think it’s reprehensible on the part of the president and White House administration to funnel money to protect the borders of a foreign country while allowing our borders to be flung wide open and do virtually nothing to protect our borders.

Raatz: That’s one I struggled to understand because of everything that’s gone on over there. … We can look at the immediate and answer that question or you can look off six months or a year down the road and answer that question. As I recall, Vice President Pence made a comment if we’re not there, are we headed into World War III if Russia continues to go across Ukraine? And then we put boots on the ground and put our military in danger. And so that’s one of the questions I don’t have an answer for… I don’t think anybody really has the answer. … I don’t think sending money over there is the answer. Maybe arsenal … Be very strategic about what we do. And obviously, it creates tension with Russia. There are a lot of issues that are involved in this thing, including the deficit spending in the United States.

Shreve: First and foremost, we must ensure U.S. troops are not sent to Ukraine. Russia’s attack on Ukraine is unacceptable and the United States should support Ukraine’s efforts to fend off and push back the Russian invasion, but we can’t go it alone — we need all of Europe to step up and address this matter on the continent. Second, the American taxpayers can’t be asked to offer a blank check. We should demand that there is a short-term and long-term plan before committing vital U.S. resources when we have priorities, we must address like our own border security.

Speedy: No because I think our interests have been met there. We had an interest in a weakened Russian military, but our interests are not aligned with the Ukrainian government. We don’t benefit from having the borders they want to have. We benefit from a weakened Russian military, and we’ve achieved that objective. Now it’s [their] job to step up and to do what’s necessary to help Ukraine.

ABOUT THE JOB

U.S. House of Representatives District 6

Term: Two years

Duties: Representatives draft and vote on legislation brought before the U.S. House of Representatives, including matters of the interior, national security and the nation’s budget.

Salary: $174,000 (2023)

THE CARRIER FILE

Name: Jamison E. Carrier

Age: 48

Residence: Greenwood (White River Township)

Family: Wife Kathy; three children

Occupation: Founder/owner, Relentless Dealer Services

Education: Bethel Academy, Richmond; Indiana Wesleyan University

Military service: None

Political experience: First-time candidate

Memberships: National Rifle Association, Grace Assembly of God Church, National Little Britches Rodeo Association

THE CHILDRESS FILE

Name: Darin Childress

Age: 62

Residence: Richmond

Family: three children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren

Occupation: semi-retired, mechanic for the military, trainer for IED convoy training

Education background: Richmond High School, some college

Military service: 14 years in Marines, 20+ years in Army

Political experience: First time candidate

Memberships: Veteran organizations – AMVETS, VFW, Legion Marine Core league, Moose, Eagle and Mason

THE FRAZIER FILE

Name: Bill Frazier

Age: 87

Residence: Muncie

Family: Six children, seven grandchildren

Occupation: Farmer

Education background: BA, Ball State University

Military service: Paratrooper, Sgt. U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division

Political experience: Indiana State Senate, District 14, from 1968 to 1970; Republican nominee for Muncie-area U.S. congressional district in 1976, 1978, 1980 and 1992

Memberships: Chicago Board of Trade, Mid-America Commodity Exchange, Sons of the American Revolution, Disabled American Veterans, Grace Baptist Church of Muncie

THE JACOB FILE

Name: John Jacob

Age: 57

Residence: Indianapolis

Family: Wife Angie; six children; five grandchildren

Occupation: Owner, Vicci Design

Education background: Roncalli High School, Indianapolis; IUPUI

Military service: None

Political experience: Unsuccessfully ran in Indiana Senate District 36 caucus, 2023; Indiana State Representative for District 93, 2020-2022

Memberships: None provided

THE RAATZ FILE

Name: Jeff Raatz

Age: 60

Residence: Richmond

Family: Wife Lisa; two daughters

Occupation: business owner, Raatz LLC

Education background: Baker College of Muskegon, BA in Business; Indiana University, MA in Management

Military service: U.S Army

Political experience: State Senator for District 27, 2014-present

Memberships: IU East Advisory Board and IU East Business Graduate Program, member; Cross Power Ministries Board, member; Every Child Can Read Board, member

THE SHREVE FILE

Name: Jefferson Shreve

Age: 57

Residence: Perry Township, Indianapolis

Family: Wife Mary, no children

Occupation: Founder of Storage Express

Education background: BA Indiana University, MA University of London, MBA Purdue University

Military service: None

Political experience: Indianapolis City-County Councilor, 2013-2019; GOP nominee for Indianapolis mayor in 2023; IMPD Police Staffing Commission; commissioner on the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission

Memberships: National Chairman and board member of the Indiana University Alumni Association, 2011-2016; Executive Dean’s board member of IU’s College of Arts and Sciences; IUPUI Chancellor’s Board; board and executive committee member of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce

THE SPEEDY FILE

Name: Mike Speedy

Age: 55

Residence: Indianapolis

Family: Wife Amy; three children

Occupation: Real estate developer, American Village Properties LLC

Education background: Loy Norrix High School, Kalamazoo, Michigan; Indiana University School of Business; IU School of Law

Military service: None

Political experience: Indianapolis City-County Council, 2003-2010; Indiana House of Representatives, 2010-present

Memberships: Licensed attorney – Indiana Supreme Court, Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1354, National Rifle Association, Bargersville Rotary Club, Aspire Johnson County, Johnson County Bourbon Club, Aeronautical Center of Technology, Living Word Bible Church

AIM Media Indiana reporters Noah Crenshaw of the Daily Journal, Lacey Watt of the (Greenfield) Daily Reporter and Andy East of The (Columbus) Republic contributed to this report.