Chesterton Tribune



Three way race for 1st District seat in the US House: Mrvan ,Leyva and Strauss

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In the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, Democrat Frank J. Mrvan, Republican Mark J. Leyva, and Libertarian Michael Strauss will vie for the 1st District seat in the U.S. House currently held by Democrat Pete Visclosky. Visclosky is not running for re-election.

The Chesterton Tribune invited all three to respond to candidate questionnaires. The Tribune set word limits and reserved the right to edit for length.

(1) Age, place of residence, occupation.

Mrvan: 51; Highland; North Township Trustee.

Leyva: 60; Highland; self-employed carpenter.

Strauss: 38; Miller district of Gary; electrician and electronic technician by trade, with other certifications and degrees over the years.

(2) Why are you seeking election to this office? (75 words)

Mrvan: As North Township Trustee, I have spent 15 years helping people who are facing a financial crisis, struggling to obtain health or mental health services, or who need help finding a good-paying job. I am running for Congress in order to continue to be a public servant, and a trusted and dependable resource for all those in need.

Leyva: One reason is that I qualify under our U.S. Constitution. Second, to help create a strong economy and create good jobs. Third, to make sure that our children and grandchildren have the same or better opportunities as we have had.

Strauss: I am focused at helping to ensure as a society we can preserve liberty for future generations. I back our Constitution as the highest law of the land. I have a responsibility and commitment to my constituents as an elected representative to make sure the needs of society are met while staying within the confines of the Constitution.

(3) Describe your qualifications for office (100 words).

Mrvan: My Trustee’s Office has represented and advocated on behalf of thousands of people who came into my office struggling to secure access to quality healthcare, pay their rent, keep the lights and heat on, and take care of basic family necessities and transportation needs. I know firsthand the struggles of vulnerable individuals, including the elderly who have been in need of assistance, children who have been victims of sexual exploitation, and veterans who have been in need of mental health services. As a member of Congress, I will continue to work to bring people together and solve problems.

Leyva: Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution gives the qualification for this office. I am over 25, and I’m a U.S. citizen for over seven years.

Strauss: In 1998 I opened my first business. Since then I have had failures and I've had wins. I've had to adapt and I've had to learn new ways. I've had and I haven't. I had to start my first company with $50 in my pocket as a junior in high school. I grew that investment and sold that business 20 years later to start a new chapter in life. I did this all within a budget. All without external funding or taking a loan.

(4) Differentiate yourself from your opponents and indicate why in particular you believe yourself to be the better candidate (100 words).

Mrvan: I am running for Congress in order to bring our region together so that we may make transformational investments in our regional economy. We can no longer afford to think of our region as just one city, one town, or one community. We are all in this together. And as your member of Congress, I will build upon my career of public service and work with all individuals and areas to positively impact our future and attract transformational investments to our economy.

Leyva: I am a Constitutional Conservative and a former Local 1010 steelworker and Local 434 carpenter. Currently I am a self-employed carpenter. My opponent is a 15-year politician.

Strauss: I am a doer. Plain and simple. I do as I say. I demand transparency and accountability in government. I am an activist out on the streets taking that stand and putting those values on Front Street. I’ve put my reputation, livelihood, family, and life on the line over and over again for these values. I defend the Constitution, rights, and God-given liberties.

(5) What are the key issues in this race? (150 words)

Mrvan: My first issue as a member of Congress will be to address the immediate COVID-19 health crisis and the pressing needs of individuals and families. We must fully respond to this emergency and reinvest in our federal pandemic health response efforts to prevent the next disaster. Second, I believe the current health and economic crisis highlights the need of everyone to have access to affordable healthcare. We must take action to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and ensure that all individuals have access to mental health and preventative care. And third, we must focus on our economic recovery. This health crisis has shown that essential workers are the strength of our economy. As a member of Congress, I will prioritize legislation that makes investments in our public infrastructure and transportation systems, and also supports our essential workers, including our manufacturing and steel industries.

Leyva: Jobs. Border wall. Legal immigration. Tax cuts 2.0. Healthcare reform. Pro-guns. Pro-life. Pro-vets. Patent reform. Term limits.

Strauss: I believe the key issues are what government was put in place for. Those issues are defending the life, liberty, and property of everyone, reducing the federal budget and responsibly managing America's financial future, and getting government out of the lives and pockets of responsible hard-working Americans.

(6) What is your view of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act? (75 words).

Mrvan: I support the CARES Act and believe that federal legislation should also keep in mind the mental health toll that this crisis is inflicting upon so many individuals and families in our region. The crisis also highlights the increased challenges for those without health insurance, and I would advocate that any legislation aims to support additional resources to inform individuals and families about how they can obtain health insurance and receive care.

Leyva: The taxpayers and business community should be first priority for relief. When the Democrats attach political legislation because they can’t let a good crisis go to waste, taxpayers and businessmen suffer. The media needs to call them out.

Strauss: CoVid19 has been hard on all Americans. Like it or not we’ve all been affected by it. I believe it’s not the government’s job to be closing businesses and locking people down. It’s unconstitutional and wrong. I believe society can handle issues of this type on their own voluntarily. When government mandates things that affect people’s lives, however, they accept responsibility for the effects of those decisions. That’s when government must resort to socialist assistance.

(7) Assess the Trump Administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic (75 words).

Mrvan: As North Township Trustee, during the health crisis I have been resolutely focused on making sure that the immediate and pressing needs of individuals, workers, and families are addressed. Therefore, I do not have a quantifiable rating for the Administration’s response. However, I would say in response to talking to residents throughout the 1st Congressional District that more must be done to establish trust and responsiveness in our federal government and health policies.

Leyva: Great Job. They shut our country down and went into quarantine, while the Democrats wanted to keep things open. The Trump administration did great decisions while there was so much misinformation by the CDC and the WHO.

Strauss: The response was handled wrong and results show that countries around the world who took a more constitutional approach have faired better than the unconstitutional authoritarian approach taken by this administration.

(8) Do you support mask mandates? Why or why not? (50 words)

Mrvan: Yes. To move beyond this health crisis, we must all follow the guidance of medical health professionals and do our part to keep ourselves and our communities safe.

Leyva: No. There is no scientific evidence that masks work.

Strauss: I acquired CoVid in November 2019 and can honestly say I still don’t support a “mandate.” That’s not the government’s job. I’m not saying masks don’t help or you shouldn’t wear one. I wear one when “I believe” I may be at risk or may be a risk to others.

(9) What would your local priorities be with respect specifically to Indiana's 1st Congressional District? (75 words)

Mrvan: I will work every day to bring our region together so we can make transformational investments in the future of our region. These investments include action to improve our transportation infrastructure, including the South Shore Rail Line, the Gary Chicago/International Airport, our regional bus system, and also protect our environment and create more open, public access to our green spaces and the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Leyva: To pass good legislation that benefits all our local taxpayers and creates good jobs.

Strauss: My first priority is to determine what we can do to bring more accountability in government to local constituents. I want to bridge that gap and bring municipalities, law enforcement, and residents back to the table on a level where society can function properly. That cannot happen when residents believe corruption is rampant in government and government believes most residents are suspects and their natural thoughts are selfish and to do the wrong things.

(10) What do you view as the single greatest threat to this nation's security and what steps can Congress take to mitigate it? (75 words)

Mrvan: In order to ensure the strength of our national security, we must do more to ensure that American workers and our defense industrial base have the ability to manufacture and provide our military with the resources it needs to keep our nation safe. I also am greatly concerned about cybersecurity and countries that attempt to steal information about our military and business operations.

Leyva: The single greatest threat is liberal elected Democratic mayors and governors. Defund federal dollars to city and states that don’t uphold law and order.

Strauss: This single greatest threat to our nation today is government itself unaccountable to the people. Congress can pass legislation to bridge that gap and make our government fully and criminally liable for rights violations and corrupt actions. This needs to be rewritten to allow access to everyone, not just to those who rattle the cage the loudest.

(11) On what media outlets do you chiefly rely for your news? (25 words)

Mrvan: Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs magazine, the Economist, BBC, and our indispensable local Northwest Indiana media sources, including the Chesterton Tribune.

Leyva: Bongino Report and podcasts and Sean Hannity.

Strauss: I own It is a slowly growing local news outlet. Otherwise I don't chiefly rely on any news outlet. I read, watch, and listen to all news stories and take everything with a grain of salt.

(12) What does the term "fake news" mean to you? (50 words)

Mrvan: “Fake news” is an unfortunate development in our public discourse that allows individuals to simply discredit information without a factual basis. It is destructive to our democracy to attempt to discredit legitimate news sources that have long been a pillar of promoting free press and an informed public

Leyva: All mainstream news media.

Strauss: Fake news is any news story that doesn’t simply state the facts and allow the subscriber to formulate their own opinions if the news story is not put forward as an opinion piece. The composer of a “news” story should never put spin or opinion in a real news story.


Posted 9/22/2020




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