U.S. Senator Mike Braun spoke at the Dubois Strong Annual Meeting last Thursday.
Speaking without notes, Braun touched on several issues he’s found while starting his freshman term as a senator. The largest being the need for more bipartisanship to get things done.
Braun explained the two parties will have to come together around two national issues; the budget and health care. “It’s congenial in the U.S. Senate on any subject you talk about until you talk about a real policy issue,” Braun admitted.
While explaining that he ran because as an armchair politician, he saw little movement to fix issues he pointed out he plans to hopefully bring his business perspective and background to bear to fix those issues.
“Any institution that sports an $850 billion deficit on a $4.3 trillion budget, and is the biggest business in the world,” he said, “don’t look to them to do things like infrastructure. Look to yourself. Be like a state like Indiana, that operates within its means, does some big projects like putting long-term road financing out there for ten years. Do what Dubois County does and the towns here do. Things work and that’s because you are not relying on a broken system.”
He told the crowd that in light of these issues at a federal level, Hoosiers need to quit looking to the federal government “to solve your problems.”
He outlined actions taken as an Indiana Representative to create the regional development authorities and put infrastructure development into the hands of regional partnerships. This allowed the creation of the Mid-States Corridor Regional Development Authority.
Along with that, he pointed to the public and private partnerships that have come together to get the Mid-States Corridor onto the Federal Highway Commission’s potential project list.
“Where is the light? Where are we going to cross the aisle,” Braun stated. “I think it will happen around budget and healthcare. We’re going to have to endure a couple of mini-calamities. To be honest with you, that’s what it will likely take to get serious about fixing the budget.”
The future of the country lies with the people, he said, not government.
“I have great optimism that the salvation of this country is going to be through all of you here, the cities, towns and states,” he explained.
During the meeting, Dubois Strong CEO Ed Cole spoke about the organization’s activities for the past year.
He touched on a Facebook advertising campaign being used to drive traffic to local employers’ jobs posting. He explained the campaign had more than 10 million views leading to more than 43,000 clicks to the local sites. This has led to about 1,000 people viewing job listings with the 15 manufacturing companies partnered with Dubois Strong.
Dubois Strong is also working with a group to utilize a Regional Opportunities planning grant to determine a countywide need that can be addressed. “What we’re trying to do is look at something that would positively affect the quality of place and workforce attraction ability of the entire county,” Cole said. “We’re talking to lots of people about that, and doing some focus groups to determine what is best for us.”
Other Dubois Strong activities from the past year Cole mentioned included a wage and benefit survey in 15 southern Indiana counties; the addition of the Mobël property as one of the county’s site-certified properties; the agricultural summit in November; a workforce attention and attraction forum held in September; and the annual tour of manufacturing companies for local eighth-graders.