Friday, May 01, 2009

Douglas Throws Hat In The Ring For Senate District 30 Seat

Indianapolis financial planner Chris Douglas is throwing his hat in the ring for the Senate District 30 caucus election to fill the vacancy created by Sen. Teresa Lubbers' appointment as the Commissioner on Education. Douglas joins a list of at least three other viable contenders, including City-County Councilor Ryan Vaughn, former State Rep. John Ruckelshaus and former City-County Councilor Scott Schneider. Douglas has sent the following letter to precinct committeepersons in District 30:

I am writing to you to inform you of my candidacy in District 30 for the Indiana State Senate. Aware that there are several who have expressed interest in this seat who are better known than I am, I understand fully that it is both my necessity and obligation to persuade you that our State, and our District have a need in the legislature for a different mix of experience, skill, and expertise. Especially in the current economic crisis afflicting our state, but always, that need is for more leaders who have accumulated the business experience and financial expertise essential to the understanding of public policy.

As we have seen in the news, the financial impact of legislative policy can reverberate for decades or longer. In providing competitive public infrastructure and workforce, will our financing of it constitute prudent investment or undue burden on future Hoosiers? Will our taxes promote or inhibit the growth of business and employment? As a result of policies adopted today, will future generations be more or less able to compete with international sources of goods and labor? How will future generations of patients, employees, business owners, tax payers, and doctors
grade the financial incentives implicit in all healthcare regulation? Will improved wages and living conditions come at the expense of business ownership or as the result of economic growth? What is the nature of public regulation and what are the limits of regulation under which the innovative forces of capitalism can continue to thrive?

As the lead deliberative body legislating economic policy for the State, the Indiana Senate requires not merely politically talented and intelligent aspirants, of which our Party has great examples, but also the understanding, perspective, and persuasive capacity that can only come from personal experience in business. Our Party can be a more successful proponent of economic development, our legislature more judicious in its economic decision making, and our government a more effective partner and
counter-party to business --- so that taxpayer interests are always advanced, not subordinated, in the pursuit of economic growth. For that, we need more policy makers with personal experience in business.

As I have listened to recent national debates, for instance, it has become clear to me that too few policy makers understand the role a bank plays in local business, why a failing bank can drag down a legion of other businesses, disrupt payrolls, destroy the ability of local businesses to ship product or obtain inventory of their own. Too few understand the impact of health care costs on business competitiveness, for instance that under the present system, a small business employer who dares to hire a person with health problems may subsequently not be able to afford getting health insurance for his or her entire company. Too few have any understanding of the complexity of payroll taxes employers navigate. Too few understand that small business owners in difficult or start-up years may make less than their minimum wage employees, never have any guarantee that they will make more, and a large percentage never do. Too few understand what tax incentives for business are prudent up to a degree, but wasteful beyond, and why. Too often important financial decisions are the product of political posturing and short-term focus, rather than responsibility for long term fiscal and economic impact.

The Republican Party has a strong tradition of promoting economic growth and common prosperity by protecting the ability of business to root, grow, adapt, innovate and compete. Former Governor Robert Orr, Lt. Governor John Mutz, Former Mayor and now Senator Richard Lugar, former City County Council President Beurt Ser Vass, former heads of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation Micky Maurer and Nate Feltman, Senator Luke Kenley, Senator Jim Merritt, and Governor Mitch Daniels are all Republicans who have at various times brought to their superb representation of the Party and the State the insight and understanding derived from a background in business. All knew directly the responsibility of paying corporate taxes, navigating regulation, increasing revenue, investing for a company’s future, meeting payroll, and producing sustainable profit. All were subsequently well-armed in government service to understand how government could increase a community’s economic growth or how government could stifle it, what policies would enhance economic competition or what policies would disrupt it at public expense. All were well armed to work with other Hoosiers, both in the Republican Party and across party lines to develop sound economic policy, building alliances with friends and persuading foes into common purpose.

A prosperous future for our district and our state depends on the participation of people who can balance the pressures of business and labor lobbyists with insight and judgment derived from broad and relevant personal experience as independent business owners and employers. In the coming days, I will ask to meet with you and to state my case, and ask you to think independently about what experience and perspective you would wish to see the Republican Party contribute to the Senate. I welcome an opportunity to talk with you.



P.S.: I am a life-long Republican and Hoosier.
My grandparents and parents all have made lives and developed business in various locations of this District, as have I. After college, I was decorated for my military service, attended a leading business school, then returned to Indiana where I promoted the exports to Asia of one Indiana manufacturer, managed another one, and then opened my own successful firm (see, in which I continue to meet an active full-time payroll.

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