Senate hopefuls Stutzman, Young and Holcomb speak in Rochester

(A Presidential Debate schedule and transcripts are here. – Admin.)

GOP’s hopefuls converge here


Marlin Stutzman


Todd Young


Eric Holcomb


By Wesley Dehne, Staff Writer

It was a banner year for the annual Lincoln Day Dinner, as larger than normal numbers of local, state and federal Republican party politicians and officials gathered at the Fulton County Museum on Wednesday. Keynote speakers included Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, R-2nd Dist., Congressman Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd Dist., Congressman Todd Young, R-9th Dist. and former Indiana State Republican Chairman Eric Holcomb.

Also, other state-level officeholders or their representatives spoke.

With the Nov. 3 general election approaching, local Republican candidates encouraged attendees to get out and vote.

The event was in honor of former Fulton County Republican chairwoman Kathryn Hartzler, who died July 13.

City council

Fulton County Republican Chairman Chad Hartzler introduced city council candidate Brian Fitzwater, a newcomer to Rochester politics and chosen by District 3 Republican primary election voters over Rochester’s longest-seated councilman Burns Becht. He also introduced council candidate Mason Heyde, an investment advisor at Archer Investments. Heyde and Jim Swank, head of maintenance at Rochester High School, will face each other in the District 2 election.


Ted Denton spoke kindly of his challenger, Democrat Dick Roe, saying Roe is a friend and has a good heart for the city. Denton said his 38 years of staff management experience has prepared him to lead Rochester in the right direction.

If elected, Denton said, he plans to help market the city and bring in more industry.

“We’re going to sell Rochester,” he said. “It’s never been done and it’s time.” To folks outside of Fulton County, he said, “keep your eye on Rochester…you’re going to hear about us.”


Walorksi, seeking re-election for Indiana’s Second Congressional seat, said assistance with local projects is only one phone call away.

She said her office continues to work with the county and the Army Corp of Engineers to address permanently a washout that closed County Road 350 North in 2014.

She spoke about Grissom Air Reserve Base, which she said is poised to attract major companies in the defense and aerospace industries. Focus is on convincing military officials Grissom is the best location for a new KC-46A aircraft refueling tanker unit, she said.

Walorski, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, also spoke about the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016. Two of her amendments were added in the final legislation.


Stutzman, a three-term congressman from northeast Indiana’s 3rd District who entered Indiana’s U.S. Senate race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Dan Coats, spoke about how conservatives like himself have the answers to challenges he believes President Barack Obama’s administration has created. Prior to running for Congress, Stutzman ran for state representative and became the youngest member of the Indiana General Assembly, where he served in both the House and the Senate from 2002-2010.

Stutzman said he believes the budget process in Washington D.C. is broken. “Everyone in the room would agree Washington is broken…it makes no sense,” he said. He highlighted the importance of addressing the 18 trillion dollar debt and fixing the budget process for future generations.


Young, who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and also has entered Indiana’s U.S. Senate race to replace Coats, said the U.S. is facing tough times following Obama’s administration.

He said the rate of economic growth is about half of what it should be, healthcare costs have risen due to the president’s Affordable Care Act and very few people have experienced a real pay raise.

He, as did Stutzman, spoke about the Planned Parenthood video controversy, saying what was depicted were “unspeakable acts.”

As a member of the House Budget Committee in his first term, Young worked closely with Chairman Paul Ryan on federal spending issues. In his third term, he is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over the tax code, federal trade policy and social insurance programs like Social Security and Medicare.


Holcomb, who also is seeking to replace Coats, was the final keynote speaker.

Most recently, he served (sic) Coats’ State Chief of Staff. Prior to that, he was Indiana Republican Party state chairman and a member of the Republican National Committee. From 20032011 (sic), he held key positions under Gov. Mitch Daniels, including deputy chief of staff and campaign manager for Mitch’s 2008 re-election.

While many of Stutzman’s talking points were in reference to future generations, Holcomb said about serving in office, “It’s not about the next generation, it’s about right now.”

He said the Islamic State values the sanctity of death, not life, called the Iran nuclear deal a “sell out” and said after watching the Democratic Primary Debate that Democrats are “beyond shameless” and that the party’s solution to a problem is to throw more money at it.

He noted he’s made a list of top priorities for his campaign, including: rebuilding the military, ensuring veterans receive the best healthcare, saving Social Security and Medicare, replacing “Obamacare,” building the Keystone XL Pipeline and rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.  

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