2006: Brad Ellsworth for Congress
U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana's 8th district
This was the official website for Brad Ellsworth's 2006 campaign to represent Indiana's 8th district in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Ellsworth scored a landslide victory over Hostettler on November 7, 2006. He took 61% of the vote to Hostettler's 39% – by far the most lopsided defeat for an incumbent in the 2006 election.
Content is from the site's 2006 archived pages as well as other outside sources.
A Proud Hoosier
I was born in Jasper, Indiana and lived in Huntingburg, Indiana until I was about 10. My parents raised my two brothers, a sister, and me.
We moved to Evansville, Indiana when my dad took a job at Alcoa in 1967. Jobs were hard to come by during those days, and he said he was lucky he got the one he did because it offered unlimited overtime. I remember how proud Dad was when he would come home and display to us kids a weekly pay stub with over 100 hours of actual work on it. In those days, Dad felt lucky to have an opportunity to work one hundred hours. That’s just how it was in those days: you went to work, did your job well, and saved every penny you could.
Growing up, my family lived in a small working class neighborhood on a dead-end street. My siblings, friends, and I could roam and play in the neighborhood as we pleased. We were safe. We were secure.
I graduated from Harrison High School in 1976 and from Indiana State University Evansville (now USI) in 1981. I worked at Wesselman's grocery store and in the hardware department at Sears to pay for it all. I just considered it an investment in my future.
We went to church every Sunday.
I learned that church is about our faith, and that it is also about our community.
These lessons aren’t insignificant. They are important in this community and they are important in my family.
The lessons I learned in church have helped guide my life: Justice, Fairness, and helping everyday people. Those were the lessons I was taught to believe growing up and those are the lessons I have tried to teach my own daughter.
Beth & Andrea
After graduating from ISUE, I married my college sweetheart, Beth. I came home from the PoliceAcademy on a Friday, got married on a Saturday, honeymooned that night at the Executive Inn in Evansville, and then returned to the Academy on Sunday.
My marriage and the family I’ve built with Beth and our daughter, Andrea, are the things I’m most proud of in life.
A Career In Service
I became a deputy sheriff in 1982. I became a cop because I didn’t think it was fair that drug dealers could get rich while regular folks like my dad were working one hundreds hours a week.
Because I’d worked for a college degree, I had opportunities to rise through the ranks. I went back to school Friday nights and Saturday mornings and got a Masters degree in Criminology from Indiana State University in Terre Haute. The following year, I spent twelve weeks in Quantico, Virginia at the FBI National Academy. Looking back, the choices I made to further my education beyond high school gave me the tools I have needed to advance my career as a law enforcement official.
I was fortunate enough to spend two years as a D.A.R.E. officer, traveling to many schools and teaching kids about the danger of drugs and alcohol abuse. I tried to help take the lessons children learned from their parents at home and reinforce those lessons in the classroom.
I’ve been in law enforcement for almost 25 years now, and I can tell you that today we face challenges I would have never dreamed of back in 1982. My little dead-end street is a thing of the past. I understand better than most the dangers that threaten to break up our communities. The popular culture that assaults the values we try to teach our children:
- a meth lab cooking up drugs near a middle school;
- gangs moving in from the big cities because they smell an opportunity;
- TV shows and video games that glorify violence and sex as they compete to see who can show our kids the next provocative image.
Kids today don’t get to grow up the way we did. Because our jobs as parents is harder, it doesn't mean that we can give up teaching our kids the lessons we learned from our own parents.
Running for Congress
Today, I’m running for Congress because I believe Washington has stopped listening.
I’m a Sheriff, not a politician.
I believe that Washington is letting us down.
I’m running for Congress because I believe that Washington doesn’t listen to things we need as a community.
I’m running for Congress because I believe that Washington doesn’t hear what we need as families.
I’m running for Congress because I believe ALL children deserve the opportunity to grow up safe and secure.
This is my life and who I am. I’d like you to join me and I ask for your support.
I’ll protect our communities. I’ve been a cop for almost 25 years now, and I can tell you that today we face challenges I would have never dreamed of when I started. I know better than most the dangers that threaten to break up our communities: a coarse popular culture that assaults the values we try to teach our children, meth labs popping up near our schools, and gangs moving in from the big cities because they smell opportunity. When I go to Washington I’m going keep on fighting these things with the same passion I’ve had for the last 25 years. I know we can’t afford not to.
The Way Washington Works
Listening to all this nonsense about lobbyists buying Congressmen and people switching their vote because someone wrote them a check, you’d think Washingtonwas the most corrupt city in America. That may be, but let me tell you something else – the real problem isn’t in the laws, it’s in the criminals. I know something about laws, and the one thing laws CAN’T do is prevent people from breaking them. We can pass all the new laws we want, and we will. But until we replace the people committed to breaking them, we’ll never have real reform. Congress doesn’t belong to the politicians, and it certainly doesn’t belong to the criminals. Congress belongs to us.
We face a national crisis when it comes to illegal immigration. The honest truth is that part of it is our own making. When we capture illegals here in Vanderburgh County, my deputies call INS and INS tells them there’s no place to put them. That’s not right. It’s also not right when an Indiana employer passes over an American for a job only because an illegal worker is cheaper. We need to tighten our borders, enforce the laws we have, and punish employers who break them. This is about economic security as much as it is national security.
I’ll protect our families. In my house, we were raised by my parents, not our television. Strong communities are anchored in strong families. I learned that church is about our community as much as it is our faith. This is important in this community and it’s important in my family. The church helps all of us decide who we are. We’re all weak in our own ways, but I believe that none of us is so weak that we’re beyond hope. The church has guided my life and my career. I believe in justice, I believe in hope, I believe in salvation, and I believe in the value of life in all its forms, not just what people say to get elected.
I’ll protect our investment in the education of our children. The American Dream is the belief that our children can do better than we did. I believe this. You believe this. I’m running to make sure that our children can believe this.
I’ll protect an honest day’s work. Accountability and fairness are values, not a dream. Do your job, save every penny you can, and you deserve the pension and secure retirement you’ve earned.
I’ll protect Social Security. Social Security is a guaranteed benefit. Privatization removes the guarantee and reduces the benefit. I will work to strengthen Social Security and oppose any plan that threatens it.
I’ll protect our jobs. American jobs belong in America. We need more of them. Bad trade agreements and corporate giveaways are just sweetheart deals for big corporations that don’t need them.
Washington Stopped Listening
I’ve been out there in our communities. I’ve worked a beat and I’ve driven a cruiser up and down 41 more times than I can count. I know the first rule in protecting a community is to listen to it. I feel the same way about being your Congressman.
When you come to see me, you’re the one that does the talking. I’ll do the listening.
If you come to me and want to talk about folks losing their jobs and their pensions, we’ll talk about it.
If you come to me and want to talk about getting affordable health insurance for you or your kids, we’ll talk about it.
If you come to me and want to talk about illegal immigration, keeping our borders secure, we’ll talk about that.
If you come to me and want to talk about how we get proper health care and benefits for our veterans, we’ll for SURE talk about that.
I can promise you that one thing I WON’T do is ignore you or change the subject to something I want to talk about.
I believe the job of the Congress is to listen to the people, not tell them what to do.
God gave us two ears and only one mouth for a good reason, and I think we all know that folks in Washington are using their mouths more than their ears.
And that’s while I’ll be an Ambassador for South and Western Indiana. This district needs a leader. Someone to fight for our businesses. For our families. For the communities we call home.
I’ll go to Washington and advocate your views. Your values. And our Hoosier way of life.
Brad in the News
AN ASIDE: My uncle and aunt who have lived in Evansville as far back as I can remember were enthusiastic supporters of Ellsworth who was a conservative Democrat. Since he opposed abortion and gun control, I had a hard time thinking of him as a Democrat. But once in Congress, he joined the Blue Dog Democrats caucus whose members identify themselves as fiscally-responsible, centrist Democrats. So I guess that fits. By the time Ellsworth was selected as the Democratic candidate in the 2010 U.S. Senate election for the seat in the United States Senate held by Democrat Evan Bayh, my uncle was in rehab for the first of many attempts to stop his drinking which had become a serious issue since he lost his job.
My parents would brainstorm for hour with my aunt trying to find the best solution for helping my uncle. I remember one of their interent searches for drugs that help a person weaning off alcohol. Naltrexone, and disulfiram, that's an unpleasant one, were the two that were available for treating alcoholics. It's too bad they didn't learn about baclofen before my uncle died in a car crash- driving while drunk. For a number of years doctors in Europe have been prescribing baclofen as the primary treatment for people who drink excessively. However, in the US, it has not yet received approval by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe and effective treatment for alcohol or drug use disorders. But preliminary open-label studies from Italy demonstrated effectiveness of baclofen in reducing alcohol use among the alcoholics. In addition, results from a clinical study conducted by Brown University show alcohol-addicted participants receiving baclofen were able to abstain from drinking for longer periods of time than those who didn’t receive the drug. That all sounds promising. The more I read about the drug, now that I am in medical school, the more I realize that my uncle was probably well beyond the point of no return. He had been drinking far too long. This drug is more effective for people who are just beginning down that steep slope that leads to alcoholism. Well I digress. Ellsworth joined Evansville-based Vectren Corporation as president of its southern Indiana gas and electric utility division after his lose in 2010. The congressman for the Eighth District of Indiana is now Larry Bucshon, M.D., a Republican who faced Democratic nominee State Representative Trent Van Haaften in the 2010 race to fill the seat vacated by Congressman Brad Ellsworth. As of 2019 he still represents the Eighth District following a conservative agenda.
- Bucshon has called for cuts in health care programs.
- Bucshon co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act, which declares that life begins at the moment of conception and is entitled to legal protection from that point forward.
- Bucshon describes himself as a "long term friend of coal."
- Bucshon opposes veterans having access to medical marijuana if recommended by their Veterans Health Administration doctor and if it is legal for medicinal purposes in their state of residence.
- Bucshon supports the repeal of the Affordable Health Care for America Act.
In otherwords, he supports Trump and the GOP agenda. Neither my aunt or uncle ever voted for Ellsworth's successor.
COURIER & PRESS AND
EVANSVILLE – Congressional candidate Brad Ellsworth today received both the Evansville Courier & Press and the Terre Haute Tribune-Starendorsements.
According to the Courier & Press, “Brad Ellsworth is the clear choice for the 8th District congressional seat.” [See: http://www.courierpress.com/news/2006/oct/29/8th-district/]
The paper noted Ellsworth’s accessibility and willingness to work with others.
“Above all else, Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth is an accessible public official,” the paper wrote. “During his nearly eight years serving as sheriff, the personable Ellsworth has demonstrated an openness and a willingness to listen and talk to constituents, friend and foe, and to work with other public officials in an atmosphere of cooperation. [See: http://www.courierpress.com/news/2006/oct/29/8th-district/]
Likewise, the Tribune-Star praised Ellsworth’s willingness to listen to people with different points of view. Noting the 8th Congressional District consists of 18 counties and 675,564 people with, “674,564 different opinions, needs, dreams, talents and life stories,” the paper wrote, “members of Congress can and should consider the differing viewpoints among their entire constituency. The candidate best-suited to do that here is Brad Ellsworth.” [See: http://www.tribstar.com/opinion/local_story_301225016.html?keyword=secondarystory]
Regarding Rep. John Hostettler, the Courier & Press wrote, “he remains today an ideologue who shows little interest in constituents who might not see the nation as he does.” [See: http://www.courierpress.com/news/2006/oct/29/8th-district/]
According to the Tribune-Star, “The Katrina vote exemplifies Hostettler’s predicament. Indeed, some of the hurricane relief funds were abused, as he predicted. But Hostettler cast his vote, and offered only a curt and delayed explanation afterward. That cavalier approach is one of his least-effective characteristics. His nonconformist stands are bold, but after 12 years, he doesn’t seem to be building a coalition of supporters within Congress or even his own party.” [See: http://www.tribstar.com/opinion/local_story_301225016.html?keyword=secondarystory]