U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz began her first term representing Indiana’s 5th District on Jan. 3. On one for her frequent visits to the district, Current caught up with Spartz for a Q&A interview after she had finished touring the Lawrence Police Dept. headquarters.
How has your experience in Washington, D.C., over the last several months differed from your expectations going in?
I didn’t have very high expectations. I’m not naïve. I’ve been in politics long enough. It’s unfortunate. Such a serious institution with an important function and it’s become so dysfunctional. I talked to one of the members, Alaska’s Don Young, he’s been there since 1973, he’s the second congressman since Alaska became a state, and I asked him, “Has it always been that bad?” And he says, “It’s never been as bad as it is right now.”
H.R. 1 recently passed the House and now is sitting in the Senate. It aims to federalize many of our country’s voting processes. Why did you vote against the bill?
H.R. 1 is actually an awful bill. There are a lot of things in that bill that are centralizing more power in the federal government. To think that a small group of people know better and are superior to millions of people on the ground, I would say it is probably the opposite. I think centralizing (an increasing amount of power) is a very bad idea.
The bill would cause significant change to Indiana’s election laws by federalizing elections and eliminating the voter ID requirement. Do you think the federal government should be involved in how individual states operate their elections?
I think it’s more of a state issue than a federal issue. There are a few things that the federal government can look inside, like how we can improve more integrity of the federal elections and just deal with the federal piece. And having IDs, there is nothing wrong with that. We have IDs for everything. You cannot get on the plane without having an ID. The more populations grow, if you don’t have some controls in place, then that creates more opportunity for fraud.
Infrastructure is a big agenda item for President Joe Biden, and the bill — American Jobs Plan — is going to cost a lot. What was your take on it?
Unfortunately, in the COVID bill, only 10 percent was related to COVID-19. And now in the infrastructure bill, only 6 percent is related to actual infrastructure that people think of –roads and bridges. I think if the president wants to have debate on other issues, we can have a separate debate, but he cannot lump every issue that he wants to deal with into one bill to try to force everyone to vote for something. It’s one thing, at least, if we spend our money and invest in assets like roads and bridges and tangible infrastructure that’s going to last us. You can justify (to future generations), “OK, you guys are going to take advantage of this.” Instead (we are) spending money to put bandages on issues that have existed for a long time and not resolving them.
How do you think our area of Indiana, maybe even Indiana as a whole, matches up with the rest of the country? Are we doing better, worse?
We have a lot to offer in this state, and I think it provides us an opportunity to compete with other states. We have good, stable laws. We have a good regulatory environment. We have good schools. We have economic growth and a low tax base. Going around other states, I’ve been very disturbed to see what is happening out there.
We have a very efficient operation, and the other states are wasting money left and right, and I feel like my citizens in Indiana have to pay for it? That’s very frustrating. Why should we pay for programs in other states, New York and California, that don’t do a good job? That’s their state. If you don’t like it, move to another state or take down your elected officials.