By AMANDA CALLAHAN
Putnam County played host to U.S. Congressional candidate Brad Ellsworth on Wednesday in Bainbridge.
The Evansville Democrat met with citizens during a meet and greet session in the town community center. He is challenging U.S. Rep. John Hostettler, a Republican, for the 8th District Congressional seat.
Ellsworth told the BannerGraphic about how being the Vanderburgh County Sheriff has prepared him for the congressional seat. "Being a representative has the same basis as being a sheriff. It is a career in public service," said Ellsworth.
He said being both a sheriff and a representative involves the same problem-solving skills, even though they deal with issues differently. "It's the perfect segue," he said.
One of the major changes Ellsworth wants to make should he win in November is to stop the partisan bickering in Congress. He believes that representatives represent the people and they should find out what concerns the people and make those concerns work in Congress.
"You cannot cut somebody off because they think differently from you. You have to talk and make a compromise," he said.
Ellsworth says that a representative has a dual responsibility. One is taking care of the local issues and working with mayors, commissioners and citizens to make things right. The other is taking care of the national issues.
"The government needs to be more transparent," said Ellsworth. "The people need to know what the government is doing to settle the issues that divide the parties."
Ellsworth also talked with the BannerGraphic about a recent incident that occurred in Vanderburgh County while he was in Washington D.C. On June 7, a felony sex offender was released from the jail by mistake. Ellsworth states that incident would still have occurred even if he was present in the office that day. The deputy who released the offender assumed that the Kentucky warrant system was similar to the Indiana system. The deputy talked with the Union County Sheriff Department in Kentucky, assuming they held the warrant. But it was the Morganfield Police Department in Union County that held the warrant on the offender. Union County sent the deputy information stating they had nothing on the offender and the deputy released the offender. A system of checks and balances has since been put in place and the sheriff's department is conducting an internal investigation to figure out what happened. Meanwhile, the department is continuing its search for the offender. Ellsworth says he still serves as the sheriff of Vanderburgh County and that he is prepared to defend his record.
One bill Ellsworth is working on is the Hoosier Military Bill of Rights. This bill will help ensure that soldiers receive the equipment to prevent unnecessary injuries and deaths, provide healthcare for soldiers who return home either wounded physically or mentally, give benefits toward an education to help meld them back into society, and make sure that families do not suffer financially when a soldier is deployed.
"This bill will not only apply to the soldiers in Iraq, but those who fought in Vietnam, Korea and World War II," he said.