Listening is the key to one congressional candidate's hopes for office and a successful future.
Democrat Brad Ellsworth is running for the eighth district congressional seat against Republican John Hostettler. Ellsworth stopped by the BannerGraphic on Friday before he was to be in the Putnam County Fair Parade to share some of his story.
Ellsworth has been the Vanderburgh County Sheriff for the last eight years. He said he has focused on that county for the last 25 years, but his interest has matured in his community, country and world. Plus he is not satisfied with the direction the eighth district and this country are going.
"I think we can do better and I can be a better representative of people in this area," Ellsworth said.
He knows there are issues that affect everybody, such as the war in Iraq, health care, immigration, social security and the federal deficit. Then there are specific issues that affect certain people. Ellsworth finds these issues to be the most interesting as he listens to people's stories and hears how the government affects them.
He says it is important to him that he would get out in his district, talk to people and listen to them before he would vote.
"It's about the people back home and what they want," Ellsworth said.
Congressmen need to explain why they make a certain vote to their district, he said. Ellsworth claims that is not being done now as he pointed out that Hostettler did not inform his district of why he voted against the Hurricane Katrina relief package until days later.
"He basically said it was too expensive to go down and help those people save lives," Ellsworth said of Hostettler.
The time to build accountability into your system is not when you are in the middle of a crisis, Ellsworth said.
"Make your accountability up front," Ellsworth said. "I'm more comfortable with saying I'm gonna go and do what's right."
After his time spent as sheriff, he is not scared of getting politically beat up. He's heard people tell him to, go be that independent voice for us."
Ellsworth also addressed several different issues of today with the BannerGraphic.
He commented on the media spotlight Sheriff Anderson of Indianapolis has faced. Ellsworth said his sheriff department has one salary contract for their sheriff and the tax money collected goes back to the county.
"I'm very glad I was under just a plain salary," Ellsworth said.
Yet, he does believe the system needs to be improved.
When asked about President Bush's veto of the stem cell bill, Ellsworth replied that he is a pro-life democrat. He is in favor of stem cell research, but opposed to funding research that would take a human life.
Yet, back in Indiana he says this district needs jobs.
"We've got such a good work force," Ellsworth said.
He continued by saying elected officials have to work together to sell this area to potential employers. He says an elected official must be an ambassador and a cheerleader for their area. He knows people will be unhappy at times, but he will talk to them.
Representative is the name of the job and listening to both sides and making an informed decision are what Ellsworth says he plans to do.