Lugar, who is seeking re-election to an unprecedented seventh term as U.S. senator from Indiana, told a Putnam County Lincoln Day gathering that his office has connected with Hoosier voters for 818,000 telephone calls over the past six months of the campaign.
The big question asked was: What issues are most on your mind?
"Right at the heart are the two on top," Lugar offered. "Jobs, jobs, jobs is No. 1, and right behind it is the $15 trillion federal debt."
A few moments earlier, Sen. Lugar praised Putnam County efforts toward the jobs issue, pointing to the recent Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center report showing $61 million in new investment and nearly 500 new jobs being announced locally during 2011.
"I am really struck by what your Development Center has done," the senator said, calling the local numbers "truly significant."
Especially so, that would seem, in comparison to the federal issues at hand.
"In short," Lugar said, "we have huge problems in terms of fiscal responsibility. Now that's not new, but it has risen to quite a level of seriousness."
He also pointed out that he has voted 17 times for a balanced budget bill and likely will make it 18 this year.
While that may seem futile, it is nonetheless important, Lugar said, because "you've got to have some measure of where we're headed."
Lugar, who will turn 80 this spring and is the third most senior member of the U.S. Senate, said he has also clashed with President Obama over the 20,000-job Keystone XL Pipeline.
"We very obviously have a Canadian company that wants to invest $7 billion in our country to building a pipeline from northern Canada to the Gulf," Lugar said, indicating those 20,000 jobs would be created to build and maintain the pipeline that would export oil to the U.S.
"The big issue appears to be: We really don't want any more oil coming into the United States. 'Mr. President, don't you dare bring all this oil down a pipeline forever into the United States,'" he chided.
Since the XL Pipeline project would cross international borders, the U.S. State Department has been reviewing it -- for three years. And just when it looked like action may be taken, Obama sent it back to the State Department for further review by a February 2013 deadline (three months after the 2012 election, it is worth noting).
A Lugar bill, co-sponsored by 44 others, has sought to limit that gestation period to a 60-day timeframe to reach a decision. That bill was subsequently folded in the Transportation Bill, and "if it doesn't work on the Transportation Bill, we'll move it to another one," Lugar vowed Sunday, "and we'll continue to try to move it to the forefront."
Lugar urged the local Republicans to create a surge at the ballot box to affect positive change.
"I go into all this in grisly detail," he said, "because this is how things have to happen ... It's going to take a Republican Senate to get things done and a Republican president to sign it in law."
"You have to get out of your comfort zone," Rokita stressed, "if we're going to save this Republic. Armed with the truth, we can keep this Republic, and we need to start here, in places like Putnam County."
The "inconvenient truth" about the huge federal debt, he said, is that the U.S. has incurred that $15 trillion debt on program promises that will amount to a $100 trillion deficit.
"On average," Rokita said, "we have only paid 30 percent into those programs for what we are going to take out. The other 70 percent is coming from your grandchildren.
"We'll give you that truth -- convenient or not," Rokita concluded, "but you need to use it."
Roklta is Indiana's 4th District congressman, who, if he is successful in the 2012 election, will begin representing Putnam County for the first time in January 2013.
Currently Putnam County is in District 8 and is represented by Larry Bucshon of Newburgh. Redistricting shifted Putnam County to a new congressional district.
New Putnam County GOP Chairman Darwyn Nelson served as emcee for the Lincoln Day proceedings. He introduced the other members of the newly elected Putnam County Republican Central Committee: Vice Chairman Sherrie Fenwick, Treasurer Carol Sweet and Secretary Justin Long.