Why We Endorsed Sen. Lugar Today

We announced our endorsement of six-term incumbent Richard Lugar for the U.S. Senate today. The endorsement was made by the Indiana Chamber Congressional Action Committee, the federal political action committee of the Indiana Chamber.

"Senator Lugar has compiled a most impressive pro-economy, pro-jobs voting record throughout his years of service," said Kevin Brinegar, president of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. "His focus on helping grow Indiana businesses and putting Hoosiers back to work is exactly what we need in Washington."

Lugar has been a long-time leader on many energy, national security, foreign policy and agricultural issues, among others. His effort to overcome bureaucratic obstacles and make the Keystone XL pipeline a reality – and create jobs in Indiana and throughout the country – is just one current example of his continued leadership.

"In a time when congressional approval levels are at record lows and partisanship is all too common," Brinegar adds, "Sen. Lugar should be applauded for his ability to reach across the aisle and work with members of both parties. We believe Hoosiers strongly benefit from his expertise and experience."

Coats Earns Business Endorsement

It’s endorsement season — and the Indiana Chamber Congressional Action Committee (ICCAC, the Indiana Chamber’s non-partisan federal political action program) today endorsed Dan Coats for the U.S. Senate seat in this year’s election.

Coats says he has talked to hundreds of struggling Hoosier business owners who are fed up with higher taxes, more regulations and the ambiguity of what is yet to come.

"They are asking for checks and balances against the one-party control in Washington and this cloud of uncertainty," says Coats, who previously served in the Senate from 1990-1998. "It’s all about creating jobs and stimulating the economy. Those are the keys to our campaign."

The former senator added that every effort should be made to repeal the health care reform measure that, he notes, imposes 19 new taxes. If that proves not possible, "sensible corrections" need to be pursued.

Coats, running against current 8th District Congressman Brad Ellsworth, had sharp words for Congress and its decision to head back to the campaign trail without addressing the tax cuts that are scheduled to expire at year’s end.

"That was totally irresponsible." The uncertainty that is stopping company investments and job expansions is "now extended two more months. It has frozen businesses in place because they don’t know what their tax situation will be."

Chamber President Kevin Brinegar said that the volunteer business community leaders of the ICCAC want representatives in Washington who "focus on economic growth and job creation, not growing government, and Dan Coats clearly understands this."

Chamber Takes Historic Stance With Daniels Endorsement

The Indiana Chamber has been filling this business advocacy role for a long time — officially since 1922 and for a couple of decades before that. Dealing with political figures has always been a part of the mix, particularly at election time since 1986 with the creation of the Indiana Business for Responsive Government political action committee and its active status in General Assembly races.

So, a first-ever endorsement for governor is a big deal. Mitch Daniels earned that distinction today because of his "record of accomplishment, particularly in the areas of job creation, innovation and sound financial management."

Andre Lacy, Chamber chairman of the board of directors for 2008, offers that it’s all Hoosiers who will benefit from four more years: "A job allows employees to pay their mortgage, send their children to school and take care of their families. That’s why keeping a positive economic climate for business is so vital."

Read the full release here.

Note: Research shows we made an "unofficial" endorsement in 1972 when the Chamber wrote a letter to its members touting the excellent qualifications of both candidates — Democrat Matt Welsh and eventual winner Otis Bowen.