Published Friday 02 of April, 2010
Jay Heater, Journal Review
Democrat David Sanders took a unique approach Thursday evening to his campaign for the 4th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He listened.
Sanders held a town hall meeting at Wabash College’s Baxter Hall to hear what the voters had to say.
“This is part of what I am doing, holding town hall meetings,” Sanders said. “I am the only candidate trying to listen. I am going to meet the public and I will continue to do so throughout the election.” Sanders has the endorsement of the Montgomery County Democrats as he goes into the Primary against Democratic opponents Tara Nelson of Lafayette and Mark Powell of Whiteland.
“People will get to know me,” said Sanders, an associate professor of biological sciences at Purdue who made unsuccessful runs at Representative Steve Buyer in 2004 and 2006. “I think they will realize that I am the person who listens to them.”
As a scientist and teacher, Sanders has an impressive background. He has a bachelor of science degree from Yale and a Ph.D. from UC- Berkeley. His education continued at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, which is affiliated with MIT. He holds a patent on a novel gene-therapy delivery technique. His list of accomplishments goes on and on.
Whether he can be a successful politician remains to be seen. “We are raising more money and we are going to be much more aggressive,” he said in reference to his campaign.”
The fact he needs that extra money irks him. “The fact campaigns are driven by money is a concern. It’s money that talks, rather than people. The person who succeeds is the best fundraiser.”
Sanders hopes that District 4 voters realize his expertise as a scientist could come in handy in issues such as healthcare, global warming and vaccination policies.
When information is delivered to the House of Representatives, Sanders said he will either know the answers, or know where to get them. “I can speak their language,” he said.
He said the No. 1 issue facing District 4 is jobs. “That has to be the primary responsibility,” he said.
Will the voters trust a scientist turned politician to find them new jobs? “In fact, I think people are tired of career politicians,” he said. “I think that is part of the anger and frustration.”
He touched on many issues on Thursday. He generally is in favor of the new healthcare legislation. “The themes are things that Americans support,” he said.
He said one of his primary duties would be to make sure veterans receive proper benefits and mental health services.
He called education cuts “short-sighted.”
“Science and technology are the engines of economic growth,” he said.
“There is no scenario that by reducing education achievements you will have economic progress.”
About global warming, he said, “We’re moving dramatically ahead in wind power and that’s an important development. Climate change is real. Globally, it was the fifth warmest year in history. It’s climate, not weather.”