United States Senator Dan Coats, R-Indiana, laid out his “Roadmap for 2014,” while discussing some issues that could have “a positive impact on our state” during a Wednesday afternoon press conference at Valparaiso City Hall.
Covering ten ideas he would like to go into further depth this year, the U.S Senator focused first on “protecting Hoosiers from the burdens of Obamacare.”
“That is what Indiana residents have indicated as the number one issue affecting them,” Coats said.
Coats said while others have indicated the Senate would not be able to get anything done until 2017 after the next Presidential election, he refuses “to sit around and wait.”
“I want to work to make Indiana a better place than it already is right away,” he said.
Locally, Coats recognized the Northwest Indiana region “a crossroads of America.”
“The amount of traffic through this region is remarkable,” he said.
When asked about potential federal assistance in local transportation such as the extension of the South Shore commuter transportation line to Valparaiso, Coats said there is “an ever-shrinking budget for transportation.
“That means we will have to look at creative ways to do that.”
Fortunately, vehicles are getting more miles per gallon, but that often means “less money for our state’s transportation.”
The Senator said road issues, such as the recent closing of Cline Avenue in Lake County to problems caused by potholes, will more than likely remain a local and state issue. He also pointed out the new Illiana Expressway recently approved by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) is also unlikely to be aided by any federal funds.
In addition to issues related to the Affordable Care Act, Coats included supporting community banks and small businesses, growing the manufacturing sector, repealing the death tax, simplifying the tax code and protecting freedom of religion as other parts of his roadmap.
“We want to make the tax code simpler and fairer,” he said, noting he is co-authoring a bill with a Senator from across the aisle to do just that.
“I’m willing to work with people from across the aisle if they have solid ideas,” he said.
Portage Mayor James Snyder expressed his gratitude to Coats for his work on issues pertaining to Portage residents.
“The city of Portage is grateful for your efforts on the Asian carp issue and residents appreciate your work in decreasing the burdens of the Affordable Care Act,” Snyder told the Senator.