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Democrat Tom McDermott talks about inflation, abortion, other key issues in Senate race

A still image from an interview with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tom McDermott. McDermott is a White man with dark hair, wearing a dark blue suit coat and a light blue, checkered shirt without a tie.
Alan Mbathi
/
IPB News
During an interview on Sept. 21, 2022, Democrat Tom McDermott said if he wins Indiana’s U.S. Senate race, it will be because women show up in large numbers at the polls to vote for him.

Democrat Tom McDermott says if he wins Indiana’s U.S. Senate race, it will be because women show up in large numbers at the polls to vote for him. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith sat down with McDermott to discuss abortion rights – which he’s putting front and center in his campaign – and other key issues in the race.

You can also find interviews with the Republican and Libertarian candidates.

IPB News Statehouse Bureau Chief Brandon Smith: Let’s talk about abortion rights. Are you confident that enough Hoosier voters are going to vote your way on that issue?

Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott: The way I feel on this issue and the way I believe most women feel on this issue is precedent. It was precedentand it should’ve been respected, and it wasn’t respected. So, I think the extreme agenda was the anti-Roe overturning of Roe v. Wade. I think that's extreme, personally.

Smith: Do you think this is an issue that belongs in a U.S. Senate race?

McDermott: Absolutely, because U.S. senators confirm justices to the US Supreme Court and those justice as well as the justices to the district courts and to the courts of appeals. And, you know, these justices are supposed to respect precedent. It's one of the foundations of our legal system. So yeah, I absolutely believe it belongs in the U.S. Senate race. And, and if I were Todd Young, I'd be trying to run away from the fact that he confirmed three of the justices to the Supreme Court as well. He doesn't want to lose on Nov. 8, and his track record is this: he put three of the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Smith: Obviously, another major issue in this campaign, not just in Indiana but across the country this year, is inflation. How do you address these high costs that they're dealing with?

McDermott: In time, the Federal Reserve will get control of the inflation rate. I'm hopeful that we get it back down to 2 percent where it belongs. However, I find it funny that I'm the mayor of Hammond – Hammond, Indiana. And I find it funny that a U.S. senator is trying to blame me for the rise in inflation and for the cost of gas because I'm a Democrat. I find that ironic. He's a U.S. senator. He's been in Washington, D.C. for 12 years, blaming the mayor of Hammond for the price of gas and for the high inflation rate. That's disingenuous and it's a lack of leadership.

Smith: Democrats under Joe Biden have passed major efforts, infused a lot of money into this country at just about every level of government and just about every level of the economy. Isn't that part of what's contributing to inflation? Do we need to stop spending so much at the federal level?

McDermott: The spending in Washington D.C. is definitely part of the cause. Joe Biden has been president for less than two years. The person I'm running against, Todd Young, has been in Washington, D.C. for 12 years. And his track record is this: he's voted for $16 trillion added to the national debt. And he calls himself a conservative.

READ MORE: What do I need on Election Day? The midterm election is Nov. 8

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Smith: What are your priorities when it comes to federal spending? And how do you make sure that doesn't further contribute to inflation?

McDermott: I'm concerned about the rising national debt. I have kids and I'm worried about our kids and our grandkids that are going to be saddled with tremendous amounts of debt. And that's something that we have to keep in the back of our mind, balancing also the need to protect the promise that we made to American workers, the Social Security fund, making sure that that's not insolvent, that it's there, as promised, to help people in their golden years. Representing the state of Indiana, which is a conservative state, I have to keep that in mind as well, because there's 6.6 million people here that I need to represent. And this is a conservative state.

Smith: Immigration is an issue that both parties have failed, quite frankly, for a long time. What is your plan?

McDermott: Well, I want to get a shot at it like we've given our U.S. Sen. Todd Young, who’s been in Washington, D.C. for 12 years. And I agree it's broken. And I do want to help. And I want to point out that I'm married to an immigrant. So, I believe in immigration. I believe that our broken immigration system is part of the reason inflation is out of control, wage inflation. If we have more people moving into America, we can help relieve some of that wage inflation. And I want to get a shot.

Smith: When it comes to the border security side of that discussion, is a wall, in your mind, a part of that? Or should our efforts be focused somewhere else?

McDermott: We have immigration laws in America and we need to support our border patrol to enforce the laws.

Smith: Does that mean more border patrol agents? Or does that mean physical structures?

McDermott: I would be more inclined to go with agents, being honest with you, but we do need to enforce our laws.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.