Peru Tribune: Congress hopeful looking to blur party lines

Congress hopeful Mel Hall has an axe to grind with Washington, D.C. He will tell you with pride he is no career politician; a statement he places at the foundation of his campaign.

Hall grew up as a farmer in Grant County, just outside of LaFontaine. He is also a former minister in the Methodist church, and is also a businessman who claims he turned a small 33-person business into an operation of over 800.

How does this all tie in to Hall’s campaign? According to him, it all boils down to two simple words: hard work.

“I think what Hoosiers value most is hard work,” Hall said.

He then described how, for the last year, he has spent 10-12 hours in a Jeep driving between district locations. He vowed to do the same thing until election day.

Hall said he goes from place to place discussing the problems with Washington, D.C. and the career politicians who inhabit the city; both items he stands against.

“What resonates with most people is that I’m not a typical politician. I’ve never held office and I’m not beholden to anyone,” Hall said. “If you do the same things with the same people, you’re going to get the same results.”

Hall’s campaign bases itself around claims that he has refused any corporate political action committee monies, and also his claims of being nonpartisan. He also says he will not accept the perks of Congress such as healthcare or pension plans.

“Most in Congress work six to seven hours a day, three to four days a week, but they get the Cadillac healthcare and pension plans,” Hall said. “Where I come from, we call that feeding at the trough for too long.”

Hall said his desire to run for office began as a citizen who was unhappy with the way Washington has headed.

“I couldn’t look myself in the mirror if I didn’t try to do something,” he said.

Hall said his focus is on the people in the district he will represent rather than himself. He also claims to have given himself a three-term limit as a way to avoid turning into a career politician.

“I’m interested in representing the interest of people in the Second District now,” Hall said.

He also challenged voters to look at the pasts of candidates rather than just their campaign promises.

“Take a look at my background and see what I stand for,” Hall said.

Hall promised to not vote party lines and to reach across the aisle when necessary.

“I’m not beholden to my party,” Hall said. “I call balls and strikes.”

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