Barry's campaign site can be found at BarryWelsh.org
Daniel Solzman: First off, thank you for agreeing to the interview with the Kentucky Democrat. How are things going in Southern Indiana?
Barry Welsh: Thank you Kentucky Democrat for hosting this blog, and for inviting me here. Things are slow in Southern Indiana. There are few jobs, and lots of properties for sale, the signs of a poor economy, and a wrong track for America.
DS: Since you're from Indiana, how do you feel about Senator Evan Bayh running for president?
BW: I am proud that Senator Bayh is considering running for President, and more so since he is from Indiana. I support the Senator and all Democrats that are considering undertaking the responsibility of correcting the Executive Branch of our Nation. It is a huge responsibility, and new ideas, new leadership, and new hope are vastly needed in The White House. I am sure that The Democratic Candidate will provide that, and I am certain of that if it is Senator Evan Bayh.
DS: How is the campaign to defeat Mike Pence going? Do you plan to run a positive campaign?
BW: The Campaign of "People Before Profits" that we have launched for the Democratic nomination in Indiana's 6th district is going well. We are very grassroots committed, and the organization literally grows daily. I do plan to run a positive campaign. I am going to say what I believe, and I am going to speak the truth about what my opponent represents. Saying that something is wrong is not a negative campaign. Calling someone a baby killer and a terrorist lover is a negative campaign.
DS: It seems that many political candidates are now using blogs on their campaign sites. I know that you have one on yours. Do you find that as a positive mark for your campaign?
BW: I am glad to have a chance to speak about that. As fast as the local grassroots organization is growing, the netroots organization through the blogs, is growing even faster. People realize that congress people impact their lives, and even if they can't vote for them, it is important who all of the congress people are. As for the blog on www.barrywelsh.org, it is new and I have not posted there, yet. It is for the people. I do blog on some of the major internet blogs, and I do so as Barry Welsh or Congressional Candidate Barry Welsh, but the site blog is for the people, to give them a constant voice, and it is a positive to the campaign.
DS: What prior candidates have or will influence the way that you will run your campaign this time around? Do you think the experience from the last campaign in 2004 will be helpful?
BW: I ran for Indiana State Senate in 2004 and that experience will be invaluable this time around. Mel Fox has carried the banner for the Democratic Party the last two Congressional Elections in this district. I am going to be doing things somewhat differently than she did, but Mel makes recommendations now and then, and they are always good ones. This district is a new district having been formed in the 2000 redistricting, and it is made up of the old 2nd and 9th, and Lee Hamilton and Phil Sharp used to represent many of the people that are now in the 6th, and they are two of the Representatives that I would use as role models if elected. Congressman Hamilton was Co-Chair of the 9/11 Commission. A huge sleeping giant known as The Democratic Party is waking up in Indiana's 6th District. I will be open to listening to any suggestions or recommendations from former or current candidates, and of course from any fellow citizen.
DS: Do you have a campaign song yet? If yes, what is it? If not, I play guitar.
BW: (Laughing) It is odd that you ask that. I do not have one yet, but that was one of the first things that was brought up in the organizational meeting. Some of the suggestions have been quiet varied, from "High Hopes", the old Kennedy anthem, to "When The Walls Come Tumbling Down" by Indiana's John Mellencamp, to "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who, to Tom Petty's "Won't Back Down", to Wagner's "Flight of the Valkries", and "The Under Dog" Cartoon theme. So no, no choice as of yet, and since you play guitar, you are more than welcome to write something! (Smiling)
DS: You're related to former Indiana Governor Matt Welsh, correct? Will you be using that connection at all this time around?
BW: I am distantly related to the Honorable Governor, but no, I do not use that as a major focal point of the campaign, even though some have strongly suggested I do so.
DS: What makes you feel qualified to be a United States Congressman? Other than the constitutional qualifications?
BW: That is a great question, and I am glad that you asked it. I used that as an excuse to not consider running. One day I told a guy that was talking to me about contesting this seat, "I am not worthy." He told me "No one is worthy at the start of the journey. You are only worthy if you make the journey, and the people decide if you are worthy." He said, "If we thought you weren't qualified, would so many people be asking you to do this?" So, to answer your question, I will hope that the people become informed on all of the issues and I will let them decide if I am qualified.
DS: Do you want the first national non-blog interview you have to be with Jon Stewart of the Daily Show? When I say national, I mean like the major national shows and not local news stations.
BW: I am an avid viewer of The Daily Show. I am the pastor of a small rural church, and some of the things on the Daily Show, I have to shake my head at, but for the most part, it is a source for unabashed straight news, and it is very funny. I would be honored and love the chance to have that be the first national interview. It would be so much more fun than Bill O'Rielly! (Smiling) Why do you ask, can you hook a fellow Democrat Up? (Laughing)
DS: What are your thoughts on the current image of the national party? Do you think we are headed in the right direction?
BW: I do think that the National Democratic Party is heading in the right direction. Let's face it, we got spanked in 2004. It wasn't the huge mandate the Neo Conservatives claimed, but it was worse than we expected, and people now have "buyer's remorse" for all levels of government. It is necessary for new ideas, new views, new faces and new voices. People judge Chairman Howard Dean on brief snippets instead of looking in total, and I think he is what the DNC needs at this time. I must admit that I also hope he thinks I am what Indiana's 6th needs at this time too, because I could use some funding!
DS: What three issues in your opinion should be priorities?
BW: 1. Looking after "the least among us", fighting for social security insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and universal healthcare beginning with children 12 and under.
2. Stopping the benefits of outsourcing to the corporations and rewarding companies for keeping good paying jobs in America, to stimulate Indiana's Economy, not India's.
3.An Immediate, gradual, and graduated withdraw from Iraq, beginning with The National Guard Units, to remove our Nation from a place we were mislead into, and to stop the increased debt that grows daily with this Oil Man's War.
DS: Finally, will the party have a candidate in 2006 to run against Sen. Lugar?
BW: Wow, you do ask tough questions! I know that I would not want that task. I respect Senator Lugar very much, and he is a wise man. Unlike Congressman Pence, who I am challenging, Senator Lugar was very cautious and advised against going into Iraq, and he has not been in total lockstep with President Bush or Tom DeLay as Congressman Pence has. Congressman Pence has voted over 96% of the time as Tom DeLay has requested. Running against Senator Lugar is not something I would look forward to. Running against Congressman Pence is something that I am confident in. The Democratic Party has a vast History in Indiana, and I know that there will be a good candidate that will step up and challenge for that Senate seat. I do know that according to Politics1 the names Kathy Davis (D) - Ex-Lt. Governor, David Lewis(D) - Clerk of the Supreme Court, Graham Richard (D) - Fort Wayne Mayor , Jonathan Weinzapfel (D) - Evansville Mayor, are listed as potential challengers, and I know Kathy Davis, the former Lt. Governor, and she is one of the smartest people I have ever met. So The Democrats will have someone good to run against Senator Lugar.
DS: Thank you for your time and best of luck. Keep fighting the good fight.
BW: Thank You for this opportunity and for all that you do!