INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WHAS11) -- Luke Messer, Indiana’s 6th District Congressman, pulled away with the Indiana GOP Straw Poll this weekend. Representative Messer topped all challengers with 147 votes. Congressman Todd Rokita finished a distant second with 82 votes. They and several other Republicans are set to be on the ballot in the primary that will decide who faces Senator Joe Donnelly this fall. The contest is drawing national attention with strategists seeing it as a chance for the Republicans to take a seat held by a Democrat in the US Senate.
In an interview that you'll only see on WHAS11, Congressman Messer answered questions about tax cuts, immigration, the President's mental capacity and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Congressman Messer had just returned home following a day that saw him vote to reauthorize FISA, the NSA Surveillance program.
“I think most Americans understand that we live in a dangerous world and we need the tools it takes to stand up to people who mean harm to America,” said Representative Messer.
Kentucky US Senator Rand Paul has said he intends to filibuster in the Senate to prevent a passage in his chamber.
Sen. Paul and Rep. Messer, both Republicans, find themselves on polar ends of the spectrum on the issue.
The debate highlights a key reason why Indiana's 6th District Congressman calls the Senate "broken.”
"Too many good ideas are now going to the US Senate to die,” the Congressman said. “My plan really has three parts: One, it would be to end this filibuster so that a majority vote would rule in the United States Senate. To streamline the process to approve the Trump Administration appointees. Any president ought to be able to have their team filled and the filibuster has been used to stop the Trump Administration.”
I asked whether he thought Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was part of the problem.
Messer answered, “Listen, I think Mitch McConnell is the elected leader of the Senate and the Senate is not delivering. The Senate is broken. We can do better and we need to do better and changing the rules of the Senate, I think are, frankly far more important than any specific leadership change.”
He blames a "well organized" liberal effort for trying to stymie the Trump agenda since the President took office.
During a week in which debate picked up regarding the Presidents mental capacity to lead, he called those accusations "politically driven."
“I've had the opportunity, of course, to meet with this president privately and when I meet with him he is one of the most positive, encouraging people you'd ever meet who's driving for stronger and better results. So, I think the American people see through that," he said.
Congressman Messer also responded to questions about DACA saying that legislation should be connected to broader border security. You can see his full answer here.