(INDY STAR) -- About 13 hours after his unexpected win over Evan Bayh for Indiana's open U.S. Senate seat, Todd Young spoke to reporters on being an “unapologetic conservative,” his intention to help repeal Obamacare and whether he supports Donald Trump’s push to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S.
The 45-minute conversation, at Downtown's Le Peep breakfast restaurant, also touched on Trump’s surprise win, Young’s focus on bipartisanship and what Mike Pence would be like as vice president.
"Crazy night," Young said, sitting down at a table in a reserved room in the breakfast restaurant with a green Starbucks cup in hand. "Is anyone here not tired?”
His defeat of Bayh, a two-term U.S. senator and two-term Indiana governor, was a surprising one considering the 20-point lead polls indicated Bayh had when Young entered the race in July after Democrat Baron Hill dropped out. Young attributed his victory to the confidence of his campaign team, but he said they recognized they would have to "punch above our weight."
"I did not have a contingency plan for a change in candidates after the primaries," Young said during the 45-minute conversation with half-dozen reporters. "As we say in the Marines: You adapt, you improve, you overcome, and that's exactly what I did and what our team did."
Young, a Bloomington Republican, led a campaign that portrayed Bayh as a Washington insider who left Indiana in 2011 to cash in on his Senate career for high-paying private-sector jobs. Bayh also struggled to answer questions about his Indiana residency, and Young's team used that to its advantage.
On his, and Donald Trump's, surprise win:
"I think I heard Donald Trump from time to time on how he was going to win very big. I heard Mike Pence speak confidently about their prospects moving forward. And I'm not a political prognosticator, but those who predict such things for a living were largely incorrect. They underestimated the extent to which Hoosiers and other Americans wanted fundamental change in Washington, D.C. The Trump campaign clearly represented fundamental change this election. Our campaign represented fundamental change and, so, we're going to change the way we do business."
On the mood of the nation Wednesday:
"The atmosphere is polarized. I refused to fix any names or blame to the following statement, but I think in too many instances in recent years, American has been pitted against American, and that sort of politics needs to end. I do believe that so much of the anxiety and fear that has existed across this country in recent years is on account of some very sweeping economic changes. America's dream is this notion that, as my dad would put it, if you dream big, if you work hard, good things will happen in life, tomorrow will be a little better than today. But America’s promise is that everyone should be able to participate in that, should be able to realize that dream. And Washington, D.C., has fallen short. That's why this was a change election, because people who haven’t even been involved in politics for some time, if ever, insisted that we try something new."
On Mike Pence as vice president:
"He is perhaps the most skilled communicator that I've served with when I was in Congress and communication skills are very important when it comes to laying out an agenda and persuading the American people of its merits. I also know that Mike Pence, he's a man of deep convictions, but he's prone to develop relationships with even people who have respectful disagreements with him on particular policy positions. Folks don’t always see that. I've seen that."
On repealing Obamacare
"I've always said it's better to work together in a bipartisan way to come up with a health care law that suits the needs of all Hoosiers, that actually controls costs, so that we might expand access, sustainably, incentivizing next-generation health care technologies. Obamacare does the exact opposite, which is why my preference has always been to repeal it and then to start over wherever we can. And we'll work together in a bipartisan way, which is not what happened with respect to Obamacare's passing. I don't know how many squeaky wheels will be out there pressing for full repeal of Obamacare. I will be pressing for a repeal of Obamacare. I've heard about the parade of horribles associated with this partisan law, and it's time that we work together to try and come up with a better model."
On whether he would support building "the wall":
"I don't know that one has ever defined what is meant by 'the wall,' right? We have fencing. We have extensive boots on the ground. We have drone aircrafts. I suspect that the solution that Republicans and Democrats alike will gravitate towards will be one that incorporates a variety of different security mechanisms to keep our southern border safe and secure in a measurable way."
On supporting deportation of all undocumented people living in America:
"I'm certainly not running affirmatively on it, and I have never before voiced my support for that approach. We first will focus on border security. That's always been my approach, and then we move on to the other aspects of immigration reform."
"Bipartisanship is not a good in itself. Bipartisanship is an instrument to try to and affect good policy changes. So I will reject bipartisan initiatives that are not good policy. I do not trust the wisdom of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate crowd. I will be my own person in the United States Senate, there to represent the commonsense Hoosier conservative values. I won't hesitate to disagree with bipartisan initiatives that I disagree with. I'm an unapologetic conservative."
On maintaining a Republican majority in the Senate
"Things like tax reform and regulatory reform that I've been actively involved in for the last couple of years and believe are key to creating more jobs that pay better for all Americans will have an opportunity, a fighting chance to advance in Washington, D.C. So I’m really excited about that prospect."
On coming back home from his term in Washington, D.C.
"My family loves Indiana. My wife loves Indiana. I do dream some day, admittedly, of living on an island uncomplicated by politics or policy issues and so forth, so I don’t know. I love Indiana. This will always be home and expect always to keep my main residence here."