INDIANAPOLIS – As the country continues to deal with rising inflation, questions over abortion access, and the war in Ukraine, IN Focus is sitting down with both candidates for Indiana’s 5th Congressional District: incumbent Congresswoman Victoria Spartz (R) and her opponent Jeannine Lake (D).
Speaking about the recently approved $40 billion aid package to war-torn Ukraine, Rep. Spartz feels this recent round of assistance better addresses the security and military needs of the country.
“If you look at the last package… only a couple billion were given to help Ukraine to defend the country with security assistance,” said Spartz.
As the first Ukrainian-born member of Congress, Rep. Spartz feels she can bring an important and unique voice to those suffering in the conflict.
“I probably have a much deeper perspective about what’s happening there, and I can be an asset on a bipartisan basis,” Rep. Spartz said. “All of us want to stop this nightmare.”
Rep. Spartz recently co-chaired a classified briefing with the House Oversight Committee to find out how U.S. funds were being spent. She considers the U.S. response to be more reactive than proactive in combatting Russian aggression. However, Rep. Spartz is pleased to see the recent actions.
“The cost of inaction is going to be so material and destabilize not just Ukraine, but the whole world with blocking ports and everything else,” Rep. Spartz said.
Rep. Spartz is also responding to a newly published report from Politico about a claims of a hostile work environment in her office. In response, Spartz said she needs a team willing to work long hours to get the job done.
“I’m not planning to be a lifetime politician, I’m going to do a great job for the republic and then go drink champagne on the beach,” Rep. Spartz said. “And to do that, I need to have people who want to work at the same pace. You have to have a team that is in sync with you and really wants to work long hours like I do.”
Turning to abortion access, Rep. Spartz was asked on recent calls from conservative lawmakers for a nationwide abortion ban. She feels that the issue has been politicized, especially after the high-profile leak from the Supreme Court signaling an end to Roe v. Wade.
Spartz says it’s an issue that should be left to the states to decide.
“I think this is an issue that needs to be decided by the Court… and I think people will have choices on what to do,” Rep. Spartz said. “I am not a Justice, I am a legislator. Ultimately, the states will have that decision to make.”
This year, Rep. Spartz will face Democrat Jeannine Lake in the November midterm elections. Lake previously ran for Congress in the 6th District, but now her potential constituency has moved because of redistricting. Speaking about her opponent, Lake says Rep. Spartz is making it hard for her constituents to reach out.
“You can’t really invite people to come into your home, and city, and county, if you’ve got a reputation… of being a person that’s hard to get along with,” Lake said,
On abortion access, Lake pushed back against a federal abortion ban, saying that it’s too much of a personal issue for many Americans, including herself.
“In my opinion, and in my personal experience, it’s really not an issue that belongs in the Court, in Congress… it is a very, very personal and deep issue,” Lake said.
In a social media post last week, Lake shared her own personal experience with date rape and abortion as a teenager
“For me and for my family, it was decision we made through prayer and counseling even,” Lake said. “I feel as if for me, it gave me a chance to regroup, recover, and restore.”
Lake feels that abortion access will be a “game changer” for the midterms. She hopes it will galvanize voters who wouldn’t normally turn out to cast a ballot.
“I believe that women are coming that normally would not have voted in a midterm,” Lake said.
Watch more reaction on abortion access from Indiana’s 5th District candidates and other lawmakers in the video above.