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Pat Miller Interviews Jim Banks on WOWO

Jim was on WOWO's Pat Miller show yesterday afternoon. If you missed the program you can listen to the interview below. A transcript of the conversation follows below.

Pat Miller:

On this day a good friend sitting here in the newsmaker chair over my left elbow there, one Jim Banks. Jim, good afternoon to you, sir.

Jim Banks:

Hey Pat, it's great to be with you.

Pat Miller:

Are you aware we had a primary election yesterday in the state of Indiana?

Jim Banks:

I think I saw a few commercials, heard a few radio commercials along the way. So, I was definitely aware. While it was an exciting night for me, of course, to win the primary election. But it was an interesting night in other ways.

Pat Miller:

It was really wierd wasn't it? We did the program here last night, Ryan Wrecker and I were on the air here until 10. First of all, very glad to have you go into that position. I know it's meant a lot to you and I think it will be rewarding and good to have you functioning in that office. So first of all congratulations to you for that.

Jim Banks:

Thank you very much.

Pat Miller:

When I looked at the races of people where I wish they won didn't win, they still won in this area of the state. I don't mean this to sound weird or sound awkward. Is it just me or does it seem like northeast Indiana and Indiana have become two seperate entities? It's like we're totally different.

Jim Banks:

This is the most Republican part of the state but it's also the most conservative part of the state. I think we saw that in the results with Marlin winning handily in his home congressional district.

Pat Miller:

In his run for Senate, yep.

Jim Banks:

Ted Cruz won by 500 votes in Allen County. This is a conservative part of the state, and Pat, I know I'm at WOWO today, but I think WOWO is a big part of that. The conservative voice that WOWO has in northeast Indiana I believe is a big part of why we are as big a conservative area as we are.

Pat Miller:

Well the first thing I want you to do, and I've thought of this - we have some other good friends in the room so I know you'll back me up on this, we have North Dakota/South Dakota; North Carolina/South Carolina, so I'd like for you in your first act as a Congressman, I would like for us to seceed and become Northeast Indiana.

Jim Banks:

I'll have to look into that

Pat Miller:

You could be our first governor and all sorts of cool stuff. It had to be very rewarding for you to win a race which, I know you and a lot of people felt pretty good about your race, but when it gets divyed up six different ways alot of stuff can happen in the mix there, and especially those of you who were at the top there at the vote-getting at the end - all capabile people, all pretty aggresive campaigns, you know... can I ask you think because this has never happened to me - I get negative stuff said about me on air, which I know is a shock, but when there are other ads from other people, we won't say from the whos, but you know other people you've worked with and now they're taking swipes at you on the air... how does that feel? Are you like, really? You're doing this to me here, really? That's the ugly side of politics, isn't it?

Jim Banks:

Well, Pat, from the beginning of this campaign we committed that we would run a positive, issues-oriented campaign. I'm very proud of the campaign we ran and ultimately that's why we were successful in the Republican primary election. I believe the voters in this district deserve that type of vision, a postivie vision we laid out talking about my record as a conservative Indiana State Senator, as a Navy Reserve officer, an Afghanistan War veteran, as a business leader in northeast Indiana, why we thought I was the best candidate to lead the district and represent the district in Washington. That's why I'm proud of the campaign that we ran. From time to time it was tempting to get in the gutter with some of my opponents whose campaigns were more focused on the negative side of campaigning, but we chose not to go there I'm very proud that we did that.

Pat Miller:

Now that it is the day after, as good as you felt about the decision not go there, aren't you really, really glad that you 
never did go there, that makes the victory feel better, doesn't it?

Jim Banks:

It does, it's hard to say what the outcome would have been if we would have got into the gutter with a couple of our opponents. I don't know what would have happened. I believe a number of voters rejected that type of negative campaigning and voted for me because we were the campaign that truly was casting a positive coservative vision for moving America future and talking about my own merits rather than talking about why you should vote against one of my opponents. So yeah, I'm very proud of the campaign that we ran.

Pat Miller:

You step into the Third District, a seat that has been held by Marlin Stutzman for the last several years. Before that it was Mark Souder. Both of them politically very conservative, very strong Constitutionally and usually, fiscally, took all the right stands for everything they did while they were in office. Do you sense that because of that, not that there is an added burden on you, but do you really feel the desire to keep carrying that banner or that it becomes less conservative or that it's from their root that you pick it up and take it on from there?

Jim Banks:

Absolutely, I have big shoes to fill. Marlin Stutzman, I heard form him last night. He was gracious to reach out to me. I also spoke with former Congressman Mark Souder and I heard from Senator Dan Coats last night. Those are the last three Republican Members of Congress from this district and I have big shoes to fill in that regard. Especially with Marlin Stutzman, someone who I admire so greatly as a consistent conservative voice, a conservative leader in Washington. That's exactly what I want to be when I get there to, someone the district can look to and say we're proud to have a conservative voice in Washington who represents the district very well just like Marlin did.

Pat Miller:

Yesterday was a day full of political wierdness. I mean it just was. I was part of rallies in the last several days. We covered all of them in the area but I was personally involved with rallies for Cruz at the Grand Wayne Center. I don't know that I was stunned that Cruz lost yesterday. The distance of the victory surprised me a bit. I certainly didn't wake up yesterday morning thinking he'd be withdrawing from the race by the end of the night. You're now left going to be going into Congress facing probably a President Clinton or a President Trump. In light of those two, where you have Mrs. clington - liberal, Democrat, and Donald Trump, the biggest moniker of him isn't that he's this barnstorming conservative. He may have some conservative ideas but he's not in this Souder/Stutzman/Banks brand of conservativsm. So do you think it's really a good think that we have as many conservatives as possible in the House and the Senate because the checks and the balances become so much more important.

Jim Banks:

Pat you hit the nail in the head. If we will keep and protect this constitutional republic that we have that makes this the greatest country in the world we need Members of Congress with a backbone who will step up and protect the Constitutional role of government and protect the way our Founders created the government to operate. The legislative branch chekcing the authority of the exectutive brance. I believe what we have in Washington today is a leadership problem in Congress on both sides of the aisle. Why we were so fed up with leadership under Speaker Boehner and leaders before him was that they didn't do that. They allowed the executive, President Obama, to overreach and do things the executive shouldn't have the authority to do without checking it from the seperation of powers perspective. That's the type of constitutional conservative I hope to be if I get to Congress to be part of a new generation in Congress who will step up and protect the Constitional form of government no matter who the President of the United States will be.

Pat Miller:

You have the great divide in the House between Republican and Democrat but then within the party you have little break-ups like the Congressional Black Caucus and things like that. But there are some conservative groups, some that for example Marlin were a part of, but also Jim Jordan, Amash, Dan Webster from Florida. Do you see yourself as soon as you get there hoping to align yourself with the more conservative side of things in the Republican Party

Jim Banks:

Yes, Congressman Stutzman was actually a founding member of the Freedom Caucus. He was one of those 30 or so conservatives who made up the conservative backbone of the House of Representatives. I'm very proud and was very proud throughout the primary to have the support of their political arm, the House Freedom Fund - which represented the political arm of the Freedom Caucus. They supported me, Congressman Jordan, their leader, supported me. That's because I was the only candidate in the primary who would align with them and become a part of the Freedom Caucus. I look forward to that. Moving forward the opportunity I have to be part of a new generation of conservative leaders in Washington to continue to build that conservative core is very exciting for me.

Pat Miller:

Does that feel wierd that after all this planning and campaigning, this thing is really going to happen?

Jim Banks:

It's still sinking in but we're still focused on November. I know this is the most Republican district in the state but we're not taking anything for granted. We've ramped the campaign back up even beginning today to prepare for the November election. With this being such an unusal election year we can't afford to take anything for granted, even in the Third District of Indiana.

Pat Miller:

With the odd thing going on at the top of the ticket where we started with 17 candidates for the Republican side for President and all of the theatrics and everything that has gone on. It's almost like the oddness of this campaign cycle has filtered down everywhere and it's almost like nothing makes sense. You were one of it was six candidates. What is it going to be like with the other five and is life okay?

Jim Banks:

I heard from a few of my opponents last night congratulating me and I'm grateful for that. I had five very worthy opponents in this race and each of them brought something to the table that was unique and made them qualified to serve the district if they had been elected. So that makes it that much more humbling to win when you have a field of very qualified candidates who also worked very hard. We kicked off the campaign a year ago. I think at that point three or four of the six candidates had jumped into the race a year ago as soon as Congressman Stutzman announced he was running for Senate. I know they worked hard because everywhere I went I had to look into the eyes of my opponents. That made me a better candidate and I think it will make me a better Congressman because of the hard work it took to win the election. So I'm grateful the other candidates stepped up to run and made it a spirited race.

Pat Miller:

The six of you represented so many different angles. You had people who served with you in the same house down at the state house. You had someone who was a successful farmer who had never served in an office. You had one who served in the state house of a different state. There were so many different avenues and everything it wasn't like everyone was cut from the same mold. It really was a varied argument we had going.

Jim Banks:

That's right, geographically we all came from different areas, we had different backgrounds and brought different pespectives. I think that's what is great about our country is the election process that we have that allows for anyone to step up, put their name on the ballot and run for an office and that's what will make our Republic stronger.

Pat Miller:

I know when I stepped into the booth I thought when you served at the statehouse you were okay but when you were gone your wife did a great job so I thought maybe we should keep that going. I had to get that in there. When you get down there in January, when you place your hand on the Bible, take the oath and step into that seat, everything else aside, what is the 1, 2, 3 bullet points that you say this is something I'd really like to sink my teeth into once I hit DC.

Jim Banks:

Well I heard from Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, this morning who called me to congratulate me and he asked me the same question. I told him it is my desire to serve on the Armed Services committee. We've never had a member of congress from the Third District who served on that committee. So what a powerful role that would be to be an advocate for the 122nd right here in Fort Wayne to help protect it and grow.

Pat Miller:

Because there are some decisions coming up about the 122nd that could be pretty important.

Jim Banks:

That's exactly right, but it's also an opportunity for me to lend a very unique perspective as being the only candidate in the country who was recently deployed to a comabat zone, to Afghanistan, who knows what our troops face on a daily basis and be a voice for rebuilding our military so that we can meet our challenges and our enemies at home and abroad. I'm deeply concered as someone who has recently served that this military has been weakened so much under the current administration that we we're not prepared to face the enemies we will face in the near future. So I told the Speaker that I wanted to serve on the Armed Services Committee and he welcomes that conversation so I look forward to continuing that.

Pat Miller:

You know with Paul Ryan, you obviously have never served in the House under Speaker Boehner and Speaker Boehner that he was someone who wanted to hold the reins on so tightly. It seems like from the outside looking in that maybe Paul Ryan isn't as conservative on paper as you for example but that he gives you more room to exercise your conservatism. Do you sense that with him?

Jim Banks:

It's hard for me to say at this point but what I do appreciate this morning is that he's visionary. He even spoke with me on the phone this morning about entitlement reform issues and those issues he's been talking about for years. To move our economy forward, grow the economy and pay down that $19 million national debt that is negatively impacting our economy and will inhibit the growth of jobs in this economy for many years to come if we don't do anything about it. I appreciate that type of leadership. I said earlier today that I believe what we have in Washington is a leadership problem. I've had a front row seat to what leadership looks like in the Indiana state House for the past six years under David Long whos a true leader who addresses problems and solves problems. That's the type of leadership we need in Washington, D.C. are those who step up to the plate, make tough decisions to solve the problems as we face as a nation. We have that in Indiana, we don't have that in Washington, D.C. and that's what I want to be a part of restoring.

Pat Miller:

Something that I should know that I don't, your seat down in the State House, what happend with that seat?

Jim Banks:

I would eventually resign that position and I would be replaced in a caucus, just like I did when I went to Afghanistan. Even though that was a temporary replacement when my wife Amanda took my place, it would be a permanent replacement when that time comes. I don't know when that time comes, probably after the November election, I don't want to be presumptious.

Pat Miller:

Is that something that is up to the governor?

Jim Banks:

It's up to the Republican precinct committeemen.

Pat Miller:

Well, again, congratulations to you. I know probably the first thing you want to do is to go home and go to bed for about three days. Campaigning is greuling, it's absolutely grueling. I don't know how you poeple do it, you can't even go out for dinner with our family, you feel like you're out on parade.

Jim Banks:

I'm very proud of the campaign we worked very hard. We'll have time to rest later right now we're preparing for the November election.

Pat Miller:

Thanks for coming in

Jim Banks:

Thank you Pat

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