Democrat Cinde Wirth says maintaining democracy is top issue in 6th District race

Cynthia “Cinde” Wirth, a Democrat running for Indiana’s 6th congressional district, speaks during an interview with the Daily Journal October 4 in Franklin.

Emilie Ketterer | Daily newspaper

Editor’s note: Democrat Cinde Wirth is one of two candidates for Indiana’s sixth congressional district. A Where They Stand interview with his opponent, incumbent Republican Rep. Greg Pence, can be found here.

Two candidates are vying to be the United States Representative for Indiana’s sixth congressional district.

Incumbent Rep. Greg Pence, a Republican seeking his third term, will face Democrat Cynthia “Cinde” Wirth in November’s general election. Indiana’s 6th Congressional District was recently redrawn following the 2020 census and will include all of Johnson County in this election. Previously, Johnson County was part of the 9th District, which is currently represented by Trey Hollingsworth.

Pence, of Columbus, has held the 6th District seat since first being elected in 2018. Wirth, an educator and small business owner also from Columbus, previously ran to represent District 59 in the Indiana House of Representatives during of the 2020 primary. She then ran for the Indiana State Senate in District 44 in that fall’s general election.

The Daily Journal sat down with Wirth to discuss issues facing both District 6 and the nation, inflation and their priorities, if elected. The questions and answers below include Wirth’s answers in his own words. It has been edited for length, grammar, and formatting.

What prompted you to run for this office?

I was a high school classroom teacher for 10 years, and from what I saw in my classroom, with the students, I realized that we have a big problem with our population and the support of our population. We have parents working two or three jobs, trying to raise families and that’s the number one problem I think people face today; that everything is a struggle and that there are hardly many middle class left. I was selected for a fellowship in Washington, DC to learn policy writing through the US Department of Energy. When I was in DC on this scholarship, I learned how…a well-written policy can improve people’s lives, including those of my former students and current students, and their families. That’s what really pushed me to run for this office.

» What are the most pressing issues facing the country? How do they relate to the issues facing this neighborhood?

I think we are faced with the choice of whether or not to maintain democracy. I think there is no gray area in this election. At all levels, we examine people who try to undermine the democratic process. We saw it on January 6 with the insurrection. We see this in Indiana Senate Bill 1 (which bans most abortions). We saw the rejection of that in Kansas, with their SB1-like laws that they put forward as a referendum, which we’re not able to do in Indiana. … We have a democratic process that works as long as we all support it. When we undermine the democratic process, it takes people’s voice away from the decisions that are made in Washington or at the Statehouse.

» What are your top three priorities and how will you execute them?

I think we need to work on codifying reproductive freedom, which would amount to upholding Roe v. Wade. It’s a priority because when we have these personal freedoms that start to erode, it just takes away more freedoms.

Public education is always one of my top priorities, and supporting public education with public funds is one of my top priorities. To be in the classroom and see how teachers have been deprofessionalized and face increased scrutiny from the general public only, from people who are inflaming issues that really aren’t issues. Public education is one of the biggest concerns I need to work on, and it can be done through federal means of accountability and testing, removing some of those barriers for teachers in the classroom; by eliminating some of the test procedures and retooling the entire system.

The other thing is health care. We are still in the health crisis. We are better than we were (before, but) I think health care needs to be completely decoupled from employment. We have a system… (where) health care is based on your job. We have additional systems that go beyond that, but if we have a whole federal system that… ties health care to the person and not the employer or the job, then people can make decisions for their employment and vocation not based on health care. Healthcare-based decisions for employment and vocation are the basis for many people making decisions about where they will work and what they will do. I had to make that decision myself, so I understand that.

Inflation is a big problem right now. How do you plan to help fix it?

One of the causes of inflation is the huge windfall profits of private companies, especially oil companies, and when you have windfall profits that are not taxed at the rate they probably should be, then the businesses have no incentive to do anything different. . … There are different ways of measuring inflation, depending on jobs and prices, things like that, but what is never examined is profit, the relationship between profit and inflation, and it was never done even as far back as the 1800s. It was tried and people who tried to do it were fired. They lost their jobs, so we never tried again.

There is a push right now towards greener and cleaner sources of energy, what do you think? Do you think the country is heading in the right direction?

Absolutely, we need to push for greener solutions. What we see Republicans doing is blowing hot air, if you will, trying to blame things just on partisan politics. I think we are in a global climate crisis. We know we are; we’ve known for over 30 years that we are and we’ve had Republicans at the helm and in control who didn’t make the decisions we should have made and we’re paying for it now. We are seeing an increase in storms, we are seeing an increase in temperatures. We need to turn off the carbon source at the tap, and one of the ways to do that is to look for alternative energy sources. It’s not something new.

What do you think of President Biden’s student debt relief plans?

I think that goes far enough to relieve people. I think it’s not something that takes anything away from people, it’s a relief. I view it as extremely positive and no different from the relief that was provided under the Paycheck Protection Program loans during the pandemic. These loans were totally forgivable and no principal or interest was repaid on any of these loans, whereas student loans, people have been paying for years and what we see disappearing is basically interest.

Today, people are increasingly concerned about the data that tech companies collect. What do you think and what should be done to address these privacy issues?

I think we have to protect data privacy. I think that’s a position where we can look to government regulations to provide structure to this and guidance. We have a lot of data in the big data world, and many people are taking advantage of it. I think that making profits at the expense of taxpayers, citizens and people is never a good idea. … There are a lot of cyber intelligence professionals out there, and I think there are a lot of beneficial things we can put in place to protect consumers and protect ordinary citizens.

What do you think of US aid to Ukraine? Are we too involved or not involved enough?

I think we have a responsibility to help maintain democracy where it exists and where it is desired. I think we support Ukraine and I support it, and I think it should be done. People need help from external threats when their country is invaded. I think when you remember that these are people who have a life and a family, it’s important.

» How will you communicate with voters?

I think there needs to be more interaction between representatives and their constituents on a regular basis. Regular town hall meetings, regular small group roundtables with stakeholders on different issues – like farmers – open-door forums, not closed-door forums. I have a strong belief, and it’s kind of at the heart of it all, that representative government represents people openly and doesn’t hide behind closed doors or big giveaway events.

What else would you like to say to voters?

My whole goal is to put people before partisan politics because, basically, people live in the 6th arrondissement. People have needs in the 6th arrondissement. … I think when a representative votes purely along partisan lines, he is gambling with the lives of hard-working people. Playing games with people’s lives is shameful; when you vote against capping insulin prices at $35, it hurts people. That’s the kind of thing I won’t do.


Last name: Cynthia (Cinde) Wirth

To party: democrat

Age: 53

Residence: Columbus

Family: Husband, Thirty; two children

Occupation: Teacher

Schooling: license University of Evansville; master’s degree from Indiana University; PhD in progress at Ball State University

Political experience: ran for state representative in District 59 in the 2020 primary election; ran for District 44 for the state senate in the 2020 general election.

Memberships: US Department of Energy, Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow Alumni; Sustainable Furniture Council; International Association of Caribbean Archaeologists; Society of American Archaeologists; licensed professional archaeologists; Sunrise Rotary (temporarily inactive); Bartholomew County Branch; Support from the Columbus Service League; Columbus Comprehensive Plan Committee; Town Center Merchants Association; Columbus Lacrosse Club; Bartholomew County Historical Society; Historical development of Columbus; Friends of the Commons; Rare Causes Committee; Columbus City Park Improvement Committee; Downtown Columbus Parking Committee; Educational Studies Society; Climate Reality Corps; Local 09000 – American Federation of Teachers; Indianapolis Women Leaders

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