NORTH WEBSTER - With the U.S. House of Representatives back in session under new Speaker Mike Johnson, 3rd District Congressman Jim Banks and 2nd District Congressman Rudy Yakym were unable to attend Thursday’s Kosciusko County Republican Party Hall of Fame Dinner in person.
Banks was scheduled to be the night’s keynote speaker, with Yakym offering remarks.
Instead, the two men spoke to the Republicans at The Owl’s Nest in North Webster via Zoom.
Yakym said, “We are now back to work in Washington, D.C. Last week we elected Speaker Mike Johnson the 56th speaker of the House. He’s a rock solid conservative, a Christian, one of the most solidly fundamental conservative Christians we had in maybe 100 years. And he’s already off to a running start.”
The “very first thing” the House did last week, he said, was pass a pro-Israel resolution that had over 400 co-sponsors.
“What Hamas has done on Oct. 7 amounts to the worst atrocities against the Jewish nation that we have seen since the Holocaust. The world has watched in horror and what they’ve done to Jews in the nation of Israel. And the United States unequivocally stands with them (Israel),” Yakym stated.
He talked about Hamas being supported by Iran.
“Iran has done very well under the Biden administration. As a matter of fact, I’ve had my team pull some numbers, and the very first year that Joe Biden was president, Iran’s GDP grew by 50%. That’s because we’ve allowed them to go around our oil embargo, our oil sanctions,” Yakym said, adding that Iran has used that money to fund terrorism against Israel.
He said Israel has an “absolute” and lateral right to defend themselves.
Anti-semitism is showing up on college campuses, Yakym said. “Liberal college campuses have allowed anti-semitism to creep across the entirety of this nation and it has to stop, and we’re working on legislation to call that out and condemn it.”
The House is back to passing appropriations bills and Yakym estimated that by Friday evening, the House will have passed between 80 to 85% of the appropriations bills that are needed to fund government. Unfortunately, he said, Democrats in the Senate led by Chuck Schumer are “doing nothing” and they need to take up the appropriations bills and get them passed.
Yakym then introduced Banks, who is seeking the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mike Braun, who is running for Indiana governor.
“Rudy and I would much rather be with you than stuck here in the swamp, but this week we’re doing what you all pay us to do - to come to Washington, what you elect us to do, and represent you and fight for our conservative Hoosier values here on Capitol Hill,” Banks said.
He said he and Yakym were doing everything they could to cut wasteful spending, secure the border and to hold Joe Biden “and the most corrupt administration in American history accountable for what they’re doing to our country. And, folks, that’s saying a lot after the Clintons served in the White House.”
Banks called Biden “the most corrupt president ever to sleep in the White House,” and said it was his goal and his hope that Biden would be impeached before the end of this current Congress “to make sure that no other president in the future of this great country ever thinks that they can get away with what this president and his family have done to sell out this country in such a big way.”
Serving in his fourth and final term in the U.S. House, Banks said Indiana is a conservative state and deserves a conservative fighter “to shake it up in the United States Senate.”
Tired of the go-along-to-get-along Republicans who vote with the Democrats for more spending and to sell the country out, Banks said, “Not on my watch. I promise you that when you make me your next United States senator, I’m going to fight for this country in a big way, to move us forward, to get our country back on track, to put America first in a way that you deserve your United States senator to fight for each and every day.”
He noted that he has two Democrats running against him and a “Democrat trying to run against me on the Republican side.”
In September, John Rust filed a lawsuit alleging that an Indiana law that could potentially bar him from appearing on the May ballot was unconstitutional.
Banks said Rust was a “lifelong Democrat” who is suing the state to strike down Indiana’s ballot access laws.
“We’re not going to let him get away with it, and we’re not going to let Democrats take over the Senate seat from Indiana. We’re going to keep the Indiana Senate seat Republican, and fight to win back the Senate majority for Republicans and retire Chuck Schumer, keep the majority and grow it in the House so we never have someone like Nancy Pelosi in the Speaker’s chair, keep Speaker Mike Johnson in the speaker’s chair and then, ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to do everything we can between now and November of 2024 to win back the White House,” Banks said, adding his full support for Donald Trump to return to the presidency.
He called Trump, who endorsed Banks for the U.S. Senate, “the best president of my lifetime.”
Indiana Secretary of State Diego Morales and Indiana Treasurer Daniel Elliott spoke briefly, followed by comments by 3rd District U.S. House candidates Grant Bucher, Jon Kenworthy, Tim Smith and Mike Felker.
Kosciusko County Republican Central Committee Chairman Mike Ragan - who celebrated his birthday Thursday - then announced the GOP Woman of the Year as County Councilwoman Kimberly Cates and the Man of the Year as Indiana State Rep. Craig Snow.
Cates’ only comment was, “There’s so many women who deserve this more than I, and I’m very appreciative and thank you.”
Snow said, “Thank you! This was unexpected. I really haven’t done a whole lot yet, I’m still working on it, but it has been a joy and an honor to represent you all, and I’ve got to tell you, it’s nice to have friends like Rep. (David) Abbott and Sen. (Ryan) Mishler alongside me to try to get stuff done. It’s not always easy, but it’s been enjoyable learning the process and meeting a lot of great people. Thank you so much for this and just the recognition, I appreciate it. I’m still trying to figure out how to fill Dave Wolkins’ shoes, they’re so big, so we’ll keep working on that, but thank you so much.”