Monday, September 08, 2008

nice article in the Dubois County Herald

Libertarian offers third option for 9th

Herald Staff Writer

Eric Schansberg meets many people with varying opinions on his candidacy for the District 9 U.S. congressional seat.
"I meet a range of people, from those who are apathetic to those who are really excited to have an alternative," the Libertarian candidate said. "There are a lot of people who are not happy with the Democrats or Republicans right now."

"People are frustrated a lot by politics, especially since things have gotten tougher."

Schansberg hopes that frustration will play in his favor. The 43-year-old Jeffersonville resident and economics professor at Indiana University-Southeast, in New Albany, is making his second run for the House of Representatives.

"It's my profession to do public policy," he said. "I bring more expertise to the table."

Schansberg will campaign at the Dale Fall Festival parade Saturday. He's also indicated his willingness to participate in a debate at the Jasper Arts Center in October, something he also did at the center in 2006. In the meantime, he plans to continue canvassing the 9th District to meet voters and let them know what he is about.

"When they meet me, they're like, 'Oh, an economist. Maybe a little economics expertise would help.'"

Others aren't as optimistic. "I meet some people who say they really respect (me) but they are worried about me taking votes from one of the other candidates," Schansberg said. "People have told me, 'You have no chance, but I respect you for your effort.'"

Both of Schansberg's opponents have served as 9th District congressman — Republican Mike Sodrel for one two-year term and Democrat incumbent Baron Hill for four terms. While that could make Schansberg's challenge more difficult, "it's also easier because they must run on their record," Schansberg said. "Both parties have controlled Congress and there's a frustration that things aren't getting done. They don't move on important issues, or they didn't move on them when they were in control."

Schansberg's wife, Tonia, supports his run, but she and their children — Zachary, 9, Brennan, 8, Joseph, 5, and Daniel, 3 — aren't on the front lines with him. He doesn't want his family to become a campaign focus.

"My family has played a significant role in minor areas. They have helped out," he said. "But I want to talk about the issues."

But his family life does reflect his beliefs. For instance, two of his children are adopted. "I am pro-life. But too many times, pro-lifers are just anti-abortion," he said. "We need to promote adoption, not just be anti-abortion."

Schansberg took off from teaching this summer to work on his campaign materials, such as advertisements, to help him better maintain quality family time during the campaign. "I'm home most every night," he said. "I wouldn't do this (run for Congress) if it kept me away from my family."

Schansberg has challenged Hill to a debate on gas prices, and he'd like to talk about decreasing the payroll tax. "Eighty percent of wage earners lose more to (Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes) and payroll taxes than to income taxes," Schansberg noted. "Republicans talk about cutting income taxes. Of those taxes collected, the wealthy pay 99 percent of those. Democrats are satisfied with criticizing Republicans for cutting those taxes."

Schansberg knows he has an uphill battle ahead of him. But he feels the effort is worthwhile. And if elected, he would work with the other representatives despite their party affiliation.

"It would be an opportunity to make some noise on the issues no one will discuss," he said. "I know one person can't do it all alone, but we must send someone there. Do you send someone who won't say anything? Or do we want someone who will actually speak up?"
Contact Candy Neal at