Indiana State Senator Brent Waltz, 41, has been a lifelong resident of Johnson County. His family has been active in Indiana politics for four generations. Three of his four great grandfathers held elected office, two of them serving in what is currently the 9th Congressional District of Indiana. His uncle, Charles Henderson, served for 16 years (1995-2011) as Mayor of Greenwood – the largest city in the district. Waltz graduated from Center Grove High School as a National Merit Scholar in 1992. As a junior he placed sixth in the nation in public speaking at the Business Professionals of America National Conference, having been active in speech and debate since middle school. He was voted Most Valuable Player in the Indiana Academic Decathlon his senior year and won multiple medals in regional and state competition.
Waltz was active in Boy Scouts and earned his Eagle Scout at age 16, later being awarded bronze, silver, and gold palms to the rank for continue service. As part of his wilderness survival training he spent a week in the Morgan Monroe State Forest and was responsible for his own food, shelter, and fire. His first aid skills learned there became vital when, on a camping trip in southeast Kentucky, his cousin fell 60 feet from a cliff he was climbing. His cousin dislocated his hip and began going into shock. Waltz administered first aid, built a stretcher from several small trees and sweatshirts, lashed his cousin to the stretcher, and helped carry him over a mile in dense underbrush to their vehicle.
He graduated Wabash College in 3 ½ years cum laude as a history major and political science minor. He was elected by his fellow students President of the Wabash College Republicans his freshman year and took their membership from 7 to over 50 within 12 months. He was one the four original founders of the Wabash Commentary, a conservative magazine that has been in continuous publication for over 20 years. In his spare time he earned a place on the Wabash rowing team and competed regionally with the team.
In addition to his business and political accomplishments, Waltz has been active in a variety of community activities. He has served on the St. Francis Hospital Foundation, the Columbia Club Foundation, and the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Board of Advisors. He has been published in the Indiana University School of Law Review (included herein).
After his graduation from Wabash College, Waltz became the youngest Registered Investment Advisor in Indiana. He founded an investment company, The Baron Group, Inc., when he was 22 years old and remains its President nearly two decades later. The company specializes in venture capital, mergers, and acquisitions in the transportation and manufacturing industries. In 2001 Waltz and two partners started logistics firm Velox Express, Inc. The company went from less than $1000.00 in its first week of operations to over $12 million in 2014 annual sales. The company has 14 offices in 7 states (Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida) and employs over 300 people. In 2003 The Baron Group negotiated on behalf of a group of investors the lease of the $180 million Indianapolis Airport Maintenance Center previously used by United Airlines for the maintenance of its aircraft.
In 2011 The Baron Group assisted in the turnaround of Raydar, Inc. – a manufacturing company near the Crane Naval Air Station within the 9th Congressional District. Waltz restructured the company’s debt and other obligations and remains active as an equity partner. Raydar is developing a second facility in northern Illinois as part of its expansion strategy.
Financial Literacy. Waltz has served for several years on the Indiana State Senate Appropriations Committee and is the ranking member of its Pensions and Labor Committee. In the 11 years he has served in the Senate he has undertaken several important causes. During his 2008 reelection campaign he promised to make financial literacy part of Indiana’s public school curriculum. He realized that the financial crisis could have been mitigated had citizens been more aware of the dangers surrounding credit card debt, adjustable rate mortgages, student loans not dischargeable by bankruptcy, and other common mistakes that a lack of financial knowledge can cause. Indiana now has one of the strongest financial literacy programs in its public schools in the United States.
Newborn Screening. A constituent wrote him describing the death of her six week old daughter Cora due to an undiagnosed heart defect. She was devastated not only by the loss of her child but also because a $5.00 test called pulse oximetry could have saved her child’s life. By measuring the blood oxygen level in a newborn, pulse oximetry testing would save an estimated 10-20 lives in Indiana annually. Waltz added this provision to Indiana’s budget in 2009 and it remains in place to this day. One hundred Hoosiers are likely alive today as a result of this screening.
Ombudsman for Child Services. When he was first elected, Indiana had a significant challenge regarding its Department of Child Services (DCS). There had been several high profile child deaths just days after case workers had visited their families. There was no oversight for the department and many constituents had difficulty holding the department accountable. Waltz secured funding for an ombudsman outside of DCS to provide an independent assessment of the department and its services. The ombudsman has been a responsive solution to a very serious issue for Indiana’s children.
Veterans’ court. In 2014 Waltz organized a campaign to establish an ongoing funding source for the veterans’ courts in Indiana. Indiana has the largest per capita percentage of Iraq and Afghan War veterans in the United States. Sadly, many of these men and women are having a difficult time readjusting to civilian life. Many have succumbed to drug or alcohol abuse, domestic abuse, or other acts of violence. While not excusing these crimes it is important to afford these veterans the opportunity to treat the underlying causes of these issues caused by their readjustment process. Veterans’ courts have been proven to be an effective way to identify these former soldiers at risk and provide them the treatment they need. Although these courts exist in Indiana, they had been existing on short term grants without any guarantee of long term funding. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Waltz invited one of these courts’ judges to testify as to their importance, and a $530,000 annual appropriation was included in the budget for 2015-2016.
Legislative Organization Scores
Given the conservative nature of the 9th Congressional District the organization scores of the National Rifle Association, Indiana Right to Life, and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce seem to be the most relevant.
Senator Waltz’s scores with these respective organizations are as follows:
- National Rifle Association: Card carrying Life Member, A+ ranking.
- Indiana Right to Life: 100% voting record in the 11 years in the Indiana Senate.
- Indiana Chamber of Commerce of pro jobs, pro economy rating: 90% in 2014.
Waltz has been active in local and state politics since he was a teenager, volunteering on numerous campaigns before he decided to seek elected office himself. At age 26 he received a phone call from a longtime family friend who suggested that he run as a candidate for At Large Johnson County Councilman. The call came the morning of the filing deadline for the 2000 election and he had 75 days to organize a primary campaign in a county with a population of 120,000. There were five candidates seeking three positions. All other candidates were existing officeholders (two incumbents to the council). In the May 2000 Republican primary Waltz placed second of the five candidates and led the ticket in the November general election. He was elected Council Vice President his second year in office and served as Council President his last two years on the Johnson County Council. As President he oversaw balanced budgets, no tax increases, and pay increases for law enforcement.
After the 2001 legislative redistricting State Senate District 36 was drawn to include more of Johnson County. The district had been held by State Senator Larry Borst for 36 years. Borst had been Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee for 32 years – longer than Waltz had been alive. The district was divided between Marion County (65%) and Johnson County (35%), with Borst certain to be the slated candidate in Marion County. Borst tremendous fundraising and organizational advantages as well. His campaign was led by former Indiana Republican Chairman Mike McDaniels and spent nearly $400,000 in the 2004 primary. Waltz developed a strategy to overcome these disadvantages. He convinced another former Indiana Republican State Chairman, Rex Early, to chair his campaign. Then he secured the endorsement of several conservative groups, including Indiana Right to Life. He began walking door to door in early February and continued virtually every day until the primary election. After a successful direct mail effort, Waltz defeated Borst in what has been described as one of the greatest upsets in Indiana political history at the age of 30. He defeated Perry Township Teacher’s Union President Terry Rice in both the 2004 and 2008 general elections, and defeated State Representative Mary Ann Sullivan in November 2012.
Why I Would Make The Best Candidate
I always defer to the collective wisdom of the voter in deciding who is best equipped to represent them in elected office. That is particularly true when it is uncertain who else will seek to represent the 9th Congressional district. I can only rely on my record and achievements in politics, business, and public service to suggest that I am well qualified for serving in the United States House of Representatives. I have represented my community in both local and state government for the past 15 years. My campaigns have been against the strongest of opponents in both primary and general elections. I have held firm in my convictions and beliefs while representing my constituency to the best of my ability. I am proud of my accomplishments in business and serving my community. I pledge to devote myself to the challenge of being a candidate for Congress and, if elected, will work hard to earn the trust of my constituents and nation. -Brent Waltz