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We are losing a fierce advocate and a great representative with Congressman Pete Visclosky’s retirement. I’m grateful to have gotten my own start in public service working for him as a federal projects coordinator, and I know he’ll be sorely missed across the Northwest Indiana community. But we will feel the loss of such a strong leader most acutely if we elect someone who isn’t ready to step up from Day One and hold Donald Trump and the Republican Party accountable.

I’m not afraid to stand up to powerful men who think the rules don’t apply to them, and I’m the only candidate in this race who has a record of doing just that. That’s why I am running to be your congresswoman.

After I was assaulted by our state attorney general, I didn’t go away quietly like the powers-that-be hoped I would. I stood shoulder to shoulder with three other women he targeted, and we fought back together, because it’s not just about our own experiences. It’s about every woman, every man, every child who is taken advantage of but does not have the means to fight back. We are fortunate to have a voice; others are not so lucky. I’ve fought for them, and every Hoosier who feels voiceless, every day in our state legislature, and that’s exactly what I’ll do in Congress.

Unlike other candidates, I’ve been standing up for my community and speaking truth to power my whole life. I was the first Latina elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 2006. Two years ago, my peers then elected me to lead the Democratic Caucus — a historically diverse caucus that is a majority women for the first time in state history.

I’m the candidate in this race who has been in the trenches, taking on the hard work of advancing our progressive agenda, and I proudly wear my record on my sleeve — whether it’s delivering lower prescriptions drug costs, ending surprise medical billing, protecting our communities from gun violence, defending our environment, preserving the coastline, or designing the cigarette tax that puts thousands more Hoosiers on healthcare every year.

I’ve seen and overcome the challenges of making big change; it’s why I’m ready to keep fighting these same fights in Washington.

We need to make health care affordable for every Hoosier. This includes reducing the cost of prescription drugs by incentivizing generic alternatives to come to market quicker. And it means I’ll fight like hell to stop Republicans who put insurance company profits over the lives and well-being of Hoosier families.

We can reduce gun violence by passing common sense gun safety laws, such as universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons.

We must combat climate change and protect our clean air and water. In doing so, we can create thousands of clean-energy jobs for the future, but it’s equally important that investments in our environment do not come at the expense of our manufacturing jobs, especially the union labor that supports our middle class.

And we will ensure decisions about a woman’s health always remain between her and her doctors—politicians should play no part in it. As your congresswoman, I will always stand with Planned Parenthood and protect every woman’s right to choose.

Northwest Indiana needs a proven fighter, armed with experience, who is unafraid to stand up to the powerful. And with a racist bully in the White House, and a Republican party fully committed to protecting him and enacting his dangerous agenda, the need for a progressive champion has never been clearer.

I’ll never back down in the face of the corrupt and powerful. I’ll always fight for our values, give a voice to the voiceless, and go to bat for Northwest Indiana. If you’d like to learn more about me and my campaign, please visit or connect with me on social media. I’d love to hear from you. And if you agree with me that we need to send an unflinching progressive fighter to Congress, then I hope you’ll join and volunteer. We can’t do this without your help!

Thank you for your consideration. I would be honored to earn your vote.

Mara Candelaria Reardon is a Democratic candidate for Indiana's 1st Congressional District. The opinions are the writer's.

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