Friday, August 28, 2015 10:09 AM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY
LICK – It was a tumultuous month for U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly. He voted
to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood, one of just two Democrats to
do so, and sided with Republicans on opposing the Obama Administration’s
new Clean Power Rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.
And there is the festering HIV epidemic and heroin problem that are
gripping much of the state. Donnelly acknowledged the growing
scope of problems, particularly in rural areas. He told HPI of marching
in a parade recently, he and his staff throwing Tootsie Rolls to
children along the way. He noticed a mad scramble for the candy, and
then disheveled kids followed them asking for more. “And then it dawned
on me, this was their breakfast,” Donnelly said.
Politics Indiana sat down with Sen. Donnelly Friday evening at the
French Lick Springs Resort just before Donnelly went across the street
to address the Orange County Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on the array of
issues that have dominated headlines.
been quite a month for you, with your Planned Parenthood defund vote
that prompted Kathy Davis to resign from your campaign, and then your
position on the new EPA rules. Has it been one of the tougher periods in
your public service? Donnelly: It’s a
month where we’ve dealt with some of the more challenging issues that
face our country and people are passionate about. They all arrived at
the same time.
HPI: I wrote that there were
votes to give on Planned Parenthood, and your staff said it was a vote
of conscience for you. Walk me through how you came to your vote. Donnelly:
What I tried to do was what I always try to do, which is to do what’s
right for our state, our people and our country. The way I came to my
decision was I viewed a lot of the videos and Indiana’s Planned
Parenthood is fine. Gov. Pence had them inspected, they are following
the rules, following what they are supposed to do. Unfortunately, my
vote is not just about Indiana, it’s funding for all states. If you saw
some of those videos, there’s a real concern as to the way actions are
being taken, whether they comport with federal law. I felt an obligation
to make sure that all laws are being followed. That’s what the people
of Indiana expect of me. I have supported women’s health care time after
time after time, including federally qualified health centers.