Among the many qualities Hoosiers expect in their Washington, D.C., delegation, accessibility, moderation and independent thinking rank high.
We want representatives we can talk to and who will talk to us.
We want representatives who see things for what they really are and what they could be, not what they’re perceived to be.
We want representatives who don’t bow to every whim of the president or party leaders.
In the beginning, it wasn’t clear that new U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana, would have these qualities.
During his bitter campaign last fall to unseat incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly, Braun appeared in lockstep with President Trump on nearly every issue.
Plus, he consistently declined to talk to the press, including The Herald Bulletin and its editorial board.
And many moderate Hoosiers worried that Braun, a Jasper businessman and millionaire, would always side with big business and would turn ultra-conservative.
While these concerns are far from fully allayed, Braun is showing signs that he will be more accessible, more moderate and more independent of President Donald Trump than many believed.
He actually invited CNHI Statehouse Reporter Scott L. Miley to an hour-long interview Feb. 21 over breakfast at an Indianapolis restaurant.
We hope that Braun’s willingness to meet with reporters is an indication that he’s coming to view the press as less an enemy and more of an important part of the American tradition of making government officials accountable.
The freshman senator, acting independently, had cast one of just 16 dissenting votes in the Senate on a border security bill that avoided another government shutdown, saying he wouldn’t support a “dysfunctional system of out-of-control” spending.
In the breakfast interview Braun explained why he reluctantly supports President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to designate more funds for border security.
“I don’t like that because I think it sets a difficult precedent,” he said.
“I’m just OK with this in the sense that he ended up with so little that it was kind of round one officially over with his declaring a national emergency that probably is not going to get him much. There are other places within the budget where there are unappropriated funds that you could kick around and get more than the $1.37 billion.”
Braun also offered an explanation of his opinion, compared to that of the president, about the prospect of a border wall.
“I knew in my own mind it was not going to be a wall,” he said. “You don’t need a wall. And even President Trump has come around now to where it’s a barrier in places.”
In other words, the Senator is using common sense. And that, above all else, is what Hoosiers expect of our representatives in Washington.