My husband is Barry Welsh who is currently the Congressional Candidate in Indiana’s 6th District.  I usually write from a personal perspective of someone involved in a congressional campaign.  Barry is a minister of a small rural church in South Eastern Indiana; he is also a born and bred Hoosier who works hard to serve our community both on a local level and a statewide level.  Barry has always been a man of his word, he doesn’t lie, steal, cheat nor backs down from what he stands for.  I married him for some of those same qualities and have no regrets.

When Barry discussed the idea of running for congress, it was a well thought out and planned decision to run for office.  He took his time to make sure that I would be able to handle his being in politics, the campaigning and the personal sacrifices.  I supported him then and I support him now and I will always support him because he is what he is – what you see is what you get.  No matter what the circumstances, my husband has always made me proud of him.

I think I have learned that it takes a lot of patience; perseverance and hard work to run a campaign much less win one.  Even though we do not have the war chest that the current 6th Dist. Rep. Mike Pence has for advertising and funding a campaign, but I find it difficult at times to understand the position of some to be loyal to someone that has clearly worked for his own interests rather than for the people he represents.

One of the issues (and you can find a lot when viewing Barry’s website is the money that Pence has cut from our native Hoosier state when there is such economic crisis as there are to thousands of families living within the poverty level, people are getting their medicare/medicade cut, Veterans who are coming back from Iraq disabled who are trying to learn new trades with the skills they have left are finding their funding cut, I could go on and on naming the different cuts and difficulties that Pence has been responsible for.  People are really upset with the current administration and they are getting more and more frustrated with Mr. Pence – he seems to forget who the people of the 6th District in Indiana are.

This morning I was reading some of the comments on Barry’s website and came across this entry in response to one of our staff that wrote his own piece on the subject of the differing spending habits of our representatives.  Albeit that Barry didn’t write this piece but do I understand this correctly that the commenter had missed the point?  Let me be perfectly clear, we have volunteer staff, quality staff, people who are working everyday to make ends meet – none of us are rich, elitist nor are we uncaring or unfair people.  In this day of age, we have so many that have lost their jobs due to outsourcing, the smaller towns are drying up and people are overwhelmed with the struggle to exist let alone flourish and it’s a domino effect that is happening not just in our district, or state but the whole country. I don’t blame people for feeling resentful when they see such disparity or such hard heartedness when it comes to helping others.  

One staff member writes:

Pence Cuts Your Aid, Expenses Bottled Water
Interesting. While Mike Pence works to cut aid to those most in need, he uses campaign contributions from his large corporate donors to pay for his visits back to Indiana. While we work day in and day out to pay our bills and put food on the table, Pence spends the money of his friends in the banking industry on items as insignificant as a bottle of water at a gas station.
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., was reimbursed for a $1 “meal” at a local gas station, which his staff thinks was bottled water.
A Washington Post review of more than 200 House campaign finance reports filed with the FEC for the past year found that lawmakers from safe districts demonstrated widely differing spending practices. The reports were compiled by PoliticalMoneyLine, an independent, nonpartisan campaign finance Web site.
According to those records, Rep. Mark Edward Souder, a six-term Indiana Republican who was re-elected in 2004 with 69 percent of the vote, spent $45,027 in campaign operating funds last year.
In contrast, Pence, whose congressional district adjoins Souder’s to the south, spent $348,255 in 2005, plus $25,472 from his PAC, after winning a third term in 2004 with 67 percent support.
Pence sought reimbursement for 293 meals in 2005, for a total of $9,806. Most were fast-food or family-style restaurants, including Wendy’s, Arby’s, Ruby Tuesday and various pancake houses and pizza parlors, as well as convenience stores and airport concessions. Ninety-four of the charges totaled $10 or less.
“When Mike Pence campaigns, he campaigns as if he’s in a tight race,” said William Smith, Pence’s chief of staff. He said his boss prefers one-on-one meetings to big groups, which explains the small charges, and said items are often billed to the campaign, as opposed to the official account, to avoid potential ethics questions.
When you and I travel to work today, we will pay for it from our own pockets. We will pay for our meals from our own pockets. And if we decide to stop and get a bottled water, we’ll pay for that from our own pockets, too.
We don’t have the backing of the National Assn of Convenience Stores ($10,000), the New York Mercantile Exchange ($10,000), AT&T ($8,000) or even the US India PAC ($5,000).
We work for a living.

The anonymous commenter writes:

You know…..I have to just say, that this is one of the most seriously ridiculous uses of the Internet, I have ever had the misfortune to peruse. To be running for Congress, and slinging filth, and misrepresentative, statements about Mike Pence….and his having been reimbursed for a “lunch” that consisted of a “bottled water.”…I have to say, that it leaves much room for thought, consideration, and allegiance, to resident Congressman Pence,that his lunch would indeed consist of something so “outlandish” as a bottle of water. Mike IS working, day in and day out, for his constituents……..and instead of pandering to the masses…like, One Barry Welsh…..Mike’s been putting in long days and long nights. His lunches…not alcohol-laden, 4 hour dissertations on the best use of campaign funds, or establishment of “Blog sites,”…like this ridiculous use of Internet space by Barry Welsh….Mike is continuing to provide effective, and crucial leadership for the State of Indiana. Okay, as long as we’re comparing “apples and oranges,”…or “bottled water vs. tap water.”….Why doesn’t Barry Welsh share with us all, what his lunches have been consisting of, and who/what entity is responsible for reimbursement of same? Please,… utterly preposterous, ridiculous, and juvenile, to “lead” with such ridiculous commentary. Shows the residents of the state of Indiana, how much Mike has been able to accomplish, and how little there is to critique. What next shall Barry Welsh find to condemn Mike Pence on,…….Stay away from those Starbucks, Mike. How utterly ridiculous, Barry Welsh……!!!!! Not exactly making a phenomenal case for your skills of discernment,….or lack thereof.

My Comment:

By the way, neither Barry nor I have expensed ANY personal expenses to the campaign – lunches, meals, cost of gas, car repairs, dry cleaning – NOTHING!  We have made it a policy that we use whatever funds that are given strictly for legitimate campaign expenses such as yard signs, radio spots, advertising, etc.  We don’t expect people to fund our meals nor our gas nor any other expense that we need to operate.  This may be silly to some, but it’s how important it is to make a change, it’s worth paying for our own expenses.  We don’t have a lot of luxuries but then there are so many just like us – we are walking the talk not just spouting words about fiscal responsibility and criticizing the president for not being conservative as Mr. Pence does.  The article our staff wrote emphasizes the discrepancy between what Mike Pence says and what he does.

What do you think?

This is my diary and it has not been vetted through the campaign, it’s a personal perspective of a close up view of a congressional candidate’s campaign.

Thank you for taking the time to read my diary.


Sherri Welsh
Congressional Candidates Wife