In less than three years on Fort Wayne's City Council, Liz Brown has built a reputation she hopes to parlay into the Republican nomination to represent the 3rd District in Congress.
She pegs that reputation clearly: “My detractors think I'm mean and aggressive,” she said. “My supporters like my directness and cutting through the b.s.”
Beyond making a mark with sometimes polarizing style, Brown has tackled key areas of city spending. As revenue fell, she pressed for city workers to share the pain with no raises and low raises – moves that department heads have sometimes worked around. She has pushed for a harder look at benefits, especially retirement benefits that will present an increasing burden to taxpayers as baby boomers retire. She routinely bird-dogs details of spending in proposals brought before council and sometimes leads in shooting down arguably bad deals for the city. And she has successfully pressed the mayor's administration to disclose more details of large professional-services contracts given to consultants.She intends to bring the same taste for scrutiny to Congress.
Among her top priorities:
• Reforming health care reform. “Americans are not as concerned about quality and access to health care, but rather its cost – which this bill did not contain. We need to go back and cut out the middleman, especially the federal government,” she says on her website. Her husband, Steve, is a cardiologist.
• On jobs, Brown says freeing up more money for Americans to spend and invest is the key to job creation. “Congress should not increase the death tax, should not increase the capital gains tax and should let individuals, who know their needs best, decide how and when to spend their own money,” she said on her website.
• To reduce the deficit, Brown said on her website, “We cannot afford to take over any more companies or banks. The deficit is choking us, and we need to reduce our fixed costs to ensure the stability of our country's finances in the future.” In an interview, Brown said bringing the federal budget back toward balance must entail examining entitlement spending, too. “You have to look at Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security … but you're going to have to work really slowly,” she said.