Niemeyer aspires to bring ‘common sense’ to Washington D.C.

October 2, 2023

Dan Carden | October 1, 2023

LOWELL — A county official whose family name is synonymous with honorable representation in south Lake County is hoping to expand his constituency to all of Northwest Indiana.

Randy Niemeyer, a member of the Lake County Council for the past 10 months and the former president of the Cedar Lake Town Council, announced Sunday he is seeking the 2024 Republican nomination for Indiana’s 1st District U.S. House seat.

Niemeyer launched his campaign on a brilliantly sunny autumn day standing alongside his wife, Madeline, in front of a silvery milk transfer truck belonging to his family business as more than 100 sign-holding supporters cheered him on.

“The approach I’m going to take to government is the one I’ve taken my whole time in government, and in business — it’s common sense, folks,” Niemeyer said.

“This government has gotten way too big and way too out of control. If you elect me as your next congressman, and when you elect me as your next congressman, I will bring that common sense to Washington with me.”

Unlike some of the hard-liners in the current House Republican caucus, including several Hoosier congressmen, Niemeyer insisted he wants to work across party lines, with Democrats, particularly to rein in inflation and get the nation’s finances in shape.

“The most educated people in the world are serving in the United States government. And yet they’ve driven it nearly to bankruptcy. It’s time for people like me and people like you to have a voice in Washington,” Niemeyer said.

Niemeyer also believes the United States needs a common sense approach to its energy needs by returning to reliable coal, natural gas and oil, instead of prioritizing solar, wind and other renewable energy resources.

“I think all of us want to breathe clean air and drink clean water. But you don’t put a nation into poverty to do so,” Niemeyer said. “The quickest way to becoming energy independent and having a clean economy is through prosperity, and prosperity comes from cheap, efficient fossil fuels.”

Niemeyer additionally pledged to protect the sovereignty of the United States by advancing unspecified reforms to the nation’s immigration system.

“We are a nation of immigrants and I respect immigrants. In the industry I work in, in the dairy industry, many of the people working on these farms are immigrants, and I respect the heck out of them. They’re good, hard-working people,” Niemeyer said.

“There’s a right way to do this. The president of the United States, his administration and his party have decided to ignore the Constitution of the United States — and I say no more to that.”

Niemeyer, who also serves as Lake County Republican Party chairman, almost certainly is the favorite to win the GOP nomination as his track record and his family’s history of electoral success stretches back decades, including numerous victories by his cousin, state Sen. Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell, and his late uncle, former Lake County Councilman and state Sen. Ernie Niemeyer.

At the same time, Niemeyer readily acknowledged he faces an uphill climb in a likely general election match-up next year against two-term U.S. Rep. Frank J. Mrvan, D-Highland — in part because Democrats have continuously represented the 1st District for more than nine decades.

“We’ve got a big task ahead of us and it’s going to take a massive effort,” Niemeyer said. “(But) I am inspired to try to make a difference in Washington.”

“Washington is not dysfunctional because there’s too many of you serving there. It’s dysfunctional because there’s too many career politicians and Washington lawyers that run that city.”

Niemeyer’s campaign was immediately endorsed by, among others, his predecessor as Lake GOP chairman, state Sen. Dan Dernulc, R-Highland; and Jennifer-Ruth Green, the unsuccessful 2022 Republican nominee for Northwest Indiana’s U.S. House seat.

“Randy is a leader. A leader who loves God, a leader who loves his family, a leader who cares about us. He is so motivated to learn what we need. He also is such a man of principle and makes decisions that are best for Hoosiers,” Green said. “I’m incredibly excited to support his run.”

On the other hand, the Mrvan campaign promptly linked Niemeyer to Republican former President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again,” or MAGA, movement, whose House members nearly caused the federal government to shut down Sunday due to their failure to pass any spending measures during the 10 months prior to the Oct. 1 start of the new federal fiscal year.

“Congressman Mrvan is working every day in a collaborative and bipartisan fashion to continue delivering for the constituents of Indiana’s 1st Congressional District, including restoring women’s freedom to access reproductive health care, supporting organized labor and historic investments in infrastructure that benefit our great local steel industry, reducing seniors’ cost of prescription drugs, and providing veterans with expanded health care access,” Mrvan’s campaign said.

Sam Barloga, Indiana Democratic Party spokesman, said the contrast between Niemeyer and Mrvan could not be more clear.

“Frank has worked tirelessly delivering for Northwest Indiana, and supporting our strong union workforce. While Randy wants to see the government do nothing, Frank is building a record of investing in Hoosier jobs, taking on Big Pharma to lower prescription drug prices, and restoring women’s health care rights in Indiana and across the country. Unlike Randy, Frank has a track record of working across the aisle as vice chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Steel Caucus,” Barloga said.