ICYMI: “Randy on the Road” videos highlight blue collar credentials of Republican congressional candidate

May 25, 2024

Dan Carden – NWITimes.com – May 25, 2024

The Republican seeking to represent Northwest Indiana in Congress is taking a unique approach to highlight his blue collar bona fides as he tries to end more than nine decades of Democratic control of the Hoosier State’s 1st Congressional District.

Lake County Councilman Randy Niemeyer, R-Cedar Lake, since December has posted nearly two dozen short videos on social media platforms that typically feature Niemeyer speaking from behind the wheel of a milk tanker truck as he delivers milk from dairy farms to dairy processors across the Midwest.

It’s a familiar seat for Niemeyer, who has logged more than 3 million miles over 28 years hauling for Niemeyer Milk Transfer Inc., a fourth-generation family business.

But, like many 24/7 operations, it’s hardly a glamorous life. Niemeyer’s earliest “Randy on the Road” videos show him waiting to make milk deliveries on cold winter nights at cheese plants in Wisconsin, Chicago and elsewhere, including on Christmas Eve, the day after Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

“Dairy farming and livestock farming goes 365 days a year. There’s never a break,” Niemeyer said. “Remember: While you’re enjoying your food someone is producing it, someone is hauling it, someone has to be at these plants to manufacture it and someone is selling it. So give a shout out to all those people.”

Niemeyer is hopeful that populist message resonates in a Region where hard work and long hours are a way of life for many — in contrast to the serious and silly policies, and sometimes outlandish personalities, for which the current Congress is known.

“Ask yourself a question: How many members of your Congress, who are serving right now, are doing the work that I’m doing right now? I can answer that question. None. I’m the only one,” Niemeyer said in his Dec. 26, 2023, video.

“If you want to elect someone that’s like you, that works at all times day and night, and who will work very hard the same way I do now, once elected, you’ve found your guy.”

Niemeyer’s videos aren’t just campaign ads, however. He also takes time to celebrate National Milk Day (Jan. 11) and National Pizza Day (Feb. 9), praises the hearty breakfasts and insightful conversations on offer at Main Street Cafe in Crown Point, and urges high school students to consider pursuing careers in the carpenters’ union and other building trades.

Subtly connecting each of the videos is Niemeyer emphasizing to the viewer that “we have a whole bunch in common” — even if he is a Republican — “and your perspective in Washington needs to be represented.”

“My family has been deeply invested in this community, in Northwest Indiana, for many years. We’re blue collar people, we’re hard working. We do work that matters, just like you do. That perspective is important to be represented in Washington D.C. I’ll bring that with me when I vote on bills, when I legislate. It’s not always just about party. It needs to be about you. That’s what you get when you elect me to the U.S. Congress,” he said.

The former 12-year member and president of the Cedar Lake Town Council easily won the Republican nomination for Northwest Indiana’s U.S. House seat by defeating perennial candidates Mark Leyva and Ben Ruiz at the May 7 primary election.

In the days leading up to the primary, and certainly afterward, Niemeyer’s videos increasingly have touched on specific policy issues and delivered pointed criticisms of U.S. Rep. Frank J. Mrvan, D-Highland, the two-term incumbent and former 15-year trustee of Lake County’s North Township.

For example, Niemeyer claims Democratic President Joe Biden and his congressional allies, including Mrvan, welcome the recent surge in illegal immigration because it reduces job opportunities and pushes down wages for American workers.

“It’s kind of interesting that our president and my opponent this fall, the current congressman, say that they’re creating an economy for everyone,” Niemeyer said.

“When really the top 1% has about $150 trillion in wealth — the most ever — while personal savings accounts are at an all time low, 8.4 million people according to the Bureau of Labor (Statistics) are working two jobs … just to make ends meet, credit card debt is at $1.1 trillion, household debt is at $12 trillion, non-household debt at $4 trillion. I would say that this economy is not working for most people.”

Niemeyer does not specify in his short videos how he would turn those economic conditions around. Among his few specific policy prescriptions is defunding the IRS because he claims 63% of recent audits targeted “middle class” Americans earning less than $200,000 a year.

“Isn’t it great to know that your government is looking out for you?” he asked sarcastically.

Niemeyer also said May 19 that he’s committed to changing how the U.S. Census has counted the population of the United States since the Founding Fathers organized the first census in 1790.

Specifically, instead of tallying “all persons” residing in the United States as the Constitution directs, Niemeyer wants separate counts of U.S. citizens and all other individuals living in the country, including legal permanent residents, and only citizens used as the basis of state population counts for U.S. House seats and electoral college votes.

“So if we ever have to wonder what’s behind some of this open-border policy of the Biden administration, let’s take a look at where the illegal immigrants are being welcomed. These are blue states that look to gain more influence and they’re utilizing our open borders to do so,” Niemeyer said.

It’s unclear why Niemeyer believes there still will be a need to change a 240-year-old rule for counting the population by the time the 2030 Census rolls around, since Republican former President Donald Trump has pledged to “quickly” roundup and relocate anyone living in the United States without legal permission if he’s elected at the Nov. 5 general election.

Nevertheless, Niemeyer said if he’s elected alongside Trump he will, on this issue, “bring some common sense back to Washington.”

“You’re losing your voice due to these policies. It’s time to stand up and be counted,” he said.

Meanwhile, Democrats insist no matter how much Niemeyer tries to turn his lifelong anti-worker, anti-abortion Republicanism into some kind of blue collar populism, Mrvan is the only candidate in the race working to deliver for Northwest Indiana families.

“Whether it’s bringing job-creating investments to the district, standing in solidarity with workers and organized labor, or lowering costs for families, no one puts their head down and gets to work like Congressman Frank Mrvan. While Frank’s top priority is making it easier for the middle class to get ahead, Randy Niemeyer has spent his career putting his own profits and power over workers,” said Suzan DelBene, chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.