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July '19

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rv-pro.com July 2019 • RV PRO • 125 RV PRO: What, specifically, prompted you to step away from your business to run for U.S. Senate representing the state of Indiana? Braun: I was an armchair politician for many years, complaining about this place (Washington, D.C.). I had to nav- igate a business, face a lot of the imped- iments it puts in front of you. Back in '08, my two sons started working for the company and they stuck with it and liked it and did a heckuva job, along with a great young executive team. … About that time, I had become a state rep interested in infrastructure. Southern Indiana lacks it. I thought Indiana, as the Crossroads of America, needed to do some- thing long-term to make sure we repair our roads and bridges and did that as a reason to run for state rep. I was able to co-author the long-term road funding bill and get a regional development authority bill that promotes local skin in the game that lets you get priority on projects if you're willing to help pay for it. I was not going to run for a third term but come back to the company and other stuff I like to do in the private sector, but then I saw the race shaping up for the Senate seat. I didn't like the idea that it was going to take a lifestyle change of being a frequent flyer between where I live and Washington, D.C. – but for me – it was now or never. I still have a lot of energy. I have been complaining about the place for a long time. I thought more of us need to step up out of our comfort zone and do it. Even though I started with 1 percent in the first opinion poll, I had a plan and I think I executed it well. Now, I'm all dressed up and ready to go … RV PRO: You've touted your role as a businessman as an asset that you bring to Congress. How, specifically, Braun greets diners at a small restaurant in Indiana. During his campaign for the U.S. Senate, he was known for favoring blue shirts with rolled up sleeves versus suits and for promoting himself as a businessman and a political outsider. A young Mike Braun (left) is pictured with then candidate for senator Richard Lugar in this photo from the early 1970s at a meeting of young Republicans. (Lugar would go on to serve in the U.S. Senate representing Indiana from 1977 to 2013.) Braun's interest in politics dates back decades.

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