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July '19

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128 • RV PRO • July 2019 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S be good for everyone: Democrat, Inde- pendent or Republican.' Tariffs with China are going to be a long-term thing because China has made a big mistake in behaving poorly for somebody who is going to be so important in the world scene in the future. Their technology transfers, intel- lectual property theft, tariffs, subsidizing industries, dumping gluts – all stuff no one else really does. I don't trust them – even if they say they are going to change their ways. I'm hoping businesses that have gotten involved in China view it for the risks you have dealing with a regime that looks like it wants to behave differently from everybody else on the world scene. RV PRO: What would you say are your top three to five legislative prior- ities currently? And, do you see any of those priorities having a direct impact upon the RV industry? Braun: My most important area of interest is going to be health care because I did my own business 10 years ago and know it can work. That bumps into every industry, including the RV industry. No. 2 would be to weigh in on infra- structure. Infrastructure has been talked about with a budget that is running nearly a trillion dollar deficit and the need being several trillion dollars over 10 to 15 years. We've got to have an honest discussion how we're going to pay for it. To be honest, I don't think we're going to do much with it until after the 2020 election. I've also got some education initia- tives because, along with post-secondary education and health care, we've got a lot of issues with the cost of college and what you do once you get out of high school. Those are three topics that I think will keep me plenty occupied. Of course, I come from a farming state and we're entering another crisis like we had back in the early '80s. Farmers, most of the time they talk about tar- iffs, but tariffs to me are just salt in the wound of a tough farm economy. Indiana is an ag state, which again rubs off on all other areas. I know a lot about it: I was involved with agriculture for decades as the owner of a turkey farm and remain involved with it as a tree farmer today. On agriculture, I'm hoping to use my experi- ence there to reform the industry, which has gotten increasingly concentrated more and more in big corporations to the det- riment of Hoosier farmers. Those four areas will keep me plenty busy. RV PRO: Given that the U.S. House swung to the Democrats in the last elec- tion – and to the more liberal wing of the Democratic Party at that – how con- fident are you that you can get at least some of your legislative priorities passed during your first term in the Senate? Braun: Well, to be honest, I think that anything substantive will have trouble making it across the finish line in an atmosphere like this. They (Demo- crats) dislike President Trump so much, they're still upset over the election results of 2016 and you know he has vowed to shake the system up. And what I'm seeing from Demo- crats, they even want more of what I call a broken system. When you look at the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, free college tuition, that seems so preposterous when we have a financial system of the federal government that's in such disarray so when it comes to key issues such as health care, infrastructure, education, I think we'll be lucky to get much across the finish line until after November of 2020. RV PRO: As founder and CEO of Meyer, you were able to call the shots, but in your current legislative role, you are one of 100 senators and 535 members of Congress who have to seek consensus and work together to get things accomplished. Comparing the two positions, does your current job ever feel limiting? Braun: It does in the sense we've dis- cussed how it is to be a Main Street entre- preneur and CEO who basically never had a board of directors. We're agile; we can move on things quickly. It is the direct opposite of this dynamic we've been discussing. It will be the hardest thing for me to grapple with in the time I'm here, but I have good ideas and I'm willing to articulate them, especially with media, and I do a lot of that. For a freshman senator, I'm probably out talking on friendly and unfriendly turf more than any freshman and more than many veterans because that's the other thing we can do to impact public opinion. If you've got good ideas, get them out there for others to hear. (Being a U.S. senator) is a big microphone to get good ideas out there. RVP: You've previously expressed your support for term limits for mem- bers of Congress. Have you given any thought to what you might do if you were limited to two or perhaps three terms in the Senate? Braun: Things would speed up a lot more here (with term limits) because all the mechanisms that have kept it gummed up so deliberative would maybe loosen up. You'd have everybody here with more urgency to get things done because they won't be here for a long while. Believe me, I will know how to take advantage of that if it ever happens. Term limits are at least being dis- cussed, whereby the people who would inherently be against it would be grand- fathered so they would be able to vote for it. Whether that even gets to a committee hearing, I'd be surprised. But, again, I think it is still important to talk about reform measures like that. I'm not worried at all what I do once they were in place to take advantage of a new dynamic. Watch a Video of U.S. Sen. Braun Touring Grand Design RV http://rvpro.ly/braun-grand-design

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