At NLBMDA's LegCon, advice from a Hoosier congressman

Washington, D.C. -- Indiana Congressman Mike Pence told lumberyard owners gathered here that it is time to "pick a fight" for fiscal responsibility in Washington.

Pence, from Indiana's 6th congressional district, received the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association's (NLBMDA) Legislator of the Year award. The presentation was part of the 2011 NLBMDA Legislative Conference.

Pence was introduced by NLBMDA Chairman Joe Collings as a fellow Hoosier and lifelong advocate for fiscal responsibility. Collings added that Pence was known as a passionate conservative with a calm demeanor.

At the podium, Pence went on a calm, conservative offensive. "We need to turn the ship of state back to fiscal responsibility and limited government," he said. He cast himself as an enthusiastic opponent of those who support, in his words, "federal funding for the Cowboy Poetry Institute."

He said the current crisis facing the nation is not just economic or political, but it's also moral in nature. "People in authority have been walking away from honesty and integrity -- an honest day's work for an honest day's pay," he said. "Truth is we have to get back to basics."

Asked for his views on government's role in supporting housing and the mortgage interest deduction, Pence responded by describing his commitment to fundamental tax reform. He encouraged the audience to think of the bigger picture -- as opposed to a special-case approach, as represented by the mortgage interest deduction. A simple flat tax, he said, would better lead to the kind of certainty that leads to investment, he said.

Pence closed his remarks with a dose of optimism supplemented by a quote from Winston Churchill: "A careful study of American history shows that after the American people have exhausted every other possibility, they always do the right thing."