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Libertarian James Sceniak talks about inflation, abortion, other key issues in Senate race

A still image from an interview with Libertarian U S Senate candidate James Sceniak. Sceniak is a White man with light colored hair and a thick beard, wearing a gray suit, light colored shirt and blue and yellow tie.
Alan Mbathi
IPB News
In an interview on Sept. 12, 2022, Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate James Sceniak sought to offer Hoosier voters a genuine alternative to the traditional major party choices.

Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate James Sceniak wants to offer Hoosier voters a genuine alternative to the traditional major party choices. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith sat down with Sceniak to discuss his views on some of the race’s key issues.

You can also find interviews with the Republican and Democratic candidates.

IPB News Statehouse Bureau Chief Brandon Smith: What do you think the cause of the inflation that we’ve been seeing for months [is]? What’s behind that? Is it the pandemic and so it was sort of unavoidable – or is there more to it?

James Sceniak: I mean, it’s definitely a collateral of events that happened, between the pandemic, between supply chain demand. But ultimately, what it really comes down to is the spending in Washington, D.C. And the last few years, we've spent at a ridiculous rate. And so that really is the first one we have to address. And I'm really concerned with the lack of accountability with politicians, and just the amount that they're spending and the amount that the Federal Reserve is printing. Because when they print that money, that comes back into the economy, which creates inflation rates.

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Smith: From a Libertarian perspective especially, is and can the government be a solution to the inflation we're seeing?

Sceniak: When we look at how we look at inflation, really, it's down to the spending and the Federal Reserve. But then we can address the supply chain. So, with whatever area we're talking about – gas prices, we can look at getting the government to reduce the taxes. I'd like to see those completely repealed. So, whether we're talking about specifically the Federal Reserve and reducing the printing there, whether we're talking about the supply chain, there's always solutions to be found.

Smith: One of the biggest, maybe, wild cards of this election, whether in Indiana or nationwide, is how the issue of abortion rights will affect any race. If you're in Congress, and a bill comes before you to ban abortion nationwide, including in Indiana, how do you vote on that bill?

Sceniak: So, I consider myself pro-life. But I do it through social means. And what I mean by that is, I think that if we're really going to reduce abortions, we have to look at the heart of the issue, we have to look at the economy, look at contraceptives, look at the issues of women's health. And so, when we address all these issues, especially contraception and making them more available over the counter, we can naturally reduce abortion rates. And I believe that that will actually decrease abortions more than any ban will. But whenever there's a ban, there's always gonna be a black market for it. And it doesn't matter whether it's the states each doing it, or whether it's nationally, there's always gonna be that black market. But when we address the heart and the concerns, again, making sure the economy's going well, making sure that those contraceptives – both male and female – are available, then we can really reduce abortion rates.

Smith: So, if a ban came before you, you know, obviously, you'd want to address all these other things. But if ban came before you, would you sign on to it, would you vote for it?

Sceniak: I would have to look at the specific wording and make sure that it still allows for women's health and make sure that women will never be at risk for life issues. And a lot of the wording really matters in that situation.

Smith: We've seen, as you pointed out, a lot of spending coming out of Congress. The state, you know, a major economic development program paid for by federal funds, telehealth, broadband expansion, transportation projects that are still to come with the transportation bill, rental assistance, the most recent package lowering prescription drug costs for seniors. These are all things that the public is largely supporting. These are things that the state is touting, in many cases. Are those bad things? Shouldn't we be supporting things like that?

Sceniak: So, when we talk about these programs, I believe in a lot of them. I believe in infrastructure; I believe that we have to have good roads. But those need to be done at the state level where there can be more accountability and more money going to directly that. So, when whenever we take it to Washington, then we have to fight for it back. There's a lot of wasted spending in there and that's how we get a lot of pork bills and that side of things. So, absolutely those things are good things but we have to look at where they should come from.

Smith: Is border security something that the federal government should be spending more money on?

Sceniak: So, I think when we look at how to legalize immigration, and by that meaning a system that actually allows fairness for people coming in, we’ll actually see less people illegally immigrating, because now they have the opportunity to get here through a legal means. So, naturally that would reduce that rate of illegal activity. But with that, yes, we do need to secure our borders and make sure our border patrol is funded.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.