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Banks wants to bring 'proven fiscal and social conservative track record' to U.S. Senate

A screenshot of a Zoom call with Jim Banks. Banks is a White man with dark and graying hair, wearing a vest that says "Team Banks" on the left chest over a collared shirt.
Zoom screenshot
U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) served more than five years in the Indiana Senate before being elected to four terms in the state's 3rd Congressional District.

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) said he wants to be Indiana’s next U.S. senator to “step up and do more” for the entire state.

The former state senator said he has a “proven fiscal and social conservative track record.” He is unopposed in the Republican primary.

Banks said part of the draw of serving in the Senate is having a greater say on foreign policy and national security issues.

“And those issues are a passion to me, as an Afghanistan war veteran,” Banks said. “I’ve served on the Armed Services Committee in the House and there’s so much more in the Senate we can do on that front to keep America safe and secure.”

As national polling suggests inflation remains top of mind for voters, Banks said the key to addressing inflation is addressing the national debt.

“I think that’s where you have to start,” Banks said. “That’s why I’ve always voted against these big, omnibus, massive spending bills that don’t do anything to address the national debt — it only grows it.”

One of the other economic issues top of mind for voters is housing access. Affordable housing is becoming out of reach for more Hoosiers, a problem Banks said is “devastating.”

“What role is there for the federal government?” Banks said. “Get rid of a lot of these ridiculous, radical, environmentalist regulations that are on new construction and home building.”

Republicans are pushing immigration hard in campaigns across the country, heavily criticizing the Biden administration — and, by extension, Democrats — on the issue.

Banks said he wants to revert to immigration policies in place under former President Donald Trump.

“And then build the wall,” Banks said. “When I go to the southern border and visit with our border patrol agents, they talk about how important the construction of the wall was to help them do their jobs.”

READ MORE: Both Democratic U.S. Senate candidates cite abortion rights as major impetus for their campaigns

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If immigration is an issue Republicans focus on, abortion rights are where Democrats shine the spotlight.

Banks, long an ardent anti-abortion advocate, said while states should largely set those limits, he said the role of the federal government is to establish a “floor” for abortion laws — namely, a measure that requires medical providers to try to preserve the life of an infant in the rare cases where they survive an abortion.

“I support pro-life laws,” Banks said. “I’ve co-sponsored and voted for pro-life laws in the Congress and at the state level.”

Banks said he would support measures that ban abortions nationwide after, for instance, 15 or 20 weeks.

One of the most pressing debates in Congress at the moment is financial support for Ukraine and Israel. Banks said those should be separate conversations.

“At this point, I can’t help but reject any more funding for Ukraine before we address our own border, our own security in the United States of America,” Banks said.

Banks said he has and will continue to support aid specifically for Israel, which he calls “our most important and cherished ally in the world.”

Banks will face off in the fall against Libertarian Andrew Horning and one of two Democrats, Valerie McCray or Marc Carmichael.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him 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.