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Birthdate: Jan. 25, 1977
Birth Place: Springfield, IL, United States
Residence: Portage, IN
Joel Phelps was born in Springfield, Ill., and now lives in Portage, Ind. He earned a bachelor's in industrial engineering from Purdue University.
Phelps has owned and managed small businesses, and now works as an industrial engineer.
He met his wife, Jennifer, when she was a single mother with two young sons. He adopted the two boys and the couple has since had another son.
Joel Phelps is a political newcomer running his first campaign. He defeated Dave Wenger in the May 2012 Republican primary, receiving 59 percent of the vote.
Phelps believes congressional leadership has strayed from the principles that he says made the country great. He criticizes politicians who say they can create jobs, saying the only jobs politicians have ever created are government jobs or temporary stimulus jobs that raise taxes and the national debt.
He puts jobs and the economy as his top priorities heading into the November general election. He says most of the problems the nation faces are policy related and can be fixed.
Phelps believes the best way to create jobs is to repeal regulations that increase the cost of running a business and then enact attractive tax rates and foreign trade policies. He calls for a zero percent tax on manufacturing for four years to attract businesses, which would then be followed by a flat 12 percent tax.
Phelps says he wants to get government out of the way of businesses.
"We don't have to be the cheapest. We just have to be competitive," he said.
He also says businesses should be able to make a profit without being portrayed as villains. He says the key is getting people with political will elected to Congress to make the tough decisions.
He supports a balanced budget amendment and advocates for the elimination of the estate tax.
Phelps says he knows there's a perception by some that his opponent, incumbent Democratic Rep. Pete Visclosky, has the district "locked up." He says he needs to persuade people that it isn't so difficult to raise enough money to beat Visclosky. Knowing that he won't be able to outspend Visclosky, Phelps plans on out-hustling him.
Phelps criticizes Visclosky, saying he hasn't succeeded in bringing back money to the district for economic development projects. He specifically said Visclosky should have been able to attract more money than he has for the Gary-Chicago International Airport.
"He hasn't done the work to make this district as prosperous as it otherwise could be," Phelps said.
Source: Associated Press
113th Congress on Twitter
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