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Budget, climate, healthcare reform on Sen. Braun’s agenda

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) -- Indiana's freshman Republican Senator Mike Braun visited Fort Wayne Wednesday, and defended President Trump's controversial decision to unilaterally pardon or commute the sentences of nearly a dozen people.

He also talked about his priorities in the Senate.

"We've evolved to where we are over a long period of time, and this is a reflection of yes, how polarized we are," Braun says.

Braun told a lunchtime crowd at the Allen County GOP headquarters how he's had a front seat to history in the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

And while he supports the president wholeheartedly, Braun says there are some things he would do differently, like Tuesday's executive grants of clemency to nearly a dozen men convicted of fraud and corruption.

Some younger people in the room say they appreciate Braun's dedication to reducing the federal deficit now, instead of kicking the can down the road.

Braun says he thinks President Trump is sending a message that government has gotten out of hand when it sentences people to prison terms like these men were serving.

"I would do many things differently. I've got my own style, but I embrace 100% that whenever it's part of shaking a system up I'm going to probably lean in that directionr rather than do anything that perpetuates the way things have been done in the past," he says.

Some younger people in the room say they appreciate Braun's dedication to reducing the federal deficit now, instead of kicking the can down the road.

"I'm 22, I'm graduating from college in December and my generation doesn't want to have to keep running deficits. That's going to be put off onto my generation," Preston Wright says.

"I appreciate how upfront he is knowing that long term we have to find solutions.We cannot keep doing trillion dollar deficits and expect everything to be okay," Zachary Rodgers says.

Braun says he intends to be out front in tackling two other big issues in Congress.

"Reforming healthcare. And I've been different from every Republican. I blame it on the healthcare industry. I think that most Republicans are confusing the healthcare industry with free enterprise. It's not," he says.

And another issue that's perhaps not as popular among the GOP, the climate.

"It's as much to explain why the Green New Deal has no chance of making sense but that doesn't mean that we should be foot draggers sticking our head in the sand. There are plenty of things we can do that are practical in that we can actually pay for them," Braun says.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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