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Luke Messer Senate

Senate candidate Messer advocates release of Nunes memo, tours Bona Vista

U.S. Rep. Luke Messer, campaigning in Kokomo Thursday, said he has read the Nunes memo that in recent days spurred debate throughout the nation.

The memo, which Messer believes should be made public, is expected to be released Friday.

Messer was in town on a whirlwind tour one day after filing his Senate candidacy petition. He made the statement on the Nunes memo after a guided visit of Bona Vista Programs’ therapies and preschool initiatives.

Messer, in the midst of a fiery Republican primary contest, was led through the Laguna Street facility by Bona Vista staffers and shown various education initiatives, including physical therapy spaces and more standard classrooms.

Notably, the field has possibly been set for this spring’s Republican Indiana primary deciding the challenger to incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly.

U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, who represents Kokomo, on Thursday filed the petition signatures needed to qualify for the May primary ballot with the Indiana Secretary of State’s office. Messer and former state Rep. Mike Braun submitted their petitions Wednesday.

State law requires Senate candidates to submit signatures of at least 500 registered voters from each of Indiana’s nine congressional districts.

Figures from the Secretary of State’s office show three lesser-known Republican candidates, including Kokomo’s Mark Hurt, are still short of the needed signatures ahead of the Feb. 9 filing deadline.

Donnelly also filed his petitions Thursday. He’s facing no Democratic primary challengers.

Overall, Messer toured Bona Vista’s therapies program, called Positive Results for Kids Therapies, the Keys for Kids preschool program and Early Head Start, meeting and interacting with children, educators and at least one local parent.

“Boy, they do an extraordinary job here, and it’s neat to see,” he said. “You can just – you can feel it when you interact with these kids, that they’re in a great place.”

The tour was led in part by Bona Vista President and CEO Jill Dunn, whose husband, former Howard County Republican Party Chairman Craig Dunn, was included last spring on Messer’s statewide finance committee and was present at the Bona Vista facility during Thursday’s event.

Craig Dunn last month penned a column for Howey Politics Indiana that calls Messer “the ace in the hole that Hoosier Republicans can count on before they bet the family farm.”

Messer represents Indiana’s sixth congressional district, with offices in Muncie, Richmond and Shelbyville.

“I’ve learned a lot today. It’s great to see these young people getting treatment with a team that clearly loves them. … I want to see what ways can we provide more flexibility to the federal dollars that are there, and let’s look at what else can we do to invest in these kind of programs,” said Messer.

+2  Messer also spoke briefly about the news of the day, specifically the controversy over whether to release a congressional memo despite “grave concerns” expressed by the FBI.

Over the strong objections of his own Justice Department, President Donald Trump will clear the way for the publication of a classified memo that Republicans say shows improper use of surveillance by the FBI, White House officials said Thursday.

The memo, prepared by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, is said to allege FBI misconduct in its investigation of potential ties between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign. The Justice Department and Democrats furiously lobbied Trump to stop the release, saying it could harm national security and mislead the public.

“I’ve read the memo, and while I can’t talk much about the contents, I do think the information should come out,” said Messer. “To me, this has been a year-long debate with a lot of allegations thrown all over the place. I think the American people will best be able to judge that debate when they have the facts.

“By the way, I don’t think the memo’s necessarily the end of what should be released. It may well be true that there’s additional information that should be released.”