01/13/2014 11:40 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

GOP Rep. Luke Messer On Republicans: 'We Sound Like Meanies When We Talk'


Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ind.) told The Hill that he thinks the GOP must show more empathy toward voters -- even those demographics that tend to not vote Republican.

“I think Republicans have to do a better job in both word and deed,” said Messer, also president of his freshman GOP class in the House of Representatives. “I think a large part of our challenges with single mother constituencies is that we sound like meanies when we talk. At times our words don’t match our intentions.”

In the 2012 election President Barack Obama won 67 percent of unmarried female voters, who composed 23 percent of the total electorate.

Messer used Republican statements on education as an example of an area where the party's rhetoric seems out of touch. National Republicans, he said, have pushed for the abolition of the Department of Education.

“As a constitutionalist, I would concede that it’s not clear where the Department of Education emerges from the Constitution," Messer said. "Yet it’s not a practical reality that the Department of Education can be abolished, and for most Americans today, [suggesting that it should be] sounds like we don’t care about education.”

He recently told CSPAN that he would consider supporting a two-tier increase in the federal minimum wage.

“I do think it is fair to say that you can’t lead a household on the minimum wage,” he said. “If you were someone like my mother with two kids and trying to make ends meet at that wage, it just doesn’t work anymore. I recognize that when you look at real wages, the minimum wage is significantly lower than it was in the 1980s, for example.”



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