U.S. Army veteran and security technology designer Tobi Beck is campaigning to represent Indiana’s Fourth Congressional District. The post is currently occupied by Republican Representative Todd Rokita, who is himself currently running to represent Indiana in the U.S. Senate. Beck is encouraging voters to choose her on the basis of her nuanced viewpoints, her passion for serving people and her desire for an active, useful government.
Beck's family moved from state to state as she grew up, due to her father’s work in business. After entering college, she enrolled in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. After graduating, she enlisted in the Army and was branched to the military police, assigned to a Strategic Force (STRAF) Unit.
Her training included law enforcement, military operations in the battlefield and special weapons security. She was assigned to the 571st Military Police Unit. Her military career includes service in Cuba for Operation Safe Harbor, helping Haitian refugees, and in Somalia.
After her active service, Tobi joined the Army Reserve and started a career in security design and internet technology. She was called back into service several times, including for the 1996 bombing at Olympic Park in Georgia, to assist with designing and build better security for the city. In 2001, she was asked to serve as additional security after the 9/11 attacks.
Beck now resides in Avon with her husband. She said her desire to run stemmed from a belief in serving and helping people to find solutions.
Though she can't say that there was any one definitive thing which made her decide to run, she has always been interested in the idea of fair politics. This drive even led her to participate in a nonpartisan coalition called Election Protection. The coalition has stated that it was formed to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process through over 100 local, state and national partners. More information on this organization can be found at 866ourvote.org.
By February 2017, she felt that she had to get more directly involved in the political process in some way. This led her to research her political qualifications, and she honed in on Indiana's Fourth Congressional District. The first decisive step of her political journey happened the following month, with a single humorous phone call.
"I called up a friend of mine and asked him to do some research for me," she said. "I hadn't talked to him in years, and he'd said 'Well, why are you looking for this research?'"
Beck said that, when she stated she was running for Congress, she literally heard the phone drop to the floor and her old friend shouting that it was about time she'd made that decision.
"He says 'I've known you 20 years,'" she recalled. "...'I have been waiting for you to say this.' I said 'Well, you could have told me.' And he goes 'No, you had to get here on your own. But I knew, 20 years ago, you were eventually going to run for an office.' He wasn't wrong."
When asked about why she's running as a Democrat in what is arguably a very pro-Republican region, Beck said she believes the two parties are more alike than not.
"If we stop and actually listen to each other, stop paying attention to the labels...we often want the same thing," she said. "We may disagree a little bit on how we get there. But we often want the same thing."
She wanted to present the challenge of having people compare political ideas without having one another's party affiliation known. In reference to this, she cited a moment on the campaign trail where she met someone who she thought immediately identified her by Democratic Party stereotypes.
"He'd accused me of wanting to confiscate all firearms," she said. "And I was like 'Um, nope. I'm a big fan of the Second Amendment...I am 100 percent sure I've never said that.'"
"There are plenty of Democrats who believe that we need some common-sense gun legislation," she said. "Believe it or not, my police unit would say the same thing.
"I want an improved registry. I want the full background checks, better background checks, etc."
"I'm right here, the single source of truth about my personal opinions," she said. "You can't tell me that I have an opinion that I don't have. And then he said 'Well, your party does.' No, the party are the individuals...It was very confusing for him that I didn't fit the mold that he had created in his head."