A Kokomo native has announced he is running for the U.S. Congress seat currently occupied by outgoing Rep. Susan Brooks.

Republican Dr. Chuck Dietzen, who grew up in Kokomo and now lives in Zionesville, announced Thursday that he would seek Indiana’s Fifth Congressional District seat after Brooks revealed in June she would not seek a fifth term.

The district includes the northern portion of Indianapolis, nearby suburbs and surrounding areas. It stretches to eastern Howard County, specifically Greentown.

“I want to serve the community that has given me extraordinary opportunities to make a difference in the lives of people here and all over the world,” said Dietzen in a media release announcing his campaign.

He added: “Some important and far-reaching issues will be decided in Washington in the near future. I want to make sure we make healthcare work for patients, and socialized medicine does not work. I want to ensure our families and communities thrive – to do that we must protect our constitutional freedoms.

Dietzen recently retired from his role as child of pediatric rehabilitation medicine at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, according to the release.

Dietzen, a member of the Howard County Hall of Legends, is the founder of and a volunteer for Timmy Global Health. The organization is described by his campaign as “an Indianapolis based nonprofit that has worked to expand healthcare access in developing countries.”

He is also a co-founder of iSalur Healthcare, an electronic medical records system.

The now Congressional candidate experienced a unique upbringing in Kokomo, when 150 foster children lived at one point or another within his family’s home.

He later received a Bachelor of Science from Purdue University’s School of Agriculture, followed by a career shift to Indiana University, where he received his Doctor of Medicine degree.

“Growing up, my parents instilled the values of faith, freedom, and family in me. These are the values of Indiana, of Hoosiers. I love the state of Indiana, and I love this country, but it’s clear that Washington D.C. isn’t working for us,” wrote Dietzen on his campaign website.

“Instead of just complaining about it, I’ve decided to roll up my sleeves and tackle these problems head-on!”

Dietzen is a pro-life candidate who says his position was motivated by the experiences he had with foster children.

Meanwhile, Steve Braun, a former state representative and brother to U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, and Indiana Treasurer Kelly Mitchell are the leading Republicans also seeking the Fifth District seat.

Others Republicans include Micah Beckwith, Northview Church’s student worship pastor in Carmel, and Danny Niederberger, a Westfield native who works as a fund accountant for Concise Capital Management.

Various Democrats – the party believes Brooks’ retirement opens it up to a possible flip – have also entered the race, including Christina Hale, who was Democrat John Gregg’s running mate in the most recent gubernatorial race.

Joining Hale on the ballot will be Dee Thornton, a corporate executive from Carmel who was defeated by Brooks in 2018 by a comfortable 14 points. Brooks did even better in Howard County, winning more than 76 percent of the vote in the most recent election.

Also running are Democrats Jennifer Christie, who was among a group who ran in the same district’s 2018 primary, and Andrew J. Jacobs, whose father and grandfather were Indiana congressmen.

George Myers can be reached at 765-454-8585, by email at george.myers@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @gmyerskt.

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