Campaign links: Travis Hankins (R-IN-6)
Travis Hankins Congressional Candidate Indiana District 6
Biography of Travis Hankins from Travis Hankins for Congress
Travis Hankins is a lifetime Hoosier. He was born and raised, along with his twin brother Aaron, by his hard working mother and grandparents in Columbus, Indiana. He became the first in his family to attend college and graduated from Indiana University where he received various academic and leadership awards. Although he gained admission into the highly ranked Education Policy Studies Ph.D. program, he decided to attend Kanakuk Institute, a prestigious one year Bible program taught by graduates of Dallas Theological Seminary.
Seeing a need for national Conservative Leadership, Travis founded and launched the Draft Mike Pence for President Campaign, where he traveled around the nation building a grassroots organization throughout multiple important primary states including Iowa and South Carolina. Travis also served as Senior Field Representative for Leadership Institute, a conservative organization based in our nation’s capital. Understanding the importance of providing local leadership, he went on to serve as Chair of Young Republicans for Pence and Honorary Chair of Bartholomew County Young Republicans. Travis is currently a real estate investor. In 2005, he established Hankins Properties and owns properties in locations including beautiful Branson, Missouri and sunny South Carolina. Travis Hankins is a member of Bible Church of Columbus and like Mike Pence he is “A Christian, a Conservative and a Republican, in that order.”
I was born and raised, along with my twin brother Aaron, in Columbus, Indiana. I never knew my dad as I lived with my hard working mother and grandparents. Unfortunately, I was not raised in a Christian household. My mother, who did her best facing the struggles of being a single parent, like so many others in her situation turned to the government rather than the church to help raise me. I was raised by the government from an early age, starting in day care and working my way through the government school system.
Many of my close friends and peers came from the same poor, broken family background that I did. Our government schooling, with help from the movies we watched and the music we listened to, shaped our values of moral relativism and situational ethics. There were no moral absolutes. There was no such thing as right and wrong, only what we thought was right in our own eyes.
There was also no discipline in our life, and especially none in the government classroom. If it was not for basketball, which I excelled at and was deeply involved with, I would have had zero self-discipline in my life. This lack of discipline led to a distrust of and disrespect for authority.
Government continued its strong presence in my life as I became the first in my family to attend college. The only way I was able to attend Indiana University was through a federal government program that financially assists first-generation, low-income students. This government program solidified my view that help from the government was the only way I could succeed in life and that I was entitled to help due to my circumstances.
While at Indiana University, I excelled academically. My success was not due to the fact that I was a genius, but because I was very liberal. Getting good grades did not consist of doing the rigorous work that required independent unbiased research inquiry or coming up with novel ideas, but rather endless hours of regurgitating the same left wing views held by my professors.
I was also an influential student leader on campus. My influence and my advice, which I thought was right at the time, led many students down the wrong path. I led students to believe in the same ideas that I strongly held. I felt that America was an oppressive empire, that our nation’s military was imperialist, that capitalism was nothing but greed and that Ronald Reagan was the worst President ever. I saw marriage and family as something to escape rather than embrace, abortion as an acceptable choice of convenience, and that government was the answer to every problem.
Looking back, I lacked motivation to accomplish anything I had to work for and I was making zero preparations to become independent and self reliant. My only plan was to be “happy” and take what the government gave me.
Change of Heart
Then everything changed. Early my senior year I found myself down and out. God used this time to stir my heart and draw me closer to Him.
One night in late October, after a long day on campus, I wanted to go to sleep. I went back to my friends’ house to go to bed. All my friends were gone as I was getting ready to go to sleep. Suddenly, I had this strange sense to turn on the television. All I wanted to do was to fall asleep, but the remote control was lying right beside me.
I turned on the television and immediately there was a man giving a sermon. Usually I would change the channel, but for some reason I decided to listen. At the point I began to listen, the gentleman looked into the television screen and simply said, “If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you need to repent of your sins and accept Him as your Lord and Savior because He died on the Cross for your sins and He is the only way to go to Heaven.” The sermon was over. A commercial came on the screen.
The gospel message just blew me away. It was the first time I had ever heard those words. I turned off the television and I began to pray. I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Immediately, it felt like this huge burden was lifted off of my shoulders. That night I actually slept the best I ever had.
I woke up bright and early the next morning. The sun was shining. I stepped outside and began to walk towards campus. I felt like a completely new man. It felt like I was in a completely different world. This newness of life was the best feeling ever.
I did not know how to explain what just happened to me because none of my family was Christian. I then received a Bible for Christmas and began to read it for the first time. The red letters in the gospels amazed me. God used the words of Jesus Christ to renew me and transform my mind. Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This Truth solidified my view that my faith was in God and not the government. My worldview of all powerful big government, entitlement mentality, and perpetual victim status slowly changed into a worldview of self-government, personal responsibility and individual choice.
I began to speak out against the anti-American views in my classes. My straight A’s turned into straight F’s. I went from being the darling of the establishment to being asked not to participate in classroom discussions. This was the hardest time in my life. Yet, looking back at the situation, it was the best time for me as God was strengthening my faith.
I gained acceptance into a highly ranked Ph.D. program for Educational Policy Studies. Earning a Ph.D. was the ultimate goal I had been working hard to achieve. Yet I knew going through graduate school would only draw me further into the world of secular academia. I explained to all my professors and faculty advisors that I was no longer a secular humanist, but that I was now a Christian.
Unsure about the next step in my life, I turned down my former goal and path for a new one. I turned down earning my Ph.D. and instead earned acceptance into a prestigious Bible Institute for college graduates entering the ministry.
Becoming a Republican
During this time, one of the most difficult things for me to do was to become a Republican. Although I now had this new understanding of the world and admitted that I agreed with the conservative views that the Republican Party stood for, there was no way I could become a Republican. I had been a life-long Democrat.
I began to read Ronald Reagan’s autobiography. I then realized that Reagan grew up similar to me. He came from a very poor family, his parents never owned a home, and his entire family was Democrats. Yet Reagan would not allow his circumstances to dictate his outcome. He worked hard, paid his own way through college, and went on to make something of his life.
After reading this, I too, just like Reagan, saw fit to follow a different course. Reagan eloquently stated exactly what he and I experienced in this political transformation to conservatism when he said, “I can tell you it only hurts for a minute and then it feels just great.”
I attended Kanakuk Institute, where I was trained by pastors who were graduates of Dallas Theological Seminary. I thought I was going to serve in the church, but during my time at the Bible Institute, I kept thinking about my life: how I grew up in a broken home, how I never met my dad, how government negatively influenced my life. I kept asking myself, “How can I use my life experience, my knowledge and my leadership abilities to prevent others from having to grow up in the same situation?” God changed my heart and I felt called to provide leadership through government to restore our traditional moral values, strengthen families, and provide freedom for future generations.
Realities of Washington
Not growing up around politics nor coming from a political family, I did not know exactly what being involved with politics looked like. The only thing I knew of politics and government was our nation’s capital. I went to D.C. because I thought that was where I could make the most impact in advancing our Conservative values and principles.
Going to D.C. was a rude awakening. I was expecting everybody on our side to be just like me: love God, love our country and want to do what is best for future generations. I became very disappointed as I began to meet many people involved with the political establishment. Although there is a remnant of committed Christians and Conservatives in various organizations and offices, the vast majority of those inside the beltway were not interested in serving the people, but only interested in serving themselves and advancing their own career. Political people whose minds and hearts were clouded by politics seemed to only care about money, power and fame.
I soon realized that we can not change D.C. from within but we must change it from without. The problem with D.C. is that everybody wants more power, starting at the top with career politicians and going down to the incompetent bureaucrats and the corrupt lobbyists. The way they gain power is by growing government and trampling on the American people. I became convinced that the only way to combat this erosion of our American system is by returning to the Heartland, building a team of grassroots Americans who believe in the principles of our Founding Fathers, and working together to take power away from corrupt politicians and give it back to the people.
New Conservative Leadership
The American people long for leadership in the mold of Ronald Reagan. Reagan led America in the right direction, strengthening our economy, our nation’s military and our moral values. Reagan led me to be a Conservative and led millions of Americans to stand proud as a Conservative and as an American. Reagan could not do it all but he certainly did spark a revolution, a revolution I hope to help refuel and re-flame. We need more leaders like Reagan and that is exactly the leadership I will provide.
For me, relying on the government did not work and nearly ruined my life. I developed an entitlement mentality, had little work ethic or drive, and I perpetually felt I was a victim. I am going to Congress to protect the Constitution so that others do not rely on government but rather live the American Dream.
I do not support using the government to advance my cause or impose my values. The government can not nor should not be used to do the Lord’s work. I do not believe in a theocracy. I simply believe in our Constitutional Republic that our founding fathers gave us. I believe following the Constitution leads to freedom; and freedom produces a virtuous society. I will uphold the Constitution so that future generations can have an opportunity to live the American Dream!
My heart is to serve the Hoosier people and advance our American values in the halls of Congress. With your help, we will defeat the tide of careerism, corruption and compromise and restore with integrity the timeless principles of self-government, individual liberty and a government of the people, by the people and for the people.