See how AJ stacks up to his opponent and endorse his candidacy on Facebook by going HERE!
Check out AJ's most recent endorsment.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) has endorsed AJ in his bid to represent the near west and south sides of Indianapolis for House seat 97 in the Indiana General Assembly. NFIB's mission is to: "... promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses.", and "NFIB's SAFE Trust PAC supports proven business candidates who have committed to keeping small business in business."
AJ's own company, Cause.it, closely echos the mission of NFIB. Cause.it is an application that helps small businesses connect with, and donate to causes in their community. It organizes and tracks all of the business's revenue and donations directly linked to a specific cause, normally in terms of coupons and special offers, and turns that information into hard data that the business owner can use to grow their brand as well as help their community at the same time.
As a small business owner himself, AJ knows the challenges of running an business as well as the importance that they have in their community. His goal is to fight to eliminate red tape and free small businesses to grow and create jobs for Hoosiers.
Learn more about NFIB at there wesbite at nfib.com
AJ's Twitter chat is featured in the "Behind Closed Doors" series.
When politicians talk about experience, they typically tout their years of practicing law or perhaps a previous political position.
But when asked about his experience during a Twitter forum earlier this month, A.J. Feeney-Ruiz, the Republican candidate in Indiana House District 97, , cited his brief career as a professional Muay Thai kickboxer.
He later clarified that it's more of a personal quirk, not a qualification for the job.
"I think we take politicians a little too seriously," Feeney-Ruiz told us about his light-hearted comment. "We're not all stiff-collared bureaucrats. ... I think it's important to recognize that, that we're just all people at the end of the day."
Feeney-Ruiz, 32, said he practiced kickboxing for several years in Indianapolis and competed in one professional match during a six-month stint in Thailand in 2009. He said he won $25 to $50, enough to cover a month's rent in the country.
Another "quirk" that Feeney-Ruiz has mentioned during his campaign: He has more than 20 tattoos.
Check out the full story at IndyStar.com
Check out the Hoosier Access recap of AJ's with Derek Pillie.
AJ Feeney-Ruiz (HD-97) did a great job taking our questions and handling those shared by our chat audience. Pete Seat is always a tough act to follow, but Feeney-Ruiz did an admirable job sharing his passion for politics and serving his community.
A great thread that weaved itself through the entire chat was how Feeney-Ruiz’s life experiences have helped him overcome an initial passion for holding office and transformed it into a passion for service. In a relative short time he’s had life experiences many can only imagine!
Feeney-Ruiz also shared with us his views on holding office, how to handle tough issues and what he hopes to accomplish should he get elected. There are some interesting discussions about mass transit funding and the trevails about campaigning and the single life as well.
To Learn more about Hoosier Access visit their website by clicking here
Martinsville Reporter-Times story about AJ and his path to running for elected office.
By Ronald Hawkins
AJ Feeney-Ruiz recently became a nationally endorsed Hispanic, Republican candidate for the state House of Representatives, a role he says was nurtured by his experience at Martinsville High School.
Feeney-Ruiz, 32, is a candidate for the District 97 seat, which is in Indianapolis, but he still owns property near Cope in Morgan County. His mother, Dr. Tamzon Feeney, was a doctor in Martinsville for several years.
Feeney-Ruiz traveled down several roads before finding the path that led him to run for public office. Part of that included a bumpy start on a bus to the high school that eventually proved to provide inspiration and people who served as mentors.
Feeney-Ruiz has a visible tattoo on one arm that says, “Courage.” He has 22 tattoos over his arms, shoulders and back that reflect his life experiences and values. He said if elected he probably would be the legislator with the most tattoos.
Before enrolling in Martinsville High School, Feeney-Ruiz had always attended private schools.
He was active in the show choir, musicals, vice president of the French club and played soccer. He was part of a state champion Spell Bowl team. He earned his Eagle Scout status in Boy Scout Troop 219 by building a fence that still stands at the Morgan County Fairgrounds.
“I feel fortunate to have had the experience,” Feeney-Ruiz said. “It adds to who I am.”
He counts his teachers and team advisors as being among his mentors in his youth. Some of those include Mary Fetherolf, who was his speech teacher; Tim James, choir teacher; and Wayne Babbit, the Spell Bowl coach.
“They are so passionate day in and day out,” he said. “They are amazing teachers and human beings. ...
“They are the ones we need to emulate. They gave me confidence.”
Feeney-Ruiz had decided to be a public official early on. He was nominated by U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar to the U.S. Naval Academy. He attended that school for one year, but decided that it wasn’t a good fit.
Feeney-Ruiz eventually graduated from DePauw University, the Indiana University Law School and received a masters in business administration from I.U.
During his first semester of law school, however, Feeney-Ruiz decided he didn’t want to be an attorney. He spent the next two years traveling and working around the world.
Those years included time spent in Thailand, Turkey, Africa, Laos, and even an eventful detour through Syria, he said.
“I argued my way into Syria,” he said. “I saw life in Damascus.”
During his time in Syria, he believed he was under constant surveillance.
“You realize the importance of good government versus bad government,” Feeney-Ruiz said. “That helped me snap back into it.”
Since then, Feeney-Ruiz has completed his law and business degree work, worked as deputy chief of staff and director of communications for the current state secretary of state and previously as communications for then-Secretary of State Todd Rokita, ran a political campaign and ran for the Indianapolis city council.
Feeney-Ruiz has volunteered as a mediator and board member for the Indianapolis Office of Equal Opportunity and serves on the board and as vice president of public relations for the Indiana chapter of Partners of the Americas where he assists in building relationships with the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Su.
Last month, Feeney-Ruiz was named by the Washington, D.C., based Republican State Leadership Committee as a top candidate of Hispanic descent and received the support of the committee’s Future Majority Project. The FMP works to recruit and support qualified Hispanics and female candidates for legislative seats, attorneys general, and secretaries of state across the nation, according to Feeney-Ruiz’s website.
“AJ is a fresh face and an up-and-coming leader with significant private and public sector experience,” RSLC President Chris Jankowski said. “As an entrepreneur, he understands the challenges facing small business owners seeking to create jobs.
“As a former executive appointee in Indiana’s statehouse, he has been part of government reforms that have become a national model. Indiana would be lucky to have him in its General Assembly and the RSLC is proud to support him in his race.”
Creating jobs will be a focus of Feeney-Ruiz’s campaign. He’s created jobs and looked for jobs, he said.
Feeney-Ruiz’s grandparents on his late father’s side were from Puerto Rico, but his mother’s ancestry is Irish.
“I’ve had the (Hispanic) identity put on me,” he said. “I’m Latino, Hispanic. I spent a good portion of my life without that being an issue.
“I was told one day that it is part of who you are. You take it seriously.”
Feeney-Ruiz says his priority is to look at issues closely and make decisions based on facts as opposed to acting on blind faith.
When he was living and working in Washington, D.C. before and after Sept. 11, 2001, the candidate said he saw differences between the two major parties that led him eventually to become a Republican.
“With the Democrat everything had to be a fight,” Feeney-Ruiz said. “I’m not saying the Republicans were perfect. ...
“The Republicans were willing to stand by a principle even in the face of personal defeat. On the other hand, I saw Democrats as being very different, being willing to do what needs to be done to stay in office. ...Those were the seeds of what I came to in later life.”
At the end of the day, the Martinsville High School graduate said, he’s a Republican but he doesn’t want to let that define him.
“I seek to be an advocate as part of the big tent philosophy,” he said. “I’m a firm believer people deserve a second chance.
“My leadership philosophy is everybody has value.”
AJ talks about the importance of Latinos in politics.
AJ Feeney-Ruiz, an Indianapolis Republican running for the state
legislature, was one of a handful of candidates flown to the convention
by the group’s Future Majority Project to participate in training
sessions, talk to media and be featured at the Cuban Club event.
“The whole premise of the Future Majority Project is this: Obviously, we know the demographics of the United States are changing. The demographics of Indiana are changing,” Feeney-Ruiz said, who is the grandson of Puerto Ricans who moved to the States. “If you’re going to tell a group of folks that, ‘Hey, you should be voting for us because we align on social issues, we align on economic issues but for some reason you’ve been voting with the Democratic Party,’ one of the best ways to show inclusion is to actually have candidates who reflect some of their cultural heritage.”
Feeney-Ruiz, though, indicated he supports a version of the DREAM Act,
including proposals by Rubio, to help those who already live in the U.S.
Asked if the bigger challenge was persuading Hispanic voters to vote Republican or persuading Republicans to take a different approach to immigration issues, Feeney-Ruiz said: “It’s a little bit of both.”
“Look at the demographics,” he said. “At some point you have to start expanding the tent.”
He thinks Republicans can win votes from a community that is culturally conservative by talking about jobs, education and neighborhood issues and not “divisive issues.”
Check out the full story at indystar.com
The Republican State Leadership Committee is trying to change their focus with its $3 million Future Majority Project which it launched last year with the goal of finding and financing at least 100 new Latino legislative candidates.
In Indianapolis, Ind., one of them, AJ Feeney-Ruiz, is making a bid for an open state House seat that has been held by a Democrat. Indiana’s Republican-controlled legislature used redistricting to make the district friendlier to a Republican candidate. It also has the highest percentage of Latinos of any state legislative district in the state.
Feeney-Ruiz is part owner of a technology firm that helps connect nonprofit businesses and volunteers and he also works as a media and public advocacy consultant. He used to work as a spokesman for Todd Rokita, the former Indiana Secretary of State who’s now a House member.
In an interview at the GOP convention, Feeney-Ruiz said, “Because of the gridlock you see in the federal government, you see all the action happening at the state level: you see budgets being balanced, you see great educational reforms going through -- especially in Indiana: We’ve just been going gangbusters, setting the stage for future success for Indiana.”
He said, “So when you’re talking about the ‘farm team,’ you’re talking about a lot of folks who are very passionate, engaged at the local level, creating these laws that should be models for the federal government – if they ever get over the gridlock.”
In June, President Barack Obama made an election-year appeal to those same Latino voters by announcing that his administration won’t deport illegal immigrants under age 30 who came to the United States, or were brought to the United States before reaching age 16. “That’s not a uniquely Obama idea – that was originally a Republican idea that was proposed by President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain,” Feeney-Ruiz said. “It’s unfortunate how the president went about it, but I think it’s an idea that’s been developing over years that the Republican Party has been trying to figure out and get its hands around it, how best to execute that in the most efficient and fairest way possible.”
Asked about GOP leaders such as Brewer, Feeney-Ruiz diplomatically said, “I think there’s a learning process on both sides. I think Republicans need to understand that this is something that happened in the 1970s” – the influx of illegal immigrants and their children. “You don’t ever want people to live in the shadows. You don’t want to have a society that lives outside of mainstream society. From a fiscal point of view, you want to be able to collect that income tax (on the income earned by illegal immigrant workers) sufficiently; you want to be able to educate the children…”
To read the full story got to NBC Politics
AJ had a chance to talk with WTHR during the opening ceremonies of the Republican National Convention down in Tampa Bay.
"They called me up last week and asked if I would come down and participate and go through more training, so I'm here," said Indiana House candidate AJ Feeney-Ruiz. "This is all overwhelming. It is my first national convention. I did two national college representatives back in college at DePauw, but this is the first of these."
He is hoping it will not be his last. He is a first-time candidate for an open seat in the Indiana House of Representatives. He has been targeted by the Future Majority Project as one of the top Hispanic candidates running at the state level.
Now, he is taking it all in.
Read the full story here
For Immediate Release
AJ Feeney-Ruiz, 317-455-5327, [email protected]
Adam Temple (RSLC), 202-448-5168, [email protected]
Local Candidate’s Race for State Representative Selected as One of Top Campaigns Nationwide by National Republican Group Promoting Hispanics
Entrepreneur, veteran public servant and candidate for Indiana’s House District 97 (Indianapolis), AJ Feeney-Ruiz, selected by Washington, DC-based Republican State Leadership Committee as one of top candidates of Hispanic descent running nationally for state office.
DALLAS, TEXAS (June 21, 2012) – Today AJ Feeney-Ruiz (Candidate House District 97 – Open Seat – Downtown, Near-West, Near-South Indianapolis), local entrepreneur and former top staffer for two Indiana secretaries of state, was named as one of the top Hispanic candidates nationally by the Washington, DC-based Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), garnering the support of the committee’s Future Majority Project (FMP). The FMP works to recruit and support qualified Hispanic and female candidates for legislative seats, Attorneys General, and Secretaries of State across the nation.
“AJ is a fresh face and an up-and-coming leader with significant private and public sector experience,” RSLC President Chris Jankowski said. “As an entrepreneur, he understands the challenges facing small business owners seeking to create jobs. As a former executive appointee in Indiana’s statehouse, he has been part of government reforms that have become a national model. Indiana would be lucky to have him in its General Assembly and the RSLC is proud to support him in his race.”
Feeney-Ruiz, whose grandparents were from Puerto Rico, returned late Wednesday from Dallas, Texas after he and other select candidates representing states from California to New York and ethnicities consisting of Mexican, Cuban, Spanish and Puerto Rican, participated in an intense training session followed by meetings with the first U.S. Latina and Latino governors Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Brian Sandoval of Nevada, former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin and Speakers of the House Joe Straus (Texas) and Will Weatherford (Florida). Leaders of the Latino Coalition and Hispanic Leadership Network briefed the candidates on national and local issues.
"We're excited to have such a well-qualified candidate like AJ running to represent Marion County voters at the state level," Marion County Republican Party Chairman Kyle Walker said. "AJ offers a very valuable perspective that comes from the combination of his Hispanic heritage and Hoosier roots."
The RSLC is the largest caucus of Republican state leaders and the only national organization whose mission is to elect down ballot, state-level Republican officeholders. Since 2002, the RSLC has worked to elect candidates for Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State and State Legislator.
The RSLC raised more than $30 million for the 2009-2010 cycle as part of an effort that picked up 20 legislative chambers, six Attorneys General, three Lieutenant Governors and seven Secretaries of State. The RSLC spent $4.5 million during the successful 2011 election year that resulted in a net pick up of more than 20 seats and control of two new chambers and has dedicated $3 million to the Future Majority Project to identify and recruit 100 new Republican candidates of Hispanic descent, with the goal of electing 30.
“It is an honor to be identified as one of the top new Hispanic candidates in the U.S.,” Feeney-Ruiz said. “But to be the first to represent my city in the General Assembly and one of the first few to represent Indiana would be an even greater privilege.”
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