COATS VISITS MADISON: U.S. Sen. Dan Coats met with local Republicans on Friday at Gallery 115. Coats, with his wife Marsha on his right, was traveling through southern Indiana to visit with constituents. Sitting next to the Coatses are Pam and Larry Newhouse. (Staff photo by Seth Grundhoefer)
COATS VISITS MADISON: U.S. Sen. Dan Coats met with local Republicans on Friday at Gallery 115. Coats, with his wife Marsha on his right, was traveling through southern Indiana to visit with constituents. Sitting next to the Coatses are Pam and Larry Newhouse. (Staff photo by Seth Grundhoefer)
Sen. Dan Coats visited local Republican leaders Friday at Gallery 115 to discuss his work in Washington and present his agenda for the remainder of the year.

While neither Indiana senator is up for re-election this year, Coats said he hopes to use his influence to bring a Republican majority to the Senate and oust Sen. Harry Reid as majority leader. He said the change needs to happen at the grassroots in building the party and electing new leaders.

"Our first step is winning the election in 2014," he said.

Since the Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives, Coats said President Barack Obama has pushed through policies that have "breached the Constitution."

Coats continues to be concerned about the Affordable Care Act and how it affects Hooiser families. He believes families should receive the same exception from healthcare mandates given to businesses.

In addition to healthcare, Coats said the economy is struggling.

"Regardless of where you come down, I've talked to Democrats and others who aren't of our persuasion and said, 'Look, the country's not growing.'" Coats said. "And this is after five years of their economic policies."

Coats, a former ambassador to Germany, recently has been at the forefront of efforts to punish Russia after its move to annex Crimea.

His efforts earned Coats a spot on a short list of U.S. officials banned from entering Russia.

"So we had to cancel our January trip to Siberia. We were going to go skiing in Sochi. All that's out the window," he joked.

Coats said the president's response to Russia has been "just words and no action." He said that has created a rift with ambassadors and world leaders.

"So our enemies no longer fear us, and our allies no longer trust us," he said.

Coats was visiting southern and southeastern Indiana on Friday while the Senate is on a recess.

He said his goal is to take "Indiana principles back to Washington" instead of having Washington politics pushed onto the state. Following his visit in Madison, he met with constituents in Jeffersonville.

During Friday's meeting, Mayor Damon Welch presented Coats with a key to the City of Madison.