Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rokita Continues to Demagogue Ebola

Back in August Todd Rokita started demagoguing Ebola when he claimed unaccompanied children seeking to enter the United States from Central America might be carrying Ebola; John Dale slapped him down at that time: "His comments were to inflame the public and divide the nation. The purpose of this is to rile people up and get them in a panic."

But you can't keep a good demgogue down. Now Rokita is calling for a complete travel ban to and from West Africa: "I support a ban on flights from infected countries, visa suspensions, as well as stronger screenings at our ports of entry, including airports and border crossings." No epidemiologist shares his view that locking countries down will resolve the problem (although the Governor does).

Incredibly, in the midst of his own demagoguery, Rokita accuses Democrats of the same: "We're in this situation because liberal Democrats are so beholden to political correctness that we can no longer have honest conversations with each other about what needs to be done or what honest ideas are anymore. In the face of this serious crisis, they will still go to political correctness and demagogue this issue."

Really? "Honest ideas" like travel bans will resolve the Ebola problem. And what liberal Democrat-induced "situation" does Rokita reference? The current one where exactly one person has died of Ebola in the US (and he came here with it) and dozens of people who have been held in isolation during the 21-day incubation are being released as Ebola-free?

Rokita needs to be replaced by honest, straight talking John Dale!

Eric Grossman Wants Transparency

Eric Grossman wants to bring transparency to the county's assessing process and to the office of the assessor. He says on his website,
Transparency is crucial; the public wants the ability to reproduce and understand their assessments. We can achieve this by making assessment data available online. It is troublesome that vital property record card, trending and income capitalization data is not readily available to the public. The county has all the resources necessary to conveniently convey assessment information without additional monetary cost. . . If we are to be accountable for the public, we must be accountable to the public.
He wants the assessor's office to be a resource to Tippecanoe County citizens, and has the skills to make that desire a reality.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

John Dale Is Here

From John Dale's Facebook page:

I believe our representatives should be responsible, responsive, and representative. None of these adjectives describe our current representative. I live in this district, I raised my family here, I farm here, and I teach here. I am incredibly invested in the well-being of our district and I want nothing more than to improve our district and the lives of those who share my home.

On Monday, Gallup reported that Congress's approval rating is just 16 percent. If that level of support holds through November, it would be the lowest heading into any midterm election on record.

If you're frustrated with Congress, as so many people are, let's not continue to elect the same representatives and expect a different result. We need to hold our congressman accountable. It's time for a change and to get government working for the people again.

Visit John's Facebook page here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Indy Star: Pence Makes Bad Call on Preschool Grant

The editors of the Indianapolis Star are of the opinion that Governor Pence's passing on a potential federal grant of $80 million for Indiana preschools is a bad call. His explanation, they say, is fear of "federal intrusion" into the state's new preschool program and that "Indiana isn't ready for the federal funding because the state's pilot program doesn't launch until January. It's too much money too soon, and with strings attached." The Governor's argument doesn't hold water, says the Star:
But that argument is perplexing given that Indiana had previously applied for the grant; the federal government rejected the state's bid a year ago. And state officials, including several inside the Pence administration, had spent months working on a new application. By all indications, Indiana had an excellent chance this time around of receiving the federal money.
The editors conclude, "[Pence's] sudden step back is a hard blow for the state. And worse, for its children and their families."

When Republican politicians make sudden, unexplained and "perplexing" turns, they are usually catering to their party's far right wing.

Read the Star's editorial here.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pence Walks Away from $80M for Indiana Pre-School Initiative

Today Indy Star political reporter Matthew Tully described how Governor Mike Pence surprised the bi-partisan educators he has been working with on a badly needed pre-school initiative by unilaterally deciding to walk away from an $80 million federal grant the group had been aiming at. Tully characterized the governor's decision as "surprise, last-minute and largely unexplained." Members of the Pence-created Early Learning Advisory Committee were informed of the decision not to apply for the grant the FSSA and the Department of Education had been pursuing for a year by an email sent on Wednesday, the day the grant proposal was due. There must have been a lot of disappointment, and puzzlement, over that one.

But maybe it shouldn't come as a surprise. Gov. Pence is now doing to Indiana preschoolers what he has been doing for the uninsured in Indiana for over a year: refusing to accept large sums of federal money that would hugely benefit the people of the state he governs to promote his political prospects as a Republican presidential candidate in 2016. If you think Pence's decision isn't political, read his "explanation" of it here: he represents himself as heroically resisting the siren call of federal money with "strings attached" and boldly positioning Indiana to go its own way on pre-school, much as he has been doing by refusing federal medicare funding that would protect hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers. He can surely imagine the ads his primary opponents would run against him if he sullied himself with payouts from the demonic hands of Barack Obama. Meanwhile, Indiana's students fall further behind and Indiana's uninsured continue to live in the shadow of ruinous healthcare costs.

Read Matt Tully's reporting here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

What Could Beat Sheila

Dave Bangert's frontpage column in the J&C speculates on whether Sheila Klinker could lose her race to return as the representative of Indiana House District 27. Bangert does not present any compelling case from her opponent as to why Sheila should be replaced or why he should be the one to do it. It seems likely that the most serious threat to Sheila would be indifference and low turnout, and we can't let that possibility be realized.

We all understand that Sheila is an energetic public servant, a powerful spokesperson for our community, and a skilled, experienced legislator who can work across the aisle. And we know that there is no greater advocate for Indiana children and public schools, and both desperately need a strong advocate in the current environment. Let's be sure to remind Sheila's constituents of all that she brings to the table, and get them to the polls to vote for Sheila and the other great Democratic candidates!

Monday, October 6, 2014

As of Today, Same Sex Marriage Is Legal in Indiana

Today the US Supreme Court indicated that it would not hear appeals of lower court decisions that same sex marriage bans in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington and Indiana were unconstitutional. As a result, those rulings stand, the bans are overturned, and same sex marriage is legal in Indiana. It is theoretically possible that the Supreme Court would opt to take up another lower court decision at a later time, but there is no reason to believe, based on dozens of court decisions, that the Court would then declare thousands of marriages illegal.

Most state Republicans are conceding that the battle is done.

Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore David Long said "It is surprising, given the importance of this issue to our society, that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to take up this matter but instead to rely upon lower court rulings. That being said, the court appears to have sent a message that if they ultimately do hear these cases, they will support these lower court rulings and find that same-sex marriage is on equal footing with traditional marriage." Long also said efforts to amend the Indiana Constitution to include a ban on gay marriage were at an end.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller continued to call for the Supreme Court weigh in: "Our nation and all sides involved needed a conclusive Supreme Court ruling to bring finality to the legal question of state authority to adhere to the traditional definition of marriage." But he also conceded that same sex marriage is now the "law of the land" in Indiana and that the county clerks would commence issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples as soon as the Circuit Court lifts the stay.

Speaker of the House Brian Bosma declined to comment.

Governor Pence said his office would abide by the court's decision:"Under our system of government, people are free to disagree with court decisions, but we are not free to disobey them."

House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath said the Supreme Court ended the debate: "For political purposes, we have squandered nearly a decade of our people's energy on the issue of who loves whom. The gamesmanship has dragged on and on through the past few legislative sessions. But as one court after another has struck down bans on same-sex marriage, the pointlessness of this maelstrom has become even more obvious." With the debate over, Pelath said "Let's move on."

Read about the impact of the Court's decision from the Star here and from the Statehouse File here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

President WIll Speak at Steel Plant in Southern Indiana

On Friday, October 3, President Obama speak at Millennium Steel in Princeton, Indiana as part of Manufacturing Day. The President will speak on the economy and job creation. This will be his first trip to Indiana since 2011. Read more here.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why You Need to Vote: Getting Hoosiers to Participate in Democracy

Indiana has the nation's third lowest voter participation. Surely, that is a record both Democrats and Republicans can deplore, but Indiana's Republicans are hell-bent on protecting us from non-existing voter fraud by making it harder to vote. Democrats' candidate for Secretary of State Beth White wants to address that problem in commonsense ways. For example, Indiana is one of only three states that close their polls as early as 6 p.m. White concedes that it would cost a bit more to keep polling places open later, but she thinks that is not as important the increased participation from extended hours. She also notes that other states have used nonpartisan commissions to create more competitive districts and increase voter turnout. Having a Secretary of State who cares about voter participation and runs the state's elections accordingly could make a real difference!

Read more about Beth White's position on voter participation here.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Why You Need to Vote: Taking Domestic Violence Seriously

Governor Pence took funds budgeted for domestic violence programs by the legislature and put them back into the state's general fund to "save money." Only when the Ray Rice video began to draw attention to the issue did Pence's presidential ambitions inspire him to gradually replace the domestic violence funds. Even though Pence's withdrawing the budgeted domestic violence funds was counter to the will of the legislature, the Republican supermajority wasn't about to fight him on it. Now that the Governor is beginning to dole out some of the earmarked funds, his team is promoting the idea that domestic violence will by 35 percent higher than last year: “At Gov. (Mike) Pence’s direction, applications for these funds will be expedited so they can be made available to shelters as soon as possible,” said Mary Allen, executive director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. The Governor taketh away, the Governor giveth back if there is political advantage to be had. We need to weaken the Republican supermajority so that, even if still in the minority, Democrats can resist Pence's cynical actions and provide consistent protection of Indiana's women against abusers.

Read more about Pence's defunding/funding of domestic violence programs here.