Monday, December 8, 2014

Attorney General Authorizes Governor to Hire Council to Sue the President

Governor Mike Pence seems to think that he can enhance his presidential cred by spending the state's tax dollars on another frivolous lawsuit, this one against the President of the United States for taking executive action on immigration. To have "standing" for such a suit he has to show that Indiana has been damaged by the President's action. Apparently, in Pence's view, Indiana was irreparably damaged by the the President's "circumventing" Congress in this action, thereby preventing Indiana from having a say in the matter through the votes of its representatives. Oddly, Attorney General Zoeller, who would typically execute the state's suits, is authorizing the Governor to hire outside council.

Local political blogger Doug Masson writes a post that questions the logic for "Gov. Pence to unilaterally bring suit against the President on behalf of Indiana while maintaining his ability to criticize the President for unilateral action on behalf of the United States." in a further irony, a commenter on the blog notes that Pence "criticized the President for circumventing the will of the people (Congress) on the same day that his hand-picked State Board of Education is trying to take out the elected Superintendent and, you know, circumvent the will of the voters."

Donnelly's Bill to Prevent Military Suicides Will Soon Be Enacted

Senator Joe Donnelly has proposed a bill to reduce the number of suicides among military personnel. Since 2001 there have been over 3,0000 suicides in the military, with the fastest rate of growth among National Guard members in the last five years. Donnelly's bill became part of the National Defense Authorization Act, passed by the House last week and expected to be approved by the Senate before the end of the year. Read more about Donnelly's anti-suicide bill from WBAA here.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Pence Will Propose Legislation to Deny Ritz Leadership of Board of Education

Governor Mike Pence has launched a cynical ploy to strip the State Superintendent of Public Education (or rather that office's current incumbent, Democrat Glenda Ritz) of its traditional leadership of the State Board of Education, but in doing so he also announced the dissolution of the Center for Education and Career Innovation (CECI), a policy-making group that Pence invented to undermine Ritz's office. "I am aware of the controversy that has surrounded this center since its creation," Pence conceded. "Somebody has to take the first step to restore harmony and trust." And then the olive branch got blasted by his announcement that he would pursue legislation to let the Board appoint its own leader rather than the elected Superintendent. He framed it as an apolitical "good government" proposal: "It is time to take the politics out of education in Indiana – or at least out of the State Board of Education – and get back to the business of investing in our schools in ways that prepare our kids for the future that awaits them." Apparently "taking the politics out" consists of denying leadership of the Board to a popularly elected official and transferring all authority to a governor-appointed board.

Ritz's election represents what politics should be at its best. The people were dissatisfied with the educational policies of the Republicans and replaced Tony Bennett with Glenda Ritz to effect a change. Pence and the Republican supermajority have chosen to undermine the clear intent of voters to continue their policies by cynical ploys like this one.

You can read more about Gov.Pence's announcements here and http://thestatehousefile.com/pence-eliminate-divisive-education-agency-ask-lawmakers-remove-ritz-state-ed-board-chair/18495/.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

President's Speech on Immigration

In case you missed President Obama's powerful and moving speech announcing his new guidelines on enforcement of immigration law, here is in the complete presentation.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pelath Sees Strong Role for Dems in House

Regarding last week's election losses, House Minority Leader Scott Pelath opts for understatement: "Not every election goes as we would like." However, Pelath is upbeat about the role Democrats can play as the minority in the legislature. He says that Democrats have been able to exploit divisions among Republicans to defeat the most conservative proposals. He notes that had it not been for Democratic resistance, Indiana voters would have been voting on a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage. Pelath likes how the party is positioned: "We feel very good about the course we have set for the Indiana Democratic party. You know, 2016 is going to be a very, very different election." In the broader universe of voters that come out in a presidential election year, "we’re well positioned to appeal to the center of this state for a new direction," says Pelath. You can read more of Scott Pelath's post-election thoughts here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Congratulations to Local Democratic Candidates

While national and state Democrats weren't faring so well, our local Democrats did very well indeed! Eric Grossman was elected as county assessor over a Republican incumbent. Sheila Klinker will serve as state representative for District 27 for her 17th term. Steve Meyer will serve as judge of Superior Court 2, and Tom Busch will serve as judge of the Circuit Court. And, among Tippecanoe County voters, John Dale came with five percentage points of a well-financed Republican incumbent. That's pretty amazing. Many thanks to all who volunteered to get our voters to the polls and make this possible. Thanks to those who came out to vote in a year with no glamour races at the top of ticket.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Where to Vote

Tippecanoe County uses vote centers so that residents do not have to vote in their home precinct but can vote at any of the 19 vote centers across the county. Vote centers are open on Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. At the vote center voters must show a valid government-issued photo ID, which can be an Indiana driver’s license or photo ID card, a military or veteran’s ID or a U.S. passport. Here are the vote center locations:

• St. Lawrence Church, 1916 Meharry St., Lafayette

• Faith Community Center, 5526 Indiana 26 East, Lafayette

• Lafayette City Hall, 20 N. Sixth St., Lafayette

• Center@Jenks Rest, 1915 Scott St., Lafayette

• Lafayette Fire Station No. 5, 750 N. Creasy Lane, Lafayette

• Lafayette Shrine Club, 3024 Old Indiana 25 North, Lafayette

• 4-H Fairgrounds, Home Ec Building, 1010 Teal Road, Lafayette

• Eagles Lodge, 3208 S. 18th St., Lafayette

• Evangelical Covenant Church, 3600 S. Ninth St., Lafayette

• The Outpost Catering, 2501 Old U.S. 231, Lafayette

• Purdue Memorial Union, 101 N. Grant St., West Lafayette

• Morton Community Center, 22 N. Chauncey Ave., West Lafayette

• Federated Christian Church, 2400 Sycamore Lane, West Lafayette

• Burtsfield Gymnasium, 1800 N. Salisbury St., West Lafayette

• Calvary Baptist Church, 310 Kalberer Road, West Lafayette

• Wabash Township Fire Station No. 1, 2899 Klondike Road, West Lafayette

• Battle Ground Fire Station, 112 North St., Battle Ground

• Dayton United Methodist, 7201 Wesleyan Drive, Dayton

• Clarks Hill Christian Church, 9510 Pearl St., Clarks Hill

Take a friend or relative with you to vote!

Need a Ride to Vote?

Need a ride to a vote center or know someone who does? We can help with that! Call 423-1457.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Meyer and Busch: Outstanding Candidates for Judge!

Tippecanoe County Democrats are fortunate to have two experienced and eminently qualified candidates running for judge.

Circuit Court candidate Judge Tom Busch has served as Superior Court 2 judge for 12 years and has managed many high-profile cases, most recently Cody Cousin's murder trial. Judge Busch is widely respected by his peers as a model of fairness and efficiency. Judge Busch's webpage is judgebusch.org and his Facebook page is www.facebook.com/JudgeBusch.

Steve Meyer, candidate for judge of Superior Court 2, has been a prominent attorney in our community for 30 years, 14 of which he served as a public defender. In addition to his distinguished legal career, Steve has taken an active role in the leadership of our community; in addition to serving on many volunteer boards, he has served as an elected city councilman for 24 years and has been the president of the council. Steve is a native of Lafayette with roots in the community that run generations deep. Steve's website is www.meyer4tippecanoe2.org and his Facebook page is www.facebook.com/Meyer4Judge.

These are truly outstanding candidates of impeccable experience and character who deserve your support. Our community needs judges of their quality. Vote for them by Nov. 4 and encourage your friends!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hockema and the Tea Party's "Fresh Perspective"

Being a card-carrying Tea Party member isn't as stylish as it was a couple of years ago, and maybe that's why Chuck Hockema doesn't bring up that connection much. But if you have any doubts about the matter, take a look at this page on the Lafayette Tea Party web page from April 2012, proclaiming Hockema "a long-time active Citizens in Action/Lafayette Tea Party member."

Generally Hockema has been pretty coy about his positions, emphasizing his so-called "fresh perspective." For example, this from his website: "He will bring a fresh perspective to the statehouse along with a young, energetic voice fighting for District 27." Or this from a different page: "I believe that holding office should be a sacrifice and opportunity to serve, not an entitlement of career politicians. When politicians become too familiar and comfortable with their surroundings, important issues that need attention can go unnoticed. A fresh perspective can make all the difference at our State House."

Hockema's implicit message about his opponent, the irrepressible Sheila Klinker, is not too subtle. And it is demonstrably false. While perhaps no longer youthful, there is no more impassioned and energetic "voice fighting for District 27" than Sheila. No one who has contact with her would say that she she has a sense of entitlement about the office she holds, and no one works harder that her to satisfy her constituents and to earn their support.

With respect to bringing a fresh perspective to the State House, Hockema's Tea Party views are hardly news to the Republican supermajority. It is clearly the down-to-earth pragmatism of Sheila Klinker that provides the "fresh perspective" in the legislature, and, as a respected leader in the House who can work across the aisle, hers is the District 27 voice that can make itself heard and disrupt the Tea Party groupthink.

Vote for Sheila. Remind your friends of what she brings to our district.