Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Outgoing Lafayette Superintendent Speaks Out on School Reform

In his last school board meeting before his retirement, Lafayette School Corporation Superintendent Ed Eiler provided a detailed critique of the reforms that have been visited upon Indiana schools in the last few years.  Eiler is one of the plaintiffs of a lawsuit seeking to halt the Indiana school voucher program implemented this year.  "Education is a very complex system. A whole lot more complex than machines, and we didn't tweak the system. We didn't make just one major change, but multiple major changes with absolutely no idea whatsoever of the impact these changes are going to have on our education system," Eiler said.  You can read more about Eiler's presentation here and in this profile by the J&C's Dave Bangert.

House Speaker Runs TV Ads for Right to Work

Republican Speaker of the House Brian Bosma is sponsoring a 30-second TV ad promoting the anti-union "right to work" legislation that he and Governor Daniels will make the centerpiece of their legislative agenda for the upcoming session.  It is highly unusual for a speaker to be running ads, especially this far out from the session.  Bosma said the ads are to create "awareness for the issue. . . . I believe this is something critical that has to happen for Hoosier families and for our economy. We want people to know about it."  Democratic party chair Dan Parker offers another view: "It sounds to me like (Bosma) has to drum up support for an issue that doesn't have any.We don't need to, because we have support for our position already."  This is going to be a real fight.  Read more from the Indy Star here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Hoping you all enjoy the holiday. Here is President Obama's Thanksgiving message.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Impact of Automatic Spending Cuts on Indiana

Thanks to unwavering intransigence by Republicans, the Super Committee charged with reducing the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion failed and automatic spending cuts will begin in 2013. What will their impact be on Indiana? Maureen Groppe of Gannett writes that local and state funding for transportation will decline 14 percent, and for education anticipate 19 percent cuts. Medicare reimbursements for Indiana hospitals will be cut $927 million. Defense cuts will likely cost Indiana $783.5 million in 2013, as well as a projected 13,273 jobs. Read more about the impact here.

Let's do everything we can to reward the Party of No in 2012 as they have rewarded our state!

Protests Start at Capitol Over Right to Work

As legislators gathered at the statehouse for Organization Day, where the agenda for the upcoming legislative session is set, union members and supporters gathered to protest the "right to work" legislation that Republicans are placing high on their agenda. In the video below local Republican representative Tim Brown says, "It is a jobs bill. . . . we're here to talk about putting people back to work," and Randy Truitt says, "It's about personal freedom. It's about America."  Democrat Sheila Klinker has heard it all before: "We've addressed this issue many times, over a period of time. I mean, it's not a new concept. It's not a new discussion."

You may recall that Republicans tried to push "right to work" through in the last session, but in the light of the Demcrats walkout, the Governor backed away from it.  This year several states are considering it, and Greg Mourad, vice president of the National Right To Work Committee, says Indiana is "probably our highest priority . . . [because] they've got the votes there to do it." House Speaker Brian Bosma wants to get it done early in the session so that protests don't disrupt the Super Bowl (first things first).  Read more about the coming battle royal here.

Organization Day peppered with protests:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mark Halperin Breaks Down 2012 at Purdue

Last week Time magazine and MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin broke down the 2102 presidential election.  He thinks President Obama is the favorite today and notes that the Obama team is very confident of the President's chances.  He thinks Romney is the likely Republican nominee, and that a race between him and the President would be close. 

Here is a link to the the Exponent story and here is some video footage.

"Right-to-Work" Protested in Lafayette

Lafayette union members and representatives of the Indiana Rebuild the American Dream Coalition demonstrated against so-called "right-to-work" legislation that the Governor and Republican legislators are planning to introduce during this year's session. Last year similar legislation caused union members to pack a Statehouse hearing on the matter, and the legislation was only derailed by the Democrats depriving the House of a quorum. "Right-to-Work" has been adopted in 20 states and, says Sheila Rosenthal of the American Dream Coalition, wages for all workers, union and nonunion, declined in those states.  Mike Bennett, president of the UAW Local 2317 in Lafayette, said the legislation would allow some workers to receive the positive effects of union negotiations while not having to pay for those benefits.  Read more about the protest from the J&C here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bullet Dodged: No Concealed Weapons at Purdue

With the country's economy floundering and unemployment at more than nine percent, House Republicans addressed the pressing problem of permitted carriers of concealed weapons not being able to legally go adequately armed into every state of the Union. The House voted 272 to 154 to correct the situation.  There are no plans to consider the bill in the Senate, so the House can get on with fixing the economy and creating jobs.  Read more here.

Meanwhile, an almost identical piece of political theater played out this week in Purdue Student Government with Senator Zach Briggs proposing a resolution for a policy allowing Purdue students to carry concealed weapons. "The only people being hurt by [Purdue's no weapons] policy is Purdue students," argued Briggs.  It seems highly likely that most of the people who would be hurt by introducing concealed weapons to the campus would also be Purdue students, and the hurt would not be the metaphorical kind.  Happily the resolution was defeated 15 to 7. Read more about the Purdue gun debate here.

Gregg Visits Lafayette

John Gregg brought his mustache to Lafayette today, touring Purdue's Discovery Park and meeting with Democratic leaders and other supporters in the Downtowner restaurant.  He promised to "have some fun" in the race because Hoosiers are tired of  "doom-and-gloom politicians who take themselves too seriously and wear their pants too tight."  Shiela Klinker and Mayor Roswarski also praised Gregg's skills at actual bi-partisanship. Read the Journal and Courier's article on Gregg's visit here and listen to WBAA's more extensive profile here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

John Gregg's Mustache

Regarding his trademark mustache, gubernatorial candidate John Gregg says he'll be keeping it: "If I shave this off, people would say, 'What else is he going to change to be governor?' I'm not changing anything to be governor. I am what I am." Classic John Gregg. Ever the pragmatist, Gregg figures that Hoosiers have tired of partisan gridlock that prevents anything from getting done: "People are pretty scared. They're pretty fed up with all that fussin' and fightin'. I'm hoping that that will be a major distinction. That people will realize I don't have much of a reputation of being a fighter for fightin's sake. Nobody compromises on their principles, but we need to collaborate. We need to work together." Read more of Mary Beth Schneiders' profile of John Gregg here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Little Reminder

As the Governor and Republican legislators start talk about reviving anti-union "right to work" legislation in the next session, a little reminder may be in order.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gov. Sees No Connection Between Ohio Pro-Union Vote and Indiana

As Republicans gear up to push "right to work" legislation through the next session, Gov. Daniels says the massive rejection of Ohio's law blocking collective bargaining for public employees a.) relates only to the public sector and has nothing to do with "right to work" in the private sector and b.) was a result of massive spending, apparently not genuine voter sentiment. He expects to successfully resist such efforts with cool logic: “Calm reason and frankly the courage of one’s convictions would be the right way to respond to all the millions of dollars and likely intimidation tactics.” Read more here.

John Gregg's Campaign Kickoff

Gubernatorial candidate John Gregg officially launched his campaign this weekend with events at the War Memorial in Indianapolis and in his rural hometown of Sandborn, south of Terre Haute. He contrasted the way political business is done today to how it was done when he was Speaker of the Indiana House: "We didn't act like the fate of the western hemisphere hung on every decision we made. We just did what was right and just tried to get things done. We had a big table, and everybody had a seat at the table. That's not the way things are working in government anymore."  He also observed that Republican candidate Mike Pence had contemplated a presidential run before deciding to run for governor. "The job of governor is too important to be a weigh station or a place-holding job," he asserted to loud applause.  Here is the AP coverage of his announcements and below is video coverage from a Terre Haute station. 

Gregg kicks off gubernatorial run:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kickoff for Gregg Campaign for Governor

Please join us this Saturday from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on the North Steps of the War Memorial, 431 E Meridian St, Indianapolis, as the next Governor of Indiana, John Gregg, makes his formal announcement of his gubernatorial bid!   Then later join us at Loughmiller's Pub and Eatery from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. for a campaign kick off fundraiser.  Contribution levels are $25/Individual, $50/friend,  and $100/supporter.   If you can't make this one, we have plans to get John up here soon!

Heather Maddox

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Good Day for Democrats

Lafayette's Mayor Tony Roswarski wins 79 percent of the vote on a ballot he had to fight to be on.  The Lafayette City Council loses just one seat to a Republican, but remains Democratic by an 8 to 1 margin.  All Lafayette's at-large seats, targeted by Republicans, remain in Democratic hands.  West Lafayette City Council holds its Democratic majority, and though Democrat John Polles is unable to defeat a popular and noncontroversial Republican incumbent John Dennis for WL mayor, he runs a civil and thoughtful campaign that was generally admired; under the category of "promises fulfilled" the editors of the J&C write: "John Polles, Dennis' Democratic rival, promised a clean campaign. And he delivered."

Nearby Democrats are elected as mayor in Delphi and Monticello.  Around the state, Fort Wayne's Democratic incumbent mayor is re-elected.  Muncie has its first Democratic mayor in 20 years. South Bend elects 29-year-old Democrat Pete Buttagieg as mayor; the Rhodes scholar is a spectacular young talent who will be around for many more elections.  In Indianapolis Republican mayor Greg Ballard holds on against challenger Melina Kennedy, but the City Council goes Democratic.  In neighboring Kentucky a Democratic governor easily wins re-election, and in Ohio a nasty anti-labor law passed by Republican Governor John Kasich and a Republican legislature is defeated by a shocking 22 points; this vote holds promise for Democrats nationally in 2012.

Thanks to all the candidates, Republican and Democrat, winners and losers, who made the personal sacrifice to run for public office.  Thanks to all the dedicated volunteers without whom there could be no political campaigns.  Thanks to the volunteer election workers who gave up a day to perform a civic service.  And thanks to the 11,816 citizens who cared enough to vote.

Here's the J&C's coverage of the Lafayette City Council election, and West Lafayette coverage is hereHere's Dave Bangert's flattering post-election profile of Mayor Roswarski. . Here is the J&C editorial board's view of the general implications of the municipal elections, and their salute to those who fought to get on the ballot is here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Where to Vote on Election Day


St. Lawrence Catholic Church, 1916 Meharry Street

Jenks Rest Senior Center, 1915 Scott Street

Lafayette City Hall, 20 N 6th Street

Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds, 1404 Teal Road

Lafayette Fire Station #5, 750 N Creasy Lane

Brady Lane Church of Christ, 2701 Brady Lane

Evangelical Covenant Church, 3600 S 9th Street

The Outpost Catering, 2501 Old US Hwy 231 S

West Lafayette

Federated Church, 2400 Sycamore Lane

Calvary Baptist Church, 310 Kalberer Road

Covenant Presbyterian Church, 211 Knox Drive

Morton Community Center, 22 N Chauncey Ave

Purdue Memorial Union, 101 N Grant Street

Other Communities

Clarks Hill Christian Church, 9510 Pearl St, Clarks Hill

Dayton United Methodist, 7201 Wesleyan Dr, Dayton

Battle Ground Fire Station, 112 North St, Battle Ground

Don't forget your ID!

Need a ride? Call 765-210-0603

Sunday, November 6, 2011

WL Mayoral Candidates Answer Questions

Today the Journal and Courier published an extensive question-and-answer session with the two candidates for mayor of West Lafayette You can see it here.

Polles Questions Fire Station

Mayoral candidate John Polles has raised questions about the new fire station West Lafayette is building on Kalberer Road. He's questioning the cost ($2.5 million) and the fact that the primary contractor was not selected. He also questions why the project's development firm was not selected by a public bidding process. Read more from the Journal and Courier here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why Did Gov. Daniels Visit West Lafayette Five Days Before the Election?

Governor Mitch Daniels stopped by West Lafayette today, five days before the election, and said nice things about Mayor John Dennis. Mayor Dennis played down the importance of the visit, saying that it was only to encourage people to continue voting. Challenger John Polles sees it differently: "When I found out he was coming to town, of all the municipalities of Indiana they decided to come up here to West Lafayette, Indiana. You can read in to that what you wish, but to me it's encouraging news actually." Read more from WLFI here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lafayette Passes Reduced Budget

For the third year running, the Lafayette City Council has passed a budget that is lower than the previous one. Through the leadership of Mayor Roswarski, the 2012 budget is $18,000 lower than last year's, despite a 14 percent increase in health care costs. The cuts, according to the Mayor, will not seriously impact city services. In addition, city employees were awarded a 1.5 percent pay increase, something they have not experienced in several years. Congratulations to the Mayor and the Council for a job well done! Here is the Journal and Courier coverage of the new budget.

Interview with John Polles

Below is a full 17-minute interview with John Polles, Democratic candidate for mayor of West Lafayette. This is a great vehicle to learn what Polles is all about. Thanks to WLFI for posting this thoughtful interview.

Dennis and Polles face off for West Lafayette mayor: