Thursday, December 31, 2015

Pence "Encourages" Lt. Gov. Elspermann to Get a New Job

Gov. Mike Pence is encouraging Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann to seek employment elsewhere--namely as Ivy Tech's next president. According to Indiana political analyst Brian Howey, the governor's communication chief indicated that "The governor believes that the lieutenant governor is uniquely qualified for the opportunity” at Ivy Tech and “he strongly encouraged her to apply."

Apparently Elspermann's position on RFRA and gay rights is not to the liking of the governor and his social conservative supporters. She told legislators and other Republicans that RFRA created a "mess" that needed to be cleaned up. She also told the Statehouse File that Hoosiers "want to be assured 100 percent that there is no further discrimination. My opinion is that we should get that fixed, whatever that looks like." Howey concludes that Indiana's Republican party is a "house divided." You can read Howey's column on Elspermann v. Pence here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Despite Trump's Muslim Ban, Pence Would Vote for the Republican

Governor Mike Pence was pretty explicit in his condemnation of Donald Trump's proposal to prevent all Muslims from entering the US, as were other Republican leaders. (Pence is apparently content to have them immigrate to the US, so long as they don't think they're going to live in Indiana!) However strong his objections are to Trump's unconstitutional ideas about a religious test for immigration, those concerns don't seem to trump his party loyalty. As reported in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, when asked if he would vote for Trump for president if he is the nominee, Pence responded, "I will be voting for the Republican nominee for president of the United States."

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Chidress Runs for District 13 Seat

Tippecanoe County Democrat Mike Childress has announced that he will run to represent Indiana District 13 in 2016. He sees key issues as roads and infrastructure, public education and employment. Childress views bi-partisanship as a key for making progress: “You have to work across the aisle in order to create real sustainable good. Not just for the people in your party, but for the people in every party — from every walk of life.” You can read more about Childress's candidacy here.

Visit Mike's Facebook page here.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ritz's Teacher Shortage Commission Finishes Its Report

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz's Blue Ribbon commission to address Indiana's teacher shortage has completed its report. The 49-member panel makes several recommendations to revitalize the teaching profession. It recommends elevating teachers' pay to a professional level with regular pay raises rather than one-time stipends and bonuses. The panel advocates returning to the system of rewarding teachers for advanced education and masters degrees as well as creating career paths for advancement that don't remove good teachers from classrooms. Mentoring of new teachers by experienced ones was also encouraged. The commission also advocates recruiting a more diverse teaching force. You can read summaries of the commission's report here and here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Catholic Charities Settles Syrian Refugee Family in Indiana

Catholic Charities has settled a Syrian family of four in Indianapolis despite Governor Pence's declaration that the state would not accept Syrian refugees. Archbishop Joseph Tobin “prayerfully considered his (Pence’s) request that we defer from welcoming them until Congress had approved new legislation regarding immigrants and refugees,” but decided to move the familty to Indiana anyway. The family had undergone security checks for over two years. Read more here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pence Being Sued by ACLU Over Immigration!

The Indiana ACLU is suing Governor Mike Pence over his denial of service to Syrian refugees. The ACLU's suit on behalf of Exodus Refugee Immigration, the nonprofit that had planned to help the Syrian family of three resettle in Indiana, argues that Pence’s decision to bar Syrian refugees violated the Constitution, the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the federal government’s exclusive authority over immigration. Judy Rabinovitz, deputy legal director of the ACLU’s immigrants’ rights project, said, “This lawsuit is calling out Governor Pence on his unconstitutional bluff. He does not have the power to pick and choose between which lawfully admitted refugees he is willing to accept. Singling out Syrian refugees for exclusion from Indiana is not only ethically wrong, it is unconstitutional. Period.” Once again, Pence is turning our state into a national laughingstock. Read the complete Washington Post story here; USA Today's story is here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Reality Check: How Much of a Threat Are Syrian Refugees?

Here's some data from a researcher at the libertarian Cato Institute that might help undermine the political hyperbole about Syrian refugees.

"Of the 859,629 refugees admitted from 2001 onwards, only three have been convicted of planning terrorist attacks on targets outside of the United States, and none was successfully carried out. That is one terrorism-planning conviction for every 286,543 refugees that have been admitted. To put that in perspective, about 1 in every 22,541 Americans committed murder in 2014."

"In 2015, the United States has accepted only 1,682 Syrian refugees, or 0.042 percent of the 4,045,650 registered Syrian refugees. Only one out of every 2,405 Syrian refugees in a camp was resettled in the United States in 2015. . . .Few ISIS soldiers or other terrorists are going to spend at least three years in a refugee camp for a 0.042 percent chance of entering the United States when almost any other option to do so is easier, cheaper, and quicker."

"This situation may be different in Europe, where 681,713 Syrian asylum seekers have sought refuge since the beginning of their civil war in 2011. So far, one of them may have participated in the Paris terrorist attack, and that is far from clear."

Some are arguing for keeping Syrians in refugee camps indefinitely. Bad idea: "Allowing the current UNHCR refugee camp situation to grow and fester for years can only produce more radicalization and terrorism. A more expansive refugee policy with adequate security checks that resettles large numbers in safe countries can drain the swamp of potential future terrorists and decrease that risk."

You can read Alex Nowrasteh's entire article here.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Washington Post Columnist Calls Pence's Refugee Position "Cowardice"

As with RFRA, Mike Pence's decision to to block Syrian refugees from coming to Indiana is having an unfortunate effect on Indiana's reputation as a welcoming environment. In a Washington Post editorial columnist RIchard Cohen argues that his position is one of cowardice. He notes that Pence's action has alredy resulted in one Syrian family being scheduled to settle in Indiana being sent to Connecticut.
The Syrian families who have lost their homes, their relatives, often their children and always their jobs, will now lose a bit more of their lives, not to mention their naive belief that the United States is a welcoming country. Mike Pence is here to say we are not. He gets the first — but certainly not last — Profile in Cowardice Award. Believe me, he has earned it.
You can read Cohen's column here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pence Instructs State Agencies Not to Process Syrian Refugees into Indiana

In response to the ISIS killings in Paris, Indiana governor Mike Pence, like nearly all the other Repblican governors, has said Indiana will not accept refugees from Syria and instructed all state agencies to suspend the resettlement of additional Syrian refugees until the state receives assurance from the federal government that “proper security measures” are in place. House Democratic minority leader Scott Pelath observed that Pence's action was "the governor just sticking his chest out, wanting to take over a national issue or get a little piece of it." He suggested that the governors "wanted to be able to put out a press release that they were being tough on ISIS."

In the past three years 12 Syrian refugees have settled in Indiana. It is also worth keeping in mind that governors do not have the authority to restrict where refugees settle--that is a federal matter.

Read more about Pence's stance here and here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day Message from Joe Donnelly

From a senator who truly cares about veterans and works every day to improve their lives.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Congratulations to Tippecanoe County Democrat Candidates

Congratulations to all the Tippecanoe County Democrats who won races in the municipal elections. In Lafayette these include Tony Roswarski, Lafayette Mayor; Cindy Murray, Lafayette City Clerk; Lon Heide, Nancy Nargi, and Kevin Klinker, Lafayette City Council At-Large Representatives; Ron Campbell, Lafayette City Council, District 2; Perry Brown, District 3; Lauren Ahlersmeyer, District 4; Melissa Weast-Williamson, District 5; Bob Downing, District 6. In West Lafayette Democratic City Council incumbents all won: Peter Bunder, District 2; Nick DeBoer, District 1; and Gerald Thomas, At-Large. Newly elected Democrats are David Sanders, At-Large; and Larry Leverenz, District 4. Sana Booker was elected as WL City Clerk, and Lori Stein-Sabol was re-elected WL City Judge.

Dems Win Indiana Mayor Races

In addition to Lafayette's Tony Roswarski, who won re-election with over 80 percent of the vote, other Democrats won significant mayoral races across the state. In the state's bigggest mayoral prize, Joe Hogsett won in Indianapolis with 62 percent, and brought a Democratic city/county council with him. Thomas Henry won a third term in Fort Wayne with 57 percent. In Gary Karen Freeman-Wilson won a second term against five candidates with 71 percent. John Hamilton won in Bloomington with 77 percent. And rising star Pete Buttigieg was re-elected in South Bend with 80 percent of the vote. Greencastle has a new Democratic mayor, Bill Dory, who won with 57 percent. Thomas Broderick Jr. won in Anderson, and Greg Goodnight won a third term in Kokomo. Gabe Greer defeated a three-term incumbent in Peru.

Read more here and here.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Here are the list of vote centers for tomorrow's Municipal Election.  
Polls are open from 6am-6pm on Tuesday, November 3 and you may vote at any of these locations.  Need a ride?  Call 586-7380
Battle Ground Fire Station - 112 North Street
Dayton Town Hall - 721 Walnut Street
St. Lawrence Church Social Hall  -  1916 Meharry Street
Lafayette City Hall  -  20 N 6th Street
Jenks Rest Senior Center  -  1915 Scott Street
Lafayette Fire Station #5  -  750 N Creasy Lane
4-H Fairgrounds Home Ec Building  -  1010 Teal Road
Eagles Lodge  -  3208 S 18th Street
Evangelical Covenant Church  -  3600 S 9th Street
The Outpost Catering  -  2501 Old US Hwy 231 South
Purdue Memorial Union - 101 N Grant Street
Morton Community Center - 22 N Chauncey Ave
Federated Christian Church - 2400 Sycamore Lane
Burtsfield Gymnasium - 1800 N Salisbury Street
WL Parks Building-Kalberer - 1101 Kalberer Road

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pence Agrees with Ritz on Suspending Test-Based Teacher Evaluations

Mike Pence, a hard-right ideologue, seems to be seeking re-election by convincing voters he's not a hard-right ideologue. Remember his sudden interest in investing some of the rainy day fund into road infrastructure after the Wildcat Creek bridge fiasco snarled traffic for weeks? Now he's making "reasonable guy" noises by agreeing (for once) with Superintendent Glenda Ritz that teachers should not be judged on this year's flawed ISTEP scores, a position she has been arguing for months. But this is a one-and-done for Pence; he'll be right back at punishing teachers and warring with Ritz before you know it.

Last year, with re-election still distant, Pence wrote in an open letter to education Secretary Arne Duncan, “Indiana will not go backwards when it comes to measuring performance in our schools on my watch. We do not support a pause in accountability as it relates to delivering A to F grades to schools, determining intervention strategies in under-performing schools, or teacher evaluations that reflect classroom performance.” That's the real ideologue.

Read more about Pence's change of heart on teacher evaluations here.

J&C "Comparison" of Lafayette Mayoral Candidates

You can read the Journal and Courier's comparison of Mayor Tony Roswarski and Republican challenger William Reed Jr here. However, there really isn't a comparison to be had there. For example . . .
Question: What makes you the best person for the office?

Roswarski: Thirty-two years of experience and leadership as a police officer, active community member, city councilman and your mayor. Together, we have created a strong business environment with a strong global reputation, fiscal responsibility, initiated important infrastructure projects, provide outstanding city services, and invest in quality of life initiatives.

Reed: I feel I am best for the office of mayor because of my great communication skills with the public, and I know what they need and want.

See what we mean?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ritz in Jeff Alumni Hall of Fame

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz was in town to be inducted into the Jefferson High School Hall of Fame. Ritz was a 1972 graduate. Read more and view video from WLFI here.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Senate Democrats Propose Simple Change to Civil rights Law to Protect LGBT Rights

Four words and a comma: “sexual orientation and gender identity.” That's all Indiana Senate Democrats are proposing to add to the state's civil rights law to ensure statewide protection for LGBT rights. Says Senate minority leader Tim Lanane, “Someone has to come forward and say, ‘Here’s the simplest, the easiest way but yet the way which will afford the most protection.'” Democrats are prepared to lead with a straight-forward bill while Governor Pence and Republicans, still reeling from the RFRA fiasco, continue to meet behind closed doors to find a compromise that the party's right wing can accept. That will be a challenge since they argue that protecting LGBT constitutional rights infringes on their religious rights. Read more from Indiana Public Media here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Robust Local Economy Allows for City to Budget Pay Raises

Lafayette's city council has passed a city budget that provides city employees with a three percent raise, the largest in 12 years. Says Mayor Tony Roswarski, “We’re a growing community. [City employees] work very hard. We ask more and more out of them. We continue to do more with less. We think they’ve earned a three percent raise.” The budget also include some new positions, including five police officers and a building inspector. Good to know our community's finances are, under democratic administration, healthy enough that we can reward those who serve us. Read more from WLFI here.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Redistricting Study Committee Discovers Partisan Divide

The initial meeting of a legislative study committee looking into redistricting Indiana revealed a difference of opinion among the participants: Democrats thought redistricting was urgently needed, but members of the Republican supermajority were pretty content with the system that keeps them in power. Go figure! Buck Creek senator Brandt Hershman was proud of the system, claiming it was not "the voodoo science that people suggest that it is, such that drawing a line on a map is ensuring an outcome." But even former State Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm, a Republican appointee, criticized the lack of competitiveness in a state where more than 40 percent of lawmakers ran unopposed in the 2014 general election. The committee has two years to complete its work. Let's hope voters send a message before that! Read more here.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

General Assembly Dems Endorse Gregg

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane thinks the preseason is over: “It’s time to declare that John Gregg is going to be that candidate. It’s also time to declare it’s time for change.” With that he and House Minority Leader Scott Pelath delivered the endorsements of every Democrat in the General Assembly to John Gregg, which has never been done before. “I’m happy to be able to endorse John here today,” said Pelath, “to send the message that the Democrats are unified.” Read more here.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Will Pence's Weak Polling Cause Republicans to Support Expanding Civil Rights in Indiana?

Indiana political analyst Brian Howey thinks Mike Pence is in trouble: "Multiple informed and reliable sources, citing at least three recent polling sources including internal Pence campaign survey data, are telling Howey Politics Indiana that Pence’s statewide reelect numbers are 'in the low 30%' range. His favorable/unfavorables are 'upside down.'" Because of this position, Howey says that some Republicans are "attempting to forge a deal that would add sexual orientation to the state’s civil rights code that would address employment and housing concerns, with exemptions extending to hospitals and religious institutions." Will enough of the supermajority buy in to make it possible? Will the zealot governor sign on? Read more at Howey Politics here.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Klinker Calls for an Indiana Hate Crimes Bill

Sheila Klinker says it's high time Indiana had a hate crime bill. Since, as she puts it, "Indiana has sort of been at the forefront of maybe not taking care of discrimination issues as we should have,” she thinks a hate crime bill "would clear a lot of that mystery that still is there about treating all people decently.” Indiana is one of only five states that don't have a hate crimes bill.

In the last session a comparable bill never got a hearing. Sheila thinks the fallout from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act may have changed the environment: “With the ramifications of last year’s session, and some of the things that were happening statewide, I think probably there will be some Republicans that will be willing to look at this bill this year.” Shiela says she'd be pleased to co-sponsor a hate crimes bill. Read more here.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Purdue Dean Co-Chairs Teaching Commission with Ritz

Superintendent Glenda Ritz appointed a Blue Ribbon Commission on the Recruitment and Retention of Excellent Educators. The commission's 49-members will include educators, key stakeholders and legislators and will develop strategies to help recruit and retain excellent educators throughout the state. The dean of Purdue's College of Education, Maryann Santos de Barona will serve as co-chair with Ritz. She voiced concerns about the current state of the teaching profession in Indiana.

Indiana has seen an 18 percent drop in the number of initial teacher li­censes issued over the past five years, and schools of education have experienced declining enrollments. Read more about the commission here.

Freedom Indiana Will Campaign for Statewide LGBT Nondiscrimination

Freedom Indiana, the statewide grassroots organization that successfully fought a constitutional marriage amendment and sounded the alarm on the economically devastating Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), today launched a campaign to update existing laws against discrimination to include gay and transgender Hoosiers. “The fallout from RFRA harmed our state’s reputation, but it also drew attention to the fact that you can be fired, denied housing or declined service in most places in Indiana if you are gay or transgender,” spokesman Chris Paulsen said. The groups's goal is to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state's civil rights code that already contains protections based on race, gender, veteran status and religion. “It’s an easy solution: four words and a comma,” says Paulsen. Read more here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Democrats Ask for INDOT Communications on I-65 Wildcat Creek Bridge

Yesterday the Indiana Democratic Party requested that the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) release all its communications regarding the I-65 Wildcat Creek Bridge. Party Chairman John Zody said the following:
“With more than six major accidents along the proposed INDOT detour and the state feeling a significant impact to its economy, the I-65 Bridge closure represents the headache Hoosiers have when it comes to Indiana’s D+ rated infrastructure. In just one month, their state has seen yet another one of its coveted reputations – ‘Crossroads of America’ – placed in jeopardy. Frustrated Hoosiers have the right to know if this problem was at all preventable because this bridge closure has single-handedly clogged one of the most vital transportation and economic arteries in the state. It’s time answers are brought to the table right now. Indiana’s economic and overall well-being are depending on it.”
You can read more about the Democrats' request from Indiana Talks here.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tippecanoe Democrats Proud to Support Labor and United Way

Local Democrats were proud to support the local Labor Participation Committee United Way of Lafayette efforts at the 13th Annual Mini Golf Outing on August 13.  Thank you to the United Way and our Labor friends for all you do for our community! 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Arredondo Announces Candidacy for Attorney General

Judge Lorenzo Arredondo, who served as a Lake County judge for 34 years, has announced that he will seek the Democratic nomination for Indiana attorney general. At the time of his retirement from the bench in 2011, he was the nation's longest serving Hispanic state trial judge. He was one of the founders of the nationwide Hispanic Bar Association and is a professor at the National Judicial College. The justice center in Lake County is named for this distinguished jurist. Shaw Friedman writes in Howey Politics Indiana, "Having Judge Arredondo run for attorney general means having a marquee, top flight candidate for our party." The nominee of the party will be named at the 2016 Democratic Party convention next June. Read more from NWI Times here and here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Donnelly Will Back Iran Deal

Senator Joe Donnelly announced today that he would back the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the US and its allies. Donnelly cited his well-known commitment to military families and veterans as the reason for his support:
“With or without this deal, the day may come when we are left with no alternative but to take military action to prevent Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold. If that day does come, and I am faced with a vote to authorize military force against Iran, I owe it to the men and women of our Armed Forces and to the people of Indiana to have exhausted every other option to stop Iran before we would consider putting any of our servicemembers in harm’s way.”
Read more about Donnelly's decision here.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Tallian Withdraws from Governor's Race

Today Rep. Karen Tallian announced that she was dropping her bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Tallian's official statement said:
“After much consideration, I am announcing my withdrawal as a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for Governor. My congratulations go out to John Gregg, and I support his efforts to lead this state.

I am humbled by the welcome I received from all corners of the state over the last few months. I will continue to build on my decade of experience as a state senator, fighting to ensure equal rights, well-paying jobs, and quality education for all Hoosiers. I want to extend my heartfelt thank you to all of my supporters for your belief in a more progressive Indiana.”
John Gregg released the following statement about Tallian: “Karen Tallian has been, is and will continue to be a true champion for working Hoosiers – and I am proud to call her my friend. I look forward to standing with her in the years ahead to improve our schools, rebuild our infrastructure and create an economy that works for all workers.” Gregg is currently the only Democrat seeking the nomination.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Dickerson Joins Race for Democratic Nomination for US Senate

John Dickerson announced yesterday that he will seek the Democratic nomination for for the US Senate seat being vacated by Republican Dan Coats. Former Representative Baron Hill has already announced his candidacy for the nomination.

Dickerson is the long-time director of The Arc of Indiana, an organization that helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to realize their goals of learning, living, working and fully participating in the community. Of his 40-year career in public service Dickerson said “What I've learned . . . is that we have to work together. It takes new answers and new ideas, but together we get things done. . . I have worked with Democrats and Republicans alike over the course of my career, and have been successful at navigating those sometimes tricky relationships for the benefit of Hoosiers.”

Former Lt. Governor Kathy Davis, who spoke at Dickerson's announcement, underscored Dickerson's skills: “John knows the systems of government. He understands setting high goals, applying fiscal restraint and working together for the best results. He will bring that contagious attitude and skill to the United States Senate.”

For more on Dickerson's announcement, click here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Howey: Ritz Wasn't Prepared to Break the Glass Ceiling

Brian Howey offers a blunt analysis of Glenda Ritz's short-lived run for governor. She failed to break through the glass ceiling that stymied Vi Simpson and Jill Long Thompson because, Howey argues, she wasn't prepared: "Ritz didn’t learn the central lesson of Gregg’s 2012 near miss and hire a finance director out of the gate. The notion was that Ritz could reactivate the teacher network that fueled her upset of Supt. Tony Bennett without the political mother’s milk." In addition to fund raising, there were other basic areas that weren't addressed properly: "There were finance reporting violations. There were static campaign websites and Facebook pages. There was no campaign staff, phone number or spokes(wo)man." Unlike her predecessors, Ritz has a strong base of support and issues that played in her favor. She had "an epic opportunity," but, says Howey, "instead of the candidate seizing the moment, a moment seized an unprepared candidate." Ouch. Read Howey's complete analysis here.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Donnelly: "Indiana Planned Parenthood Running the Right Way"

Senator Joe Donnelly said his vote to defund Planned Parenthood was focused on his concern with what going on in other states, not in Indiana. His vote, he said was to delay funding until all the facts were in regarding possible illegal activities.

Donnelly said, “I was concerned that all of the monies would be spent in the right way. Indiana, our Planned Parenthood is running it in the right way, that they were investigated and came through with no problems at all. We have concerns about other parts of the country, and so my job is to stand up for all Hoosiers and for everybody around the country. And I want to make sure we get that right first.”

The bill to deny all federal funding to Planned Parenthood failed in the Senate.

You can read more of Donnelly's explanation here, and hear a more extensive interview with him on this and other topics here.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Donnelly "Evaluating" Iran Nuclear Deal

CNN lists Senator Joe Donnelly as one of the Democratic senators who is still evaluating the Iran nuclear deal. If you have strong feelings about the importance of deal, the Senator may appreciate hearing from constituents on this difficult subject. You can email him here.

Gregg Petitions Pence for LGBT Civil Rights Protection

John Gregg is circulating a petition urging Governor Pence to expand civil rights protections to LGBT Hoosiers. "No one should lose their job or their home because of whom they love," says the petition. You can have your name added to the petition from Gregg's website here.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Ritz Drops Out of Governor Race

Glenda Ritz has announced that she is dropping out of the race for governor to focus on being re-elected as State Superintendent of Public Instruction. With Ritz's withdrawal from the Democratic field, only 2012 candidate John Gregg and state Senator Karen Tallian remain. For more information from the Indianapolis Star, click here.

September Happy Hour

Don't forget to join us for next month's Happy Hour.  on September 1 from 5:30-7:00  at Star Lanes Bowling Center, 1701 Schyuler Ave. in Lafayette. President Obama probably won't be there, but you never know.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Baron Hill's Campaign Video for US Senate Race


We're excited to release Baron's announcement video-Heartland. Please LIKE and SHARE

Posted by Baron Hill on Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Indiana Democrats Respond to the Supreme Court's Same Sex Marriage Decision

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly: “We are a stronger state in Indiana and a stronger country when we support inclusion, respect, and equality for all Americans.”

Rep. Scott Pelath, House minority leader: “For those in the LGBT community, it must have seemed that this day would never come. But it has, and our world is better for it.”

John Zody, chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party: "In Indiana, we believe a good government is one that solves today's problems and improves the overall well-being of hardworking families. Today's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow full marriage equality nationwide reaffirms this principle. The hard work and efforts of so many in Indiana is now not only vindicated, but also lets same-sex couples know they are on equal footing to their peers. While we still have more work to do to ensure every single Hoosier is protected under our civil rights statutes in Indiana, today's ruling shows that we're one step closer to equality under the law. That is a freedom we should all be proud of."

John Gregg, gubernatorial candidate: "Today's historic decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is an affirmation of that core American principle that all individuals are created equal and should be treated as such regardless of what they look like, where they live or who they love. Hoosiers and all Americans face great challenges in the years ahead, but we will only be able to meet them if we stand together. There can be no room in our state or nation for discrimination of any kind and today's court ruling is another step in that direction.

Sen. Tim Lanane, Senate Democratic Leader: "Today's ruling reinforces the belief that a solid majority of Hoosiers have already expressed: that marriage equality is a matter of fundamental fairness. This ruling makes even clearer the need to extend Indiana's civil rights protections to members of the LGBT community. The journey toward equality in the Hoosier state has been winding but today's decision signifies a momentous victory along that path. This decision gives ultimate resolution to same-sex couples recently married but unsure upon what legal ground their nuptials stood. This decision adds significance to the growing chorus of Hoosiers who have and continue to say it's time to outlaw discrimination in Indiana. Today we celebrate progress. Tomorrow we begin anew our efforts to make sure everyone knows that Indiana is an accepting and welcoming state that does not discriminate."

Former U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett, Indianapolis mayoral candidate: "Today's decision is a victory for thousands of families in Indianapolis and millions across the United States. We are blessed to live in a city that truly welcomes all, and I'm proud that our country has taken this historic step toward greater equality for all."

For more Hoosier reactions, visit the Journal and Courier here and the Statehouse File here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New Polling Shows Hoosiers Want a Different Governor

According to a new poll, 54 percent of Hoosier votes would prefer a new governor. Voters remain dissatisfied with Mike Pence's handling of education and RFRA. However, Pence's prospective Democratic challengers are certainly not assured of winning; the poll found voters preferred John Gregg to Pence 41 percent to 40, and Glenda Ritz tied with Pence at 42 percent. But it's a start! Read more about the poll here.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Budget Committee Approves Construction Projects In Tippecanoe County

Last Friday Rep. Sheila Klinker announced that the State Budget Committee, of which she is a member, has approved four new construction projects in Tippecanoe County totaling nearly $100 million, including four projects at Purdue. Klinker noted that Purdue was particularly persuasive: “Purdue’s folks are readily prepared and do a great job of presenting the needs to the Indiana Higher Education Commission, which has to OK the projects before they come to the Budget Committee." Read more from WLFI here.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Next Monthly Meeting will be held Saturday, June 20, 10am at Hanna Community Center.

Come hear about our volunteer plan for the 2015 Municipal Elections and how this will also feed into 2016.

Light refreshments will be served! 


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Game On! Glenda Ritz Announces Governor Bid

Today State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz announced that she would seek the Democratic nomination to run against her arch nemesis, Mike Pence, as governor. She joins John Gregg and Senator Karen Tallian as announced Democratic candidates for governor. Read about her announcement here. Some have voiced concern over whether a competitive Democratic primary will hurt the party's chances in the fall; IPFW political scientist Andy Downs says there will inevitably be a split: "The question is will it be a nasty split?" (read more here).

On the other hand, Indy Star political analyst Matt Tully says that Ritz brings something neither Pence nor Gregg has--passionate followers who think her leadership is crucial: "Over and over, for at least a year now, I've heard supporters of the state's superintendent of public instruction say that they not only wanted her to run for governor, but that the state needed her to run for governor." Tully notes that Ritz is an able fighter and observes that "If this turns into a political street fight, Ritz and her team will win. They play that game a lot better. Just ask [Tony] Bennett." Read more of Tully's analysis here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Pelath Says He Won't Run for Governor

Despite intriguing speculation by Indiana political guru Brian Howey ("a ticket of some combination of Ritz and Pelath could be hard to resist"), House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says he will not participate in a contested primary for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination because a "free-for-all primary" would damage the party's chances to defeat incumbent governor Mike Pence. He says he will stay focused on legislative progress: “We have very pressing problems in Indiana. We need a new direction. We have an image we have to repair. That’s going to take a team and there’s plenty of work to go around.” Read more about Pelath's decision not to run here.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Website Says Ritz Will Announce Governor Run

The Indianapolis-based website Indy Politics says that they have learned that Superintendent Glenda Ritz will seek the Democratic nomination for governor, and that her announcement will come in the first week of June. Should she not win the nomination, she can run for re-election the the State Superintendent of Public Instruction office she currently holds. Read more from Indy Politics here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Baron Hill Will Run for US Senate

Five-time Democratic congressman Baron Hill from Indiana's hotly contested 9th District told a Columbus Jefferson/Jackson dinner audience that he plans to run for the Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Dan Coats. He will make a formal announcement in June. In Hill's 1990 Senate campaign against Coats he famously walked the length of Indiana to build his statewide name recognition, and he says he might consider doing it again. But he expects his main focus to be economic: "Wages have fallen way behind, so I want to focus like a laser beam on what we can do to get those up." Read more from ABC News here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

John Gregg Will Run for Governor Again, and So May Glenda Ritz

Here's a brief Fox News interview with John about running.

It is possible that others may enter the race on the democratic side, including Superintendent Glenda Ritz. "After this [legislative] session, there's absolutely nothing off the table," Ritz says. She will make a decision in June. Read more about a possible Ritz run here or hear her statement on the subject here.

Lafayette City Council Incumbents Advance in Primary

The only contested race in yesterday's primary was for the at-large seats in the Lafayette city council. Two Democrats, Dewayne Moffitt and Matt Swisher, did not generate enough votes to unseat any of the incumbents, Lon Heide, Kevin Klinker, and Nancy Nargi. The incumbents will, however face a Republican challenger in the fall election. Mayor Roswarski and 6th District councilman Bob Downing will also face Republican opponents in the fall. First District Republican incumbent will be opposed by Democrat Linda Shriner. Lafayette Democratic council candidates Ron Campbell, Perry Brown, Lauren Ahlersmeyer and Melissa Weast-Williams will run unopposed, as will City Clerk Cindy Murray. West Lafayette cancelled its primary because there were no contested races. Read more about the primary in the J&C here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Republicans Will Spend Millions to Repair the Damage Done by RFRA

The Senate's budget guru, Luke Kenley says the Senate's Appropriations Committee will add $2 million to the budget to help repair the damage done to Indiana's reputation by the RFRA fiasco. Half of it will go to tourism funding and the other half will go to an entrepreneurial program called Launch Indiana. Read more here.

Meanwhile Gov. Pence has declared the RFRA matter officially behind us and that the state is ready to move on. And he also has announced that his administration had hired a public relations firm to strengthen Indiana's brand as a “welcoming place to live, visit and do business.” Read more here.

Too bad no Republican thought about the possible outcomes of RFRA before they passed it.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Poll Shows RFRA Damaged Pence

A new poll commissioned by the Human Rights Campaign shows that Gov. Pence has been politically damaged by the controversy surrounding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 75 percent of likely voters said the controversy was bad for Indiana business; independent voters felt the fight was damaging by 72-12 and Republicans agreed by a margin of 64-13. 53 percent of voters said the RFRA fight gave them a less favorable impression of Pence while 38 percent say it left a more favorable impression. Best of all, the poll shows Pence in a 47-47 tie with Democrat John Gregg! Read more about the poll at

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Committee Passes Bill to Deny Superintendent the Chair of State Board of Education

With the RFRA fiasco behind them, the Republican supermajority is ready to get back undermining Superintendent Glenda Ritz wherever and whenever possible. Now the House Education Committee has passed a bill that would deny the Superintendent the automatic role of chair of the State Board of Education, thus further diluting the power of her office. The Chicago Tribune notes that this agenda dates back to to former Superintendent Tony Bennett's defeat by Ritz:
Many programs at the epicenter of these arguments were championed by former Superintendent Tony Bennett, who Ritz unseated after receiving more supporting votes than Gov. Pence. "The voters had made it clear that they did not agree with Superintendent Bennett," said Vic Smith, of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education. "According to this bill, the voters are wrong."
Read more from the tribune here.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pence's Private RFRA Signing with Anti-Gay Activists

If anyone tries to claim that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act had nothing to do with discriminating against the LGBT community, share this photo with them and ask why Gov. Pence invited these three anti-gay activists to his private signing ceremony for the bill.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pence Refuses to Answer Whether RFRA Makes Discrimination Legal

Eight times Gov. Mike Pence refused to answer George Stephanopolous's yes/no question about whether the new Religious Freedom Restoration Act makes discrimination against gays and lesbians legal in Indiana during his disastrous appearance this morning on ABC's This Week. And the Governor said that making gays and lesbians a protected class was "not on my agenda." The Governor argued that discrimination was not an issue because "Hoosiers don't believe in discrimination." Case closed.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Religious Freedom Act on Hardball

Chris Matthews took on Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act on Hardball Friday night. You can see it here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sen. Dan Coats Won't Seek Re-Election in 2016

Dan Coats says he won't run for re-election to his Senate seat in 2016: "I have concluded that the time has come to pass this demanding job to the next generation of leaders." Coats's decision inspired speculation on whether his seat could become competitive for Democrats who need to gain just five seats to control the Senate again. Brian Howey notes that Hillary Clinton, who put considerable effort into Indiana in 2008, could focus a spotlight on our state again, which could impact a Senate race. Howey asks, "Could they pull off an Obama and make Indiana competitive?"

Speculation is already gravitating toward Evan Bayh, who has a $10 million war chest from his previous campaign. Coats succeeded Bayh in 2010 when Bayh opted not to seek re-election. Read more here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Religious Freedom/Right to Discriminate Bill Passes House

The House passed the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act today on a party-line vote. The bill was a solution in search of a problem, as pointed out by Minority Leader Scott Pelath:
“This is a made up issue. It’s an issue made up for the purpose of being able to go in front of a few Indiana citizens and thump your chest that you stood up for certain social causes. It basically says to a group of people that you’re second rate, you don’t matter, and if you walk into my store, I don’t have to serve you. That is old-fashioned thinking at best. It is dangerous reactionary thinking at worst.”
State Democratic chairman John Zody said the bill legalized discrimination:
“The so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act sets us on a dangerous, regressive course, and the ensuing court battles will take away valuable time, money, and effort that should be invested in moving us forward. This is a sad day for Indiana – and sadder still is Gov. Pence’s commitment to sign it into law when it reaches his desk. In fact, it’s disgraceful.”
Read more about the RFRA here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

President Disses Purdue in His NCAA Bracket--Again

Once again President Barack Obama has failed to select Purdue for the Final Four in the NCAA men's basketball tournament! That's seven years in a row! Even worse, he has Purdue losing in the first round to Cinncinnati. At least he didn't pick IU to win any games(he started to but thought better of it and scratched it out).

If want to hear the President explain himself, you can do it at here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sanders Brings a Scientific Perspective to His Politics

On Friday the Purdue Exponent published a profile of Democrat David Sanders who is running for a seat on the West Lafayette City Council. The article focuses on the scientific perspective perspective that Sanders applies to political matters, especially where data are concerned:
“I've been interested for quite some time in the intersection of science and public policy. That’s why I’m interested in politics, because very few people in decision-making positions have scientific experience. On either side of the spectrum, either the left or the right, they listen to lobbyists who tell them what to do, rather than evaluating the data for themselves.”
You can read the whole Exponent profile of David Sanders here.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Party Leaders Want a Pence Challenger--Soon!

State Democratic leaders would like to have a Democrat step up as a candidate for governor, in part to serve as a spokesperson for the party who can make Gov. Pence pay some political price for his actions during this legislative session.

“I want someone to step up and take the thing,” said House Minority Leader Scott Pelath. “We are dedicated to driving message for the middle class here in our legislative caucus. In order to most effectively do that, we need a clear statewide leader. And I want somebody to look at that goal and tackle it.”

Indiana Democratic Chairman John Zody agrees: “Time is tight. Everyone who has expressed an interest in running knows that.”

Names being suggested include 2012 gubernatorial nominee John Gregg, former congressman Baron Hill, Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, and State Superintendent Glenda Ritz, but none has indicated an intention to run. Pelath says he will not be a candidate.

Read more from the Statehouse File here.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Editorial: Pence's Claims of Ignorance on Policy Outcomes Don't Cut It

Yesterday the Kokomo Perspective published a tough assessment of Gov. Pence's leadership. The gist of the editors' argument is that Pence makes policy decisions and when the unpleasant effects of those decisions start to be felt, he claims ignorance. Whether the ignorance is genuine or politically expedient deception is perhaps debatable. Case in point, the longer ISTEP tests:
The latest headline grabber was the enormous length of this year’s ISTEP standardized test. School children were facing 12 hours of examination. The reason for this increase is rooted in Pence’s decision last spring to move Indiana out of the federal Common Core standards in order to develop his own plan.

The results of Indiana’s new standards are yet to be realized, but there is one thing that is remarkably clear. Pence is blissfully unaware of the impact his decisions have on Hoosiers. When the length of the test was revealed, Pence claimed ignorance, stating he learned about it from Indianapolis media. Then, he scrambled to pass the buck to State Superintendent of Education Glenda Ritz.

What about this says “leadership?” Pence doesn’t know what’s going on with ISTEP despite his intense meddling in public education? Are we supposed to believe that?
Based on this and several other examples of alleged ignorance, the editorial concludes as follows: "The people of Indiana shouldn’t accept Pence’s claims of ignorance. They are dishonest at worst, and indicative of inept leadership at best. We deserve better."

You can read the whole editorial here.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Senate Passes Bill to Deny Ritz Board Leadership

The Indiana Senate passed a bill that strips the Superintendent of Public Instruction of her automatic role as chair of the state's Board of Education. (The bill was Senate Bill 1, which gives you an idea of the priority it was given by the governor and his supermajority.) The Senate bill, however, makes some significant changes in the Board's make up. It shrinks the board from 10 to 9, of which only four would be appointed by the governor; other members would be the Superintendent and one appointee each from the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate. Needless to say, the Governor is less than thrilled that his appointments to the board will shrink from 10 to 4.

The bill passed by the House has no such structural changes to the Board, so the two bills will have to be reconciled and a compromise bill voted on before the session ends. You can be sure that at the end of that process the superintendent's office will have lost the chairmanship of the Board of education that it has held for more than a century.

Buck Creek Senator Brandt Hershman, one of the Senate bill's authors, claimed the bill does not significantly strip power from Ritz: "Hoosiers have an innate sense of fairness. And many of them have been badly and purposely misled about what Senate Bill 1 does. The superintendent remains the superintendent." If Hershman thinks folks with a sense of fairness will think this shameless power play is fair, he probably has another think coming. And who's being misleading when Hershman suggests that SB 1 does not significantly alter the office of Superintendent?

Read more from the J&C here and from the Fort Wayne News Sentinel here.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ritz Supporters Rally at Statehouse!

Superintendent Glenda Ritz surprised more than 1,000 of her supporters by speaking at today's rally on her behalf in the statehouse. "I am an educator, and I know what we need in our schools," she declared. The crowd agreed, enthusiastically. The Indianapolis Star coverage of the event is here.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

West Lafayette Democrats Field Strong Slate for Municipal Elections

Democrats will compete for all West Lafayette city council seats in the upcoming municipal election. Incumbents Nick DeBoer (District 1), Peter Bunder (District 2) and Gerald Thomas (At-large) will seek re-election. Purdue student Joelle Jones (District 3), Purdue professor Larry Leverenz (District 4), Kathy Parker (District 5), former kindergarten teacher Lois Haueisen (District 6) and Purdue professor and former U.S. Representative candidate David Sanders (At-large) will also run for City Council seats.

Also, incumbent Judge Lori Stein Sabol has filed for re-election, and Sana Booker will run for the new office of city clerk.

You can see video of the candidates' announcement here.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pence Issues Order to Shorten ISTEP Test, Ritz Plans to Ignore It

Apparently Gov. Mike Pence wanted to clarify who really runs education in Indiana by issuing an "executive order" demanding that the expanded ISTEP tests be shortened. Then a spokesperson for Superintendent for Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said that there are no plans to make any changes in the new ISTEP. As reported in Chalkbeat Indiana, "Danielle Shockey, Ritz’s deputy superintendent, said the order would likely have no effect and that the test could not be significantly cut down unless the legislature changes requirements in state law or the U.S. Department of Education offered special freedom from its rules that it has so far denied. 'There is nothing in that order that would cause us to pause,' she said."

Chalkbeat explains the regulatory constraints under which Ritz's staff determined that the tests would have to be longer this year. (In part it has to do with the state's decision to replace the national Common Core standard with a unique Indiana standard.) Meanwhile, Pence has engaged a Michigan State professor and the company that makes the ISTEP to explore ways to shorten the test. Any changes to the test will have to be implemented by February 28. Looks like things will be heating up even more as long as petulant Republicans insist on having everything their way.

Monday, February 9, 2015

House Passes Bill to Oust Ritz from Board of Education Chair

Today the Indiana House of Representatives ignored the collective will of 1.3 million Hoosier voters (more than voted for Mike Pence), ignored thousands of tweets with the hashtag #IStandWithRitz, and voted for a bill that would effectively remove Glenda Ritz from the superintendent's century-old role as chair of the Indiana Board of Education. The bill will allow the Governor's Board of Education appointees to elect their own chair with the elected Superintendent reduced to just another voter. This change will be effective not after the next election but as early as July 1. Twelve Republican representatives felt bad enough about the bullying tactics of the supermajority that they voted against the bill. The bill will now cross over to the Senate for a vote; if successful there (as there is no doubt it will be), it will become law.

Said House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, "This is an example of what happens when somebody runs afoul of the politburo. Superintendent Ritz was independently elected; she got more votes than Governor Pence. The people who put her in office expected that she would slow down the runaway train of education experiments that came straight out of Washington, D.C."

You can read more from the Indy Star here.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Senate Committee Votes to Remove Ritz as Chair of Education Board

The Senate Rules Committee has passed a a bill that, like the just-passed House bill, would deny the elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction the chair of the state's Board of Education. The Senate bill goes even further than the House bill in that it changes the make up of the Board itself. Read more from WBAA here.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

House Education Committee Approves Bills to Gut Ritz's Powers as Superintendent

The lead in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette says it all: "Two bills gutting Democratic Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz’s power passed the House Education Committee on Thursday." The first (HB 1609) said the chair of the state's Board of Education would be decided by a vote of the Board members rather than automatically going to the Superintendent; the second (HB 1486)stripped the Department of Education, run by the Superintendent, of many of its powers and assigned them to the governor-appointed Board. The vote was strictly partisan.

Glenda Ritz said, "The Indiana superintendent of public instruction has held the position of chair of the State Board of Education for over 100 years. Indiana chose to have its highest-ranking elected authority on education be the chair, and the 2012 elected superintendent should be afforded this role." Read more from the Journal Gazette here.

Speaking to reporters last Friday, the Times of Northwest Indiana reported that Democratic House Minority Leader Scott Pelath called the action a slap in the face of the 1.3 million voters who elected Ritz to lead state educational policy as it is currently defined in law. Pelath said, "It just amazes me that those who have been given so many opportunities to govern Indiana and to shape policy are so paranoid about the presence of this one lone dissenter in their midst. Let her do her job and let the voters be the judge; it's not that complicated."

The Journal and Courier's Dave Bangert called the attack on Ritz an attack on voters, and considers the attempt to marginalize Ritz a mistake: "There’s a reason why Ritz was elected. Perfect or not, . . . Ritz means something in the debate over education policy, even if a Republican supermajority would rather ignore it." Read Bangert's column here.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Democrats and Federal Acceptance of HIP 2

The New York Times reports that advocates of the Affordable Care Act view the agreement on an expanded Healthy Indiana in lieu of expanded Medicare as a win for the Obama administration, because it could "give other conservative states cover" to participate in the ACA's Medicare expansion. reports that Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane called the HIP 2 approval a “victory for working Hoosiers” but says he’s concerned that Pence left thousands of people without health care coverage who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little for insurance subsidies. Lanane says the plan will drive down premiums for insured Indiana residents and eliminate use of emergency rooms for primary care.

House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath said he is thankful low-income Hoosiers no longer will be forced to rely on expensive emergency room care for their health needs, though the resolution took longer than it should have. Pelath said, "While there are countless disagreements over the means to achieve health care affordability, when President Obama and Mike Pence agree, we ought to feel some modest satisfaction, take stock of our future and move forward. Now come the nitty-gritty details of making this work."

Pence also cited the efforts of two Democrats Rep. Pete Visclosky of Merrillville and Sen. Joe Donnelly in helping to persuade the Obama administration to accept HIP 2 as a substitute for Medicare expansion.

Read more from the Northwest Indiana Times here. The best explanation of the ins-and-outs of the agreement is the New York Times article here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pence's State-Run News Service: "Pravda on the Plains"

Yesterday Gov. Mike Pence's office announced that it was launching its own news service called "Just IN," and he has taken a beating in the media, from political foes, and even from political friends. The prospect of a government-run, taxpayer-funded propaganda outlet generated ridicule about "Pravda on the Plains" and "Izvestia in Indiana" on Twitter. Even House Speaker joked about its Soviet quality, as reported in Daily Beast: “I understand the governor has indicated he’s going to be issuing some clarifying remarks, so I’m withholding final judgment until that occurs. In the meantime, just in case, I have had my staff contact Rosetta Stone and I do have a new Russian version that will be coming out shortly.” Bosma ended his phone interview with "“Dasvidaniya!"

Gov. Pence spent much of the day he's intended to be touting his now federally-approved medical insurance plan backtracking from yesterday's announcement of Just IN; see the J&C here. The governor's transparent presidential ambitions have certainly not done much good for Hoosiers, but at least the damage of this blunder is limited to his credibility as presidential timber.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Klinker: Teachers Not Paid Enough

Rep. Sheila Klinker offered a great guest column in the J&C last week noting that Indiana teachers simply aren't paid enough.
"An individual becomes a teacher because of love for teaching and students. However, it is not by the chalkboard alone that one can survive economically these days. Families still need to be fed, clothed and housed. Currently, jobs requiring no advanced education are paying more than the teaching profession, an occupation that shapes the minds of our children and society’s future. There is something wrong with that prioritization."
Many state teachers work second jobs to make ends meet. Effective teachers in poorer school districts don't get raises like their colleagues in more affluent areas. Not only are teachers leaving the profession, they are not entering it to begin with.

To address some of these inequities she has introduced HB 1444 which provides for raises for a teacher's years of service as well as masters degrees or other professional development. You can read Sheila's editorial here.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Democrat Files for New Office of West Lafayette City Clerk

Democrat Sana Booker has filed as a candidate for the new office of city clerk for West Lafayette. The new office is a result of West Lafayette's becoming a Class 2 city rather than a Class 3, thanks to last year's annexation. Booker currently works for Board of Public Works and Safety.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Pence and Zoeller Seek to Deny Hoosiers ACA Healthcare Subsidies

Gov. Mike Pence's ideological war against Obamacare is already preventing hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers from being covered by an expanded Medicare while he quibbles with the feds about allowing the comparatively puny Healthy Indiana to substitute for Medicare. Now he and Attorney General Zoeller are working to take away the subsidies that enable about 100,000 Hoosiers to afford health insurance through the Affordable Healthcare Act. These elected officials, who are supposed to work for the welfare of Indiana citizens, submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to the Supreme Court supporting a lawsuit to deny federal subsidies provided by ACA to individuals purchasing health insurance in states, like Indiana, that opted not to establish a state-run insurance marketplace. It's estimated that 118,000 Indiana residents would lose subsidies valued at about $4,000 person, and would likely lose their health insurance as well. It's pretty clear that Gov. Pence values his ideology more than the welfare of Hoosiers. Read more here.

Candidacy Filings for Lafayette City Council

The following Democrats have filed as city council candidates in the 2015 Lafayette municipal election as of end of business on Thursday, January 15. Candidates have until February 6 to file.

Ron Campbell-District 2
Perry Brown-District 3
Lauren Ahlersmeyer-District 4
Melissa Weast-Williamson-District 5
Bob Downing-District 6
Lon Heide At-Large
Kevin Klinker At-Large
Dewayne Moffitt-At Large

All are incumbents except Dewayne Moffitt.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Pence Probably Won't Be Allowed to Run for Governor and President Simultaneously

Thankfully Republican Senator Mike Delph's proposed legislation that would allow Gov. Pence to run simultaneously for president and governor probably won't be taken up in the legislative session. House Speaker Brian Bosma said, "It does not seem to me to be good public policy to give elected officials the opportunity to run for a federal and a state office at the same time." Senate President Pro Tem David Long said it's fine for incumbents to aspire to higher office but they should have to choose: "If running for [higher] office is what I’m going to do and it happens to coincide with the date that I’m running for reelection, you’re going to have to make a choice there." And, of course, there's the question of what would happen if Pence got himself on the ballot as a candidate for governor and president and managed to win both? Read more from Indiana Public Media here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Roswarski and Murray Will Seek Re-Election

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski and City Clerk Cindy Murray will seek reelection to a fourth term in their respective offices in the 2015 election cycle. An official announcement will follow on January 21. Mayor Roswarski commented "I feel blessed to be a part of the community where people work together ... and we work to find solutions to difficult problems and move the community forward." Murray observed, "The people in our community are absolutely great, and I can say I've learned a lot over the last 11 years." Read more from the J&C here.

House Leader Scott Pelath Lays Out Democrats' Priorities for Session

Monday, January 5, 2015

The 2015 Legislative Session: Contrasting Priorities

The 2015 General Assembly session starts tomorrow, another session dominated by a Republican supermajority. In a recent column Indy Star political analyst Matthew Tully calls these sessions an "annual exercise in frustration" because of "distractions and small-ball initiatives, and priorities so misplaced that you have to wonder if some of our lawmakers realize what an honor it is to serve in the Statehouse." To illustrate he cites Republican initiatives such as Sen. Scott Schneider's "religious freedom bill" that would allow business owners and others to deny service to people with whom they disagree, such as same sex couples who want wedding-related services or to adopt a child. Also, he cites Senate Education Chairman Dennis Kruse's proposed legislation requiring public high school students to pass a civics test similar to the one taken by immigrants seeking citizenship.

By contrast, the Democratic legislative agenda laid out today by House Minority Leader Scott Pelath seems to reflect the real concerns of Hoosiers. On education, Democratic priorities include expanding the state's pre-kindergarten pilot program, making kindergarten attendance mandatory and capping public college tuition at the rate students pay their first year. After years of tax breaks for businesses, Democrats call for an increase in the minimum wage, as have been enacted in many states already. To improve our political system Democrats will propose nonpartisan redistricting, improved government transparency standards, and stricter legislative ethics requirements. Read more about Democrats' legislative priorities here.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Nargi Selected for Lafayette City Council Seat

Nancy Nargi has been selected by a caucus of Democratic committeemen to complete the city council term of Steve Meyer, who was elected as judge for Superior Court 2 in November. Nancy has been a teacher at Mayflower school for forty years. You can read more about her appointment to the council from the J&C here.