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.