Tuesday, May 5, 2015

It's the Primary!

Make sure you get out and vote!  The polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  To find out where you vote in Marion County, go to the Voter Information Portal

I'm going to take a few days off to deal with the campaign trail.  I'll be back later in the week to deal with the results from the primary.

See you all on Thursday!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Garrison Possibly Steals Yard Sign; Maybe Gets in Rough and Tumble

Garrison in happier times
Sometimes, as a blogger, a story just comes right from heaven and lands in your lap.

Now, with Rush Limbaugh's show getting the old heave ho at WIBC, I know Greg Garrison must think his show might be next.  After all, the 67-year-old Garrison stands out like a sore thumb among his younger colleagues on the air.  Besides, I think Greg Garrison has been doing the same darn show for years.

His show is more stale than the loaf of bread that's been sitting on my counter for weeks.  Anyway, the pressure or something MIGHT be getting into the man who put away Mike Tyson.

Allegedly, according to reports, a gray-haired man got out of a BMW SUV registered to Garrison and took down a "Mike Pence Must Go" sign.  This was witnessed by the neighbor of the house with the Pence sign in his yard.  When confronted, the white haired man and the neighbor got into a tussle resulting in minor injuries to both parties.

Now, the police can't prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Garrison is the man who took the sign and got into a rough and tumble because, according to reports, the neighbor isn't interested in pushing the case further.

Am I the only one that wishes there was a video of the incident?

Pelath For Governor? Peterson and Bayh Attend JJ Dinner; Hogsett Soars with Speech

Will Scott Pelath run for Governor?

That question, along with the appearances of Evan Bayh and Bart Peterson, was the talk of the 2015 Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner on Friday Night at the Indiana Convention Center.

Pelath got a warm welcome from the audience as he gave a well-received stump speech.  The Michigan City legislator certainly sounded like a guy that could go toe-to-toe with Pence in the 2016 race for Governor and do some heavy damage on the Governor's chances for reelection.

On Thursday, Pelath danced around the question about would he run for Governor.  At 44, he would be a young choice with a beautiful family that Democrats could rally around.  Pelath also has military experience serving as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve where he served as a first lieutenant.

As a minority leader, Pelath has done just about all he could do.  With small numbers he has, it's nearly impossible to drive debate in the House.  Still, he's made the Republicans work a lot harder than they should have had to work for things.  He also has brought a new tone to the caucus than B. Patrick Bauer did.  This is still an aggressive caucus, but it's one that isn't overly aggressive.  Pelath has kept everyone on pretty much the same page, and that's not easy to do with Democrats.

I think he would be a very good candidate for Governor and could perchance take the frontrunner mantle away from John Gregg.

Pelath would pull the party more left of center which is what Terry McAuliffe, the Governor of Virginia, advocated in his JJ Dinner speech.  He said that he ran a campaign on progressive principles and won in Virginia.  Whether that would work in Indiana remains to be seen.
On Peterson and Bayh
As far as the appearances of Bayh and Peterson at the dinner go, it looked to me that Peterson was there in support of Joe Hogsett.  He sat right next to Hogsett and seemed to be back in his element.  Bayh sat across the aisle from that table.  Maybe he just wanted a piece of dry chicken and green beans?
On Joe Hogsett
Hogsett gave one of the longer and more notable speeches of the night.  He joked with Dem Chair John Zody that he wasn't sure he'd ever given a speech shorter than the two or three minute timeframe he had been given.  Hogsett was in pure campaign mode linking the past of the Indiana Democratic Party to the future yet to be written.  It was well-done.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Personal Prerogative: After Tuesday, My Race is ON!

Candidate Jon Easter
I clean up pretty well...
Tuesday's a big day for me.  It's the first time I've faced the primary voters.

When I ran for Decatur Township Advisory Board back in 2008, I was named to the ballot to fill a vacancy in June.  This time, I filed my exploratory committee in June of last year for City-County Council.

So far, my only advice is to take advantage of that exploratory time.  I didn't do much when I was an exploratory committee that I wish I would have done now.  I've been scrambling a bit since declaring myself a candidate.

On Sunday, I went to the Marion County Clerk's Office, and I voted.  It was surreal to see my name on that ballot and exciting at the same time.  I know all candidates probably feel that way no matter how many times they do it.

Come Tuesday, the race will be on.  Again, you won't see any difference on the blog.  That was a condition of me running for this office.  I told Chairman Miller that I had to be me, and I'm trying.  I can't run from what I've written here, and I am proud of it unless I've had to apologize for it.

Let the next part of my candidacy begin!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Gregg Clarifies Positions on Energy, Abortion, Same Sex Marriage

John Gregg
On Friday afternoon, I had a phone conversation with former Indiana Speaker of the House, John Gregg. He wanted to clear the air on a few issues that I had approached him on earlier in the day and some things I'd been hearing about him on Facebook.

First of all, he believes in climate change, and he’s not quite sure where it’s gotten told that he doesn’t. He acknowledges his work in the coal industry of Southwest Indiana saying that it paid for his law school and that many of the good paying jobs in the area around Sandborn were in that industry when he grew up. He also pointed out that when he ran for Governor in 2012, he talked about alternative sources of energy.  "It was a part of my stump speech.  One of the five things I hit on was energy...all kinds of energy including both wind and solar."

Secondly, he’s a pro-life Democrat, and that comes out of his religious beliefs. He said he's held the same belief for over 30 years and doesn't shy away from it. Despite being pro-life Gregg said that he never brought an anti-abortion bill to the floor when he was in the General Assembly, "It wasn't my issue." 

Gregg stated that he agreed with “96 percent” of what Planned Parenthood does including providing birth control services and preventing “unplanned parenthood.” He also talked about how early detection of his cancer 10 years ago saved his life and what Planned Parenthood does for women in early screenings.

Finally, Gregg says that the issue of same sex marriage has been fought and it has been won by the supporters. He says that he's told many ministers around the state that same-sex marriage is the law of the land in Indiana, and it's not going to change.

As Governor, Gregg said he would veto any bill curtailing that law. He said that repealing “every word” of RFRA and adding LGBT Hoosiers as a class to the state’s non-discrimination clause would be key planks in his platform as he campaigns.

Gregg also said that he would attend, if invited, a same sex marriage ceremony of someone he knew. “I don’t want it to be perceived as me scoring political points by attending any ceremony. It’s quite possible that I could be attending one soon as I have friends that are considering it. I have no problem attending a same-sex marriage ceremony.”

Ritz Could Be Formidable Challenger for Pence

Superintendent Glenda Ritz
Glenda Ritz announced yesterday afternoon that she's considering running for Governor.

I'm sure some on the Republican side gave that a chuckle.  Perhaps even a hearty guffaw.  To every giggling elephant, I say remember this...

Glenda Ritz-1,332,755
Tony Bennett-1,190,716
(Mike Pence-1,284,877)

Yeah, that was 2012 they'll say.  2016 is entirely a different year.  True, but can  you imagine Pence getting more votes this time around?  Nah.  I can't either.  Brian Howey's Bellwether Poll from mid-April put Ritz behind by just three percentage points to Pence at 42-39.  That was within the margin of error of the poll.

Let's take the next three anticipated attacks together.

  • "She hasn't done anything as Superintendent of Public Instruction."
  • "She's just a trouble maker."
  • "She can't even run her own office effectively."
To those attacks I would counter that Ritz has been the sole Democrat that Republicans have sighted their lasers on.  From Mike Pence's shadow Department of Education that was suddenly scuttled to the emboldening of the State Board of Education, Glenda Ritz from nearly hour one has been disrespected and never given an opportunity to succeed in the office.  

Has she made some mistakes? Most definitely, but even the most staunch Republican has to admit that House and Senate Republicans have done little to help her.

The electorate has seen this, too.  Glenda Ritz remains extremely popular among those who elected her because of the way she built that coalition.  At the top of the Democratic ticket, she will have a lot more questions to answer, and she cannot rely only on her base.  She will be targeted with the nastiest of nasty ads if Pence gets desperate...and he will be in 2016.  

Ritz will have to come up with a plan for Indiana in 2016, and it will have to deal with more than education.  If she can do that, her viability as a long-term candidate looks even better.  Ritz still needs to be heard on a myriad of issues from improving Indiana's economy to critical agricultural issues to even human rights issues.  

John Gregg, in my view, is still the frontrunner for the nomination (if Scott Pelath stays out).  He is the more well-rounded candidate.  Glenda Ritz, however, has a role to play in 2016 on the ticket and advancing the ball against the Pence machine whether it's as a candidate for reelection or a candidate for Governor.

I wish her the best in her consideration for 2016.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ritz Announces She's Considering Gubernatorial Run

Supt. Glenda Ritz
From the be careful what you wish for department, Republicans wishing to undercut Glenda Ritz from her position as Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction were informed today that Ritz will announce her intentions for 2016 in June.

That could include her running for Governor of Indiana.

Back in November, Ritz announced she would be running for reelection to her position as Superintendent of Public Instruction, but that was before the blatant attempt to knock her from power by the Indiana General Assembly and the emboldening of the State Board of Education which is controlled to a great extent by Governor Mike Pence.

It could be said that the state's highest elected official on education would be the Governor since that individual seats six of the soon to be nine slots on the State Board of Education.  In the waning moments of the 2015 General Assembly session and without public debate, the SBOE was placed into more of a policy-making role along side the Department of Education controlled by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Ritz stated that she would get through this school year and decide with her family what is next for her this summer.  Her possible candidacy announcement overshadowed that announcement by John Gregg that he would be running for Governor again.
With Gregg in and Ritz on the fence, it will be interesting to see who else might step into the race on the Democratic side.  Pence is widely expected to seek a second term with Angie's List CEO Bill Osterle also considering a run on the Republican side.  

I think Ritz COULD be a tremendous candidate, but she will have the most work to do of the two possible Democrats so far.  I'll analyze her chances in tomorrow's Indy Democrat post.  

Gregg Decision May Be Imminent on Gubernatorial Aspirations for 2016 (WITH UPDATE)

John Gregg
John Gregg appears closer to announcing his intentions for 2016.

The man who closed from double-digit points down in polls a month out from Election Day to just three percentage points behind when the votes were counted has stated that he's interested in running for Governor again, and he's been campaigning like another run is in his future. 

Mike Pence is expected to run again on the Republican side for reelection and could see opposition from his own party.

Via Facebook, Gregg's asking supporters to sign up for an e-mail list to get the big news he's about to share first.

It's unclear as to who else might step up and join Gregg in running for the Democratic nomination for Governor (if that's the mustachioed one's big news).  I'm sure more will come into focus perhaps as early as today because the General Assembly session is now over.

You can sign up for Gregg's email list on his website at www.greggforgovernor.com.

Gregg's IN! About 1:00 p.m. today, the former Indiana Speaker of the House announced that he would be running again for the state's highest executive office.  Here's his campaign video.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

General Assembly to Embolden SBOE

The Indiana General Assembly changed its plan to remove power from Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz.

In the new plan, Ritz would remain in charge of the State Board of Education until her first term expires in December of 2016.  The new plan, which was completely decided by lawmakers with no input from voters or educators would instead put the SBOE on equal footing with the Indiana DOE as an "educational authority."

In January of 2017, the SBOE would then be able to choose its own chair.  That move would effectively cut the Superintendent of Public Instruction out of its powerful spot as the executive in charge of education in Indiana and place the DOE more on the same line with the SBOE.

What could possibly go wrong with two separate entities governing education?  Well, I guess Mike Pence, who would get SIX appointees on the newly-constituted nine member SBOE, would get his shadow DOE in plain sight.

I'll just be glad when this General Assembly session is gavelled closed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Silence of the Councillors

Bob Lutz
Jason Holliday
I was sitting at a Decatur Township Civic Council meeting last night at the Decatur Middle School, and City-County Councillors Jason Holliday and Bob Lutz were in attendance.

I am Jason's opponent in the General Election (as long as we both receive one vote on Tuesday, May 5), but I like Councillor Holliday.  He's been very cordial to me for years, and I do consider him a friend.  I've also gotten to know Councillor Lutz as well.

While I disagree strongly with both men on many issues, we're cordial, and I hope we'll stay that way when this campaign is all over.

As you know if you have been following this blog for any length of time, it's been a really interesting time to be a City-County Councillor.  For one, the Council just defeated Mayor Greg Ballard's veto on public safety funds by an overwhelming vote.  Both Holliday and Lutz voted to override the veto.  Secondly, the Council took a stand on RFRA urging its repeal at the state legislature and advocated adding LGBT Hoosiers to the state's anti-discrimination law.  Holliday voted against that measure while Lutz voted in favor.

Given the opportunity to report anything to the 20 or so people who attended the meeting, both Councillors Holliday and Lutz passed on the opportunity.  Councillor Lutz only adding a couple of dates to the given presentation by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful on emerald ash borer meetings (critical to the city, to be sure, but adding nothing to what the Council has been working on in the last month).

I'm not saying that you have to give a doctoral dissertation every month, but if after this wild month on the Council you have nothing to report, then when will you have something to report, Councillors?