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Friday, May 22, 2015
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U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky (right) meets with a U.S. Department of Labor official. Visclosky has pushed the expansion of the Gary/Chicago Airport, which could become the new economic engine for The Region as U.S. Steel sheds more jobs. (NWI Times Photo)
U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky (right) meets with a U.S. Department of Labor official. Visclosky has pushed the expansion of the Gary/Chicago Airport, which could become the new economic engine for The Region as U.S. Steel sheds more jobs. (NWI Times Photo)
Thursday, May 21, 2015 9:45 AM
By RICH JAMES

MERRILLVILLE - U.S. Steel, the company that built Gary, Ind., more than 100 years ago, once employed more than 20,000 people in Lake County. But that number has been declining since the late 1970s when the steel industry modernized and needed fewer workers to do the job.

The employment level continues to decline – not so much because of modernization – but because of the unfair competition from foreign steel.
The steelmaker has laid off more than 1,000 workers over the last year. While some of them eventually will be rehired, the majority of those workers never will be called back.

As a result, the need for a diversified job market continues to grow in the self-proclaimed City of the Century, a label Gary adopted in the late 1950s. And that call for diversity may be on the brink of being answered. After years of delays and cost overruns, it appears the Gary/Chicago International Airport may be about to become a player in the greater Midwest air transportation network. Two federal grants totaling almost $6 million were announced by U.S. Rep. Peter Visclosky, D-Merrillville, this week. One of the grants is the 10th payment of a $50 million letter of intent issued in 2006 for runway expansion.
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  • By MAUREEN HAYDEN
    INDIANAPOLIS – Any day now, Gov. Mike Pence will announce that he’s seeking a second term or, wildly unlikely, bowing out of the 2016 race. If he’s unsure of his support, he need only look to the rural, Republican red Clay County. There Pence met cheers from a packed audience at the annual Clay County GOP Lincoln Day fundraising dinner on April 16. It was just two short weeks after he signed a bill meant to mollify critics of the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Pence had suffered a bruising - delivered by some in his own party - amid national controversy over the act. What Pence described as an effort to protect the faithful from government intrusion was derided by critics as license to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Amid the fallout, a handful of GOP county organizations quietly cancelled or postponed Lincoln Day events featuring Pence as a speaker. Two publicly cited the controversy over the religious freedom act. Not so Clay County. “We sold out. We actually had to turn people away the day of the event,” said County Republican Chairwoman Jodi Lohrman. 
  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    NASHVILLE, Ind. - Democrats John Gregg and State Sen. Karen Talian have declared their gubernatorial candidacies. Auto dealer Bob Thomas is considering a Republican primary challenge to Gov. Mike Pence. But for this race to really take definition, it will be the coming decisions of Pence, Supt. Glenda Ritz and House Democratic leader Scott Pelath to truly give this contest early definition. Gov. Pence returns from China on Saturday and will have to pick through daunting challenges. Because of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act episode, just about everyone is upset with him, including his base (over the RFRA “fix”), independents, and the business community. He still has robust support from Hoosier Republicans, but as I’ve written recently, he’s in the tank with women and independents who will decide the election.  Compounding this reelection decision is Pence’s heroic stance against mud slinging. 
  • BY: MARK SOUDER
    FORT WAYNE – The northeast Indiana congressional seat anchored by Fort Wayne seldom is open. It has shifted many times between the parties but usually only when an incumbent is defeated. In fact, other than in 1980, the last open seat nomination was in 1892 when Congressman Charles McClellan of Waterloo decided not to run for reelection. In 2010 there was a caucus after I resigned, but that is not the same. About half the residents of the district sought the Republican nomination, but given that Marlin Stutzman had just carried half the area in the Senate primary his nomination was a virtual lock. Dan Coats’ defeat of Paul Helmke and Elmer MacDonald in 1980 is the only example of a primary for an open seat since the 19th century. So it is no great surprise that within three days of Congressman Stutzman announcing that he was leaving the seat, the Republicans had four declared candidates and three more who have confirmed to me that they are considering the race. The Democrats are likely to have many candidates as well.  And obviously, since the primary is nearly a year from now, more will likely join. 
  • By MAUREEN HAYDEN
    INDIANAPOLIS – Two things made state Sen. Karen Tallian start thinking about jumping into the 2016 governor’s race two years ago. The expected Democrat candidate, John Gregg, who lost the governor’s race to Republican Mike Pence in 2012, hinted he might not run again. The other was a scary heart attack that forced her into emergency surgery late one evening. “I might have died that night,” Tallian, 64, said Tuesday, reflecting on the lessons she drew from the experience. “You should do what you’re going to do. It doesn’t help to be afraid.” A self-described progressive, liberal Democrat, Tallian sounded fearless Tuesday as she stood on the Statehouse steps to formally announce her candidacy for governor. She quickly dismissed reporters’ many questions about whether she had the name recognition, money or political appeal to take on Gregg in the primary, much less knock off the well-financed incumbent Republican, Mike Pence. “It’s just the media who’s asking me those kinds of questions,” she said. “My Facebook page has blown up. I have people on a lot of different issues following me, and I think I’m going to have a lot more support than the media thinks.” 
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Stutzman Senate Bid Announcement
U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman's Republican U.S. Senate campaign announcement in Roanoke on May 9.
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  • Lugar Center study reveals a very partisan Indiana delegation
    By MARK SCHOEFF JR.

    WASHINGTON - Most of the Indiana congressional delegation does not work much with the opposing party when introducing or supporting legislation, according to a study by former Hoosier Sen. Richard Lugar. On Tuesday, the Lugar Center and the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy launched the Bipartisan Index, which measures how often lawmakers attract members from the other side of the aisle when they write bills and how often they cross the aisle to co-sponsor measures. There weren't too many bipartisan legislators in the Hoosier delegation in the most recent Congress. The only House member who scored above a "0" was Rep. Susan Brooks (R-5th CD), with a 0.83598. The other House members ranged from Rep. Larry Bucshon's (R-8th CD) -0.24571 to Rep. Luke Messer's (R-6th CD) -1.48456. Rep. Pete Viscloskey, D-1st CD, was not included in the index because he sponsored fewer than three qualifying bills. U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman ranked 365 with a score of -1.00515. Rankings for the delegation included U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks at 23, Larry Bucshon at 186, Todd Young at 193, Jackie Walorski at 210, André Carson at 307, Todd Rokita at 333, Stutzman at 365 and Luke Messer at 416. In the other chamber, Indiana fared much better. Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly achieved a score of 1.459805 to rank third among all senators in the most recent Congress. His counterpart, Republican Sen. Dan Coats, came in near the bottom at 87, with a score of -1.05653.
     
  • Pence campaign confirms reelection announcement June 18
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Gov. Mike Pence will declare for a second term at the June 18 Indiana Republican Spring Dinner, campaign spokesman Robert Vane confirmed this afternoon. “He will announce a reelection bid,” Vane told Howey Politics Indiana Monday afternoon. Vane confirmed what nearly everyone following Indiana politics expected, that Pence would seek a second term. Informed and reliable sources had advised HPI to “follow the money” as Pence has raised more than $5 million for the cycle, while his federal accounts and super PACs remained dormant. Indiana Republican Chairman Jeff Cardwell said, "Gov. Mike Pence is a conservative leader and dedicated public servant who always puts Indiana first," Cardwell said in the statement. "We are excited the governor will formally announce his plans to seek re-election during our annual Spring Dinner, and we look forward to hearing his ideas for the future of our great state."

     
  • Quarter century after Hill's first U.S. Senate race, he's back
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    NASHVILLE, Ind. - A quarter century after he walked from Lake Michigan to the Ohio River in an attempt to unseat freshman U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, Democrat Baron Hill is now set on winning the seat that Coats is retiring from. Hill sources told Howey Politics Indiana that he has a full team is in place (mail, media, pollster, fundraisers) and he has a “loyal army of former staffers in Indiana and Washington who are ready to help.” On Thursday evening in Columbus, Hill told 200 Bartholomew County Democrats, “I want to be your next senator.”

     
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  • Presidents gig David Letterman on his final Late Show
    “Our long national nightmare is over.” - President Obama, along with former Presidents Ford, Bush41, Clinton and Bush43, to David Letterman on the final edition of the “Late Show” Wednesday night. Letterman had hosted more than 4,000 episodes of the “Late Show” since its debut on CBS in 1993, and in his late-night television career, more than 6,000, including nearly 2,000 installments of his NBC program, “Late Night,” which ran for 11 years starting in 1982. The Indianapolis native and Ball State grad is expected to return to his hometown this weekend for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500. 



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