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Friday, August 26, 2016
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John Gregg discusses his Safe Communities Plan with Howey Politics Indiana at the West Baden Hotel on Friday afternoon. (HPI Photo by Brian A. Howey)
John Gregg discusses his Safe Communities Plan with Howey Politics Indiana at the West Baden Hotel on Friday afternoon. (HPI Photo by Brian A. Howey)
Friday, August 26, 2016 4:21 PM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY

WEST BADEN, Ind. - It’s a story John Gregg has heard over and over and over again: Employers have job openings. They just can’t find enough applicants who can pass a drug test. When he broached the topic at a speech before the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns last winter, some 20 local officials, “mayors, clerk-treasurers, city councilmen followed me out the door to talk about it.” Another time it was a group of executives he met with in Indianapolis.

It isn’t just those who can’t pass a marijuana screening, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee said in a sit-down interview with Howey Politics Indiana here at the Indiana Democratic Editorial Association convention. Cheap heroin is now available in rural areas across the state as well as cities and suburbs. “Were dealing with heroin addiction,” Gregg said. “It’s a mental health issue. There’s such a stigma attached to drug addiction. If someone has a mental health problem, people will say, ‘How can we help you?’ If it’s a drug addiction, they don’t know what to say. We’ve got to lose the stigma.”

A day earlier in Evansville, Gregg unveiled his “Safe Communities Plan.” Gregg stressed the urgency of dealing with the state’s drug problem. “Indiana leads the nation in meth, we’re fifth in heroin and 15th highest for opioid overdoses,” Gregg said. “Yet, Indiana lags behind its neighbors when it comes to access to treatment, despite studies proving that a dollar spent on substance abuse treatment saves $4 in healthcare costs and $7 in law enforcement and other criminal justice costs.”

“John Gregg and I are about practical solutions and real results. We know that the success and growth of our economy are directly linked to the safety and security of our families and communities,” said State Rep. Christina Hale, Gregg’s lieutenant governor nominee. “We will work with all communities, all stakeholders and all Hoosiers to take on these important issues and move Indiana forward.”
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  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    LaPORTE, Ind. -  For reasons that remain murky and muted by remnants of Gov. Mike Pence’s reelection campaign, no further direct money will end up in the coffers of Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb for his bid to keep the office in Republican hands. “You’re not going to see a direct transfer from Mike Pence,” said Holcomb campaign manager Mike O’Brien on Tuesday. But O’Brien was quick to add, “We’ll be fully funded. Normally a candidate for governor spends four years stockpiling funds. We can’t do that. Our cash flow will be raise and spend.” O’Brien also said that many Pence donors are stepping up in his race against Democrat John Gregg, who has raised north of $10 million. “Their response has been fantastic,” O’Brien said. The campaign manager’s comments end speculation as to how much of Pence’s reported $7.4 million campaign war chest at the June 30 mid-year deadline will be transferred to Holcomb. On July 29, the Pence campaign transferred $1.25 million to Holcomb. But the unanswered question is why didn’t the Pence campaign take steps prior to July 19 to move a bulk of those funds, perhaps as much as $6 million, to either the Indiana Republican Party or the Republican Governors Association where they could have then been transferred to the new nominee?
  • By JACK COLWELL
    SOUTH BEND - Do you wake up at night frightened that Hillary is coming to take your guns? Do you break out in a cold sweat when you see a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, even if allegedly a Gold Star mother? Are you often depressed, frequently angry and unable now to envision what once was your American dream? You may be suffering from Hillaryitis Aggrevitis, known as H.A. Don’t suffer any longer from H.A. Trump Elixir can make you feel great again. So great. Believe us. Trump Elixir is a cure discovered by Dr. D.J. Trump. Only he knows the formula. Only Dr. Trump can make you feel great again. Rigged medical advertising regulations, enforced by dishonest establishment bureaucrats, require disclosure that Dr. Trump is not a medical doctor. But he knows so much more than those doctors. They’re losers. If they know so much, why didn’t THEY make America feel great again? Such losers. Believe us. Trump Elixir stops those Hillary nightmares. Gives you courage to push that Muslim woman off the street before she detonates a bomb. Restores your faith in the American dream. Believe us.
        
  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    INDIANAPOLIS – For a former senator and governor who used to win campaigns in landslide fashion, this past week for Evan Bayh was a wake-up call at how peculiar the 2016 cycle is shaping up. Bayh reentered Indiana politics in July just as suddenly as he left it in 2010. In a stunning switcheroo, the nominee Hoosier Democrats chose in last May’s primary, Baron Hill, quit and Bayh with his $10 million war chest that he’s sat on for six years was back! Since then it’s been reported that the state of Indiana has classified him as an “inactive voter.” It prompted him to tell WLFI-TV, “I voted in every primary and every general election for the last 25 to 30 years. I am an active voter in Indiana.” Bayh’s return in July was the bookend to his February 2010 bombshell just before filing deadline that he wouldn’t seek a third term.
  • By CRAIG DUNN
    KOKOMO – One month ago I traveled up U.S. Highway 35 from Kokomo to northern Indiana for a company golf outing. Highway 35 leads through a political mixture of both Democratic and Republican bastions as you snake your way to LaPorte. I found this trip noteworthy for the political yard signs that were sprinkled along the way. “Pence Must Go” and “Fire Pence” signs dotted the roadway in several locations.  I had seen the same signs in yards along Capitol Avenue in Indianapolis, ever since the heated brouhaha over the Religious Freedoms Restoration Act exploded in the public mindset. Mind you, these aren’t hand-painted signs by individuals expressing their anger. These signs are professionally done and distributed as part of a longterm strategy to win the 2016 Indiana governor’s race by vilifying Mike Pence. Oops! The problem with putting all of your chips on one number of the roulette wheel is that your number better come up or you are busted. With Gov. Pence accepting the vice presidential nomination on the Trump ticket, removing him from the Indiana ballot, the obsessive focus of John Gregg and the Democratic Party on a “Pence Must Go” strategy has left them flat busted.
  • By JACK COLWELL
    SOUTH BEND – Todd Young had it won. Until . . . Young, a Republican congressman from Bloomington, trounced another GOP congressman, Marlin Stutzman, the Tea Party favorite, in the May primary, capturing the party’s nomination for the open U.S. Senate seat at stake in Indiana. Baron Hill, the Democratic nominee, with little name recognition, little funding and little chance, was written off by Democratic fundraisers and political analysts in Indiana and around the nation. Young had that seat won. Until . . .  Until Hill dropped out in July, replaced by Evan Bayh. Young now faces a candidate with high name recognition from Bayh’s two terms as governor and two terms in the Senate, mostly favorable recognition. Young’s fundraising advantage is gone. Bayh has $9.3 million in funds from past campaigning. Analysts now see the race as a “toss-up,” maybe even with advantage to Bayh.
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  • Holcomb delivers $1 million in road funds to 'hub of awesome'
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    LaPORTE, Ind. - Tall and lean Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb cuts a far different profile from pudgy ol’ Santa Claus, but when he shows up in an Indiana city or town these days the reaction might be similar. Holcomb is in the process of handing out around $100 million in Community Crossings, the state’s local road and bridge matching grant program.  Appearing at a LaPorte Fire Department statement Wednesday afternoon, Holcomb delivered a $1 million check to Mayor Blair Milo, saying, “While other states struggle with infrastructure, Indiana has continued to invest in ours year after year after year without raising taxes.” He was joined by INDOT Commissioner Brandye Hendrickson and House Transportation Chairman Ed Soliday, who authored HEA 1001 which created the funding. Milo, who describes LaPorte as a “hub of awesome,” was extremely grateful, noting that her city’s pavement management system had identified $17 million in needs, calling the $1 million that Holcomb delivered on Wednesday “a significant step.” She added, “This is not an effort taken by any one person. Lt. Gov. Holcomb is a tremendous champion for our communities.”
  • Pence, Holcomb speed back to Indy in wake of tornado outbreak
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    LaPORTE, Ind. - Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb was conducting official state business in LaPorte Wednesday afternoon when news came of a tornado that slashed through Kokomo. Alerted by a phone call from Howard County Republican Chairman Craig Dunn around 2:45 p.m., Holcomb was wrapping up an INDOT Community Crossings event with LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo when he and staff gathered in a conference room at a LaPorte Fire Department station. Dunn described a funnel cloud that ripped through about a four to six block swathe in a residential area of Kokomo as well as Marland Mall, with a seven mile trail of damage. With Gov. Mike Pence campaigning on the east coast, Holcomb quickly made contact with the state’s Emergency Operations Center, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, and Gov. Pence, who, like the LG, was quickly returning to Indianapolis after a campaign stop in North Carolina.

  • Drake finds an 'excruciating' end to 8th CD recount

    By THOMAS CURRY

    INDIANAPOLIS - One hundred and eight days after the May 3rd primary, the Indiana Recount Commission announced Ron Drake the winner of the Democratic primary for Congress in the 8th CD Friday after a lengthy process that Drake called “excruciating, difficult and hard.” While the recount only changed the vote difference between David Orentlicher and Ron Drake by four votes, the effects of the recount are far greater, leaving Drake with less than 90 days to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon. Drake said that the recount “stopped me from campaigning. I couldn't tell people I was the nominee when I was not.”

  • Conway's ascension in Trump, Inc. boosts Pence influence
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – This latest week of Mike Pence’s excellent adventure began under the cloud of gloom and a landslide Trump loss in the making. Instead of measuring for curtains in the Old Executive Office Building, Pence allies were said to be scouting potential post-2016 options for a governor soon to be without a state. At this writing, Pence seemed to have consolidated a stronger position within Trump/Pence, Inc., when his long-time pollster, Kellyanne Conway, was elevated to manage day-to-day operations while Breitbart executive Stephen Bannon was made chief executive in the second Trump campaign shakeup this summer. It comes as a new Monmouth University Poll in Indiana shows the Republican ticket leading Clinton 47-36% with Gary Johnson at 10%. Conway’s ascension could signal greater influence by Pence on the Trump operations.
  • Horse Race: Pence money slow to flow to Holcomb
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - At the risk of becoming the Cuba Gooding Jr., character in the movie “Jerry Maguire,” Howey Politics Indiana has been asking, “Show me the money!” when it comes to Gov. Mike Pence’s war chest. Another week has gone by and thus far, only $1.25 million of Pence’s $7.4 million campaign funds have made it into the coffers of Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb. Holcomb campaign sources have told HPI they expect close to $5 million to migrate to Holcomb; he had $20,000 in his campaign account when he received the nomination from the Indiana Republican Central Committee on July 26. Three days later, Pence moved what many Republicans believe to be the first part of the funds. On Friday, the Indiana Secretary of State’s large contribution site posted a $250,000 donation from the RGA Direct PAC. Holcomb campaign spokesman Pete Seat told HPI on Sunday that the RGA contribution is a “new investment.” The Democratic Governors Association is contesting the Holcomb campaign’s intent to use “permissible” campaign funds from Pence to fuel Holcomb, who has name ID under 20% and entered the nomination with a mere $20,000.  Holcomb has picked up an additional $175,000 in large donations since Aug. 3.
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  • Gov. Pence praises Kokomo, Mayor Goodnight after tornado
    “I mostly want to express my appreciation to Mayor Goodnight and the outstanding team of first responders in the city of Kokomo. The state of Indiana is playing a supporting role, but the efforts here to give proper warning to this community, to be there for the families once this very serious storm and tornado moved through this area, is a great credit to a city that knows how to deal with difficulty. It’s very moving to me to talk to these families, family members who were in their homes and see these homes destroyed, but because of peoples’ quick thinking and a good early warning system locally, no serious injury, no loss of life. It’s a miracle. It’s a testament to good common sense by Hoosiers.” - Gov. Mike Pence, praising the people of Kokomo and Mayor Gregg Goodnight for their response to the tornado on Wednesday. Goodnight created a program for Kokomo, one of the only Indiana cities without a tornado siren system. Goodnight developed a program that gave free weather radios to residents. There were no deaths or serious injuries.
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HPI Video Feed
Holcomb's first TV ad
Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Holcomb's first TV ad recalls his decision to join the U.S. Navy.

Pence lauds people of Kokomo, Mayor Goodnight
Gov. Mike Pence praises the people of Kokomo and Mayor Goodnight for their response to the tornado on Wednesday.

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HPI Horse Race
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