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Sunday, July 05, 2015
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Gov. Mike Pence (right) during the January State of the State address while Senate President David Long (left) and House Speaker Brian Bosma listen. All three are seeking ways of "clarifying" the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that has set off boycotts of Indiana. (HPI Photo)
Gov. Mike Pence (right) during the January State of the State address while Senate President David Long (left) and House Speaker Brian Bosma listen. All three are seeking ways of "clarifying" the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that has set off boycotts of Indiana. (HPI Photo)
Monday, March 30, 2015 3:34 PM
By MATTHEW BUTLER

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Temp David Long told reporters Monday that Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) law would not allow for discrimination of gays and lesbians and they would seek to pass legislation clarifying such. Both Republican leaders of super majorities in their respective chambers said it was never their intent to pass anything discriminatory and they felt the law was being misunderstood by many and misconstrued by some. The Monday morning press conference was the likes of which rarely seen at the Indiana Statehouse. Media nearly packed the Senate Chamber as national reporters and cameramen jockeyed for space with the everyday statehouse press corps. Outside, national television satellite trucks were parked on the streets lining the state capitol. Democrats were able to use the entire gaggle of media later in the morning to call for repeal of the entire RFRA law and to bolster the state’s human rights statutes by making sexual orientation a protected class.
  • HPI Analysis: A riveting week that changed America
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – In a riveting 24-hour period last week, Americans saw the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirm Obamacare, then legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states. A few hours later at the funeral for South Carolina State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, the full frontal assault on the Confederate battle flag continued, quickly spreading from President Obama’s citation of the flag as racist, to a similar assessment from Republican Jeb Bush, to retailers such as eBay, Amazon and Walmart, to the Alabama statehouse where Gov. Robert Bentley ordered its removal from the heart of Dixie. It was a stunning week that changed America in ways rarely witnessed at such a pace. While Congress and state legislatures remain mostly inert as the general public evolves quickly on social issues, it was the Supreme Court and the corporate community that decisively moved the needle. What remains to be seen is whether this evolution folds seamlessly into American culture, or whether this is only the calm before various groups on the social right regroup and prepare for other fights along other picket lines.
        
     
  • Horse Race: Rev. Harrison files 6,600 ballot signatures in Indy
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Probable independent candidate Rev. Charles Harrison submitted more than 6,600 ballot petition signatures at Tuesday’s deadline. Harrison has not made a final decision on whether to enter the race where Democrat nominee Joe Hogsett is the favorite at this point. In other political news, Jodi Buoscio lost in a thumping to Indiana Rep. Tim Wesco in 2014 elections for his post (Vandenack, Elkhart Truth). That’s not deterring the Elkhart Memorial High School teacher from Osceola. She announced Thursday, June 25, she’s going to try again for the District 21 Indiana House seat, citing Wesco’s “extremist and divisive” positions. “Tim Wesco’s sponsorship and support of the so-called religious freedom bill in the 2015 legislative session made us a national laughing stock,” Buoscio, a Democrat, said in a statement.
     
  • Horse Race: Thomas continues to ponder GOP challenge to Pence
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis auto dealer Bob Thomas is still pondering entry into the Republican primary, and perhaps even an independent gubernatorial bid. “It is still under consideration,” Thomas told HPI on Tuesday. “But taking on a sitting governor is a huge undertaking. I don’t want to get into a bloody primary and then give the seat to the Democrats.” Thomas began pondering a challenge to Gov. Pence following the Religious Freedom Restoration Act episode last April. Thomas said that he is talking with Republicans about the race. “I’m talking to the adults in the party,” he said. “Everybody thinks the same way. They are scared to death this guy is going to get beat in November.” Thomas is looking at mid-July to make a decision.
     
  • Pence lauds SCOTUS decision that pre-empts EPA showdown
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - A week after vowing “not to comply” with pending Environmental Protection Agency Clean Power Plan, Gov. Mike Pence hailed a U.S. Supreme Court decision released Monday morning that clipped the Obama administration’s attempt to restrict carbon emissions that he believed would make energy more expensive and gnaw into Hoosier job creation. “Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a victory for Indiana and for Hoosiers,” Pence said Monday afternoon following the 5-4 decision on Michigan et al. v. EPA.
     
  • Reaction to marriage ruling predictable across Hoosier State
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    NASHVILLE, Ind. - There was a wide scope of reaction in the Hoosier State to Friday’s 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court that legalized gay marriage nationwide. It was mostly predictable, with Gov. Mike Pence expressing disappointment, Democrat gubernatorial challengers John Gregg and Glenda Ritz promising to seek civil rights expansion, and the family groups were angry in their reaction. Gov. Mike Pence, for the second day in a row, expressed his “disappointment” in the high court, following Thursday’s decision reaffirming Obamacare. “Like many Hoosiers, I believe marriage is the union between one man and one woman, and I am disappointed that the Supreme Court failed to recognize the historic role of the states in setting marriage policy in this country,” said Pence. “Nevertheless, our Administration will continue to uphold the rule of law and abide by the ruling of the Court in this case.”

     
  • SCOTUS 5-4 marriage decision ends two-decade IN culture war

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    BLOOMINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision affirming the right of gay couples of marriage under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause essentially ends a two-decade long cultural battle that played out year after year in the Indiana General Assembly. “The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion granting marriage equality in all 50 states. Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, reacted, saying, “This act by the court will devalue marriage. If marriage can mean anything, it ultimately means nothing.  When marriage loses its' meaning, society and children suffer.  When children suffer, government expands. When government expands, liberty contracts. This is not a good day for the future of America."

     
  • HPI Analysis: Gov. Pence prepares to pick a fight
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    and MATTHEW BUTLER

        
    INDIANAPOLIS – Last Thursday evening, it wasn’t the packed banquet hall at Primo’s, or the demonstrators outside, or even the red meat rhetoric that caught our attention. It was Gov. Mike Pence’s face, snapped in a Howey Politics Indiana photo by Matthew Butler that told the story. Pence’s eyes were piercing. His mouth drawn taut. Jaw clenched. And he put the Hoosier political world on notice that he was ready to, as he once famously said on the Washington Mall, pick a fight. “This is going to be a fight and I’m ready,” Pence told the Indiana Republican spring dinner. “We’re not going to allow liberals and special interests in Washington, D.C., undo all we’ve accomplished together. To do this we must be prepared to stand united for common sense leadership that has made our state synonymous with growth and government reform. For those expecting a campaign like 2012, they will be disappointed.”
        
     
  • IMA's Kiely took part in a manufacturing revolution
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – When Pat Kiely entered the Indiana House in 1978, there were no cell phones. When he joined the Indiana Manufacturers Association 24 years ago, the venerable organization was still in the pre-computer era. Now as he prepares to step away from that organization, Kiely surveys a state that is just as reliant on making things as it was when U.S. Steel employed tens of thousands of Hoosiers and his hometown of Anderson was home to a huge General Motors complex. Things have evolved to the point where U.S. Steel employs fewer than 6,000 workers and GM has vanished from Anderson. In 2008, Kiely watched as the domestic auto industry teetered near bankruptcy, an event which, had it occurred, would have produced the same kind of 20% jobless rate he witnessed after the oil shocks of the late 1970s. Tabbed by Speaker J. Roberts Dailey as one of the youngest Ways & Means Committee chairs in history, the 31-year-old Kiely was faced with plugging an epic budget deficit in December 1982 with a record tax increase. Today, Indiana’s manufacturing sector is No. 1 in gross state product (GSP) at 30.1%.
     
  • Coats surveys the INSen race
    By MATTHEW BUTLER
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – Though he has said he will not endorse any candidate, U.S. Sen. Dan Coats described to Howey Politics Indiana the type of Republican he would like to see win the nomination for his seat in May 2016. Coats announced in March he would not seek reelection, citing the desire to spend more time with family. Concerning his successor, he stressed that a willingness to cooperate is essential to achieving substantive reforms in a country that is politically polarized. “I’m very much going to try to work for and support someone who I think has the maturity, has made tough decisions, has the judgment to go in and be a very responsible senator, and, hopefully, pursue the major issues without just being a wrecking ball,” Coats said.
     
  • HPI Analysis: Gubernatorial field of 4 takes shape in shifting times

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    NASHVILLE, Ind. – And . . .  they’re off! With Gov. Mike Pence’s defiant entry into the 2016 cycle on Thursday night, there are now four declared gubernatorial candidates. The first-term Republican is joined by his 2012 foe, John Gregg, who is pining for a rematch; Supt. Glenda Ritz, who is staking a campaign based in part on retribution for the education wars over the past three years; and State Sen. Karen Tallian, who is universally seen as the longest of the long shots. At this early point, while Pence is in polling dead heats with Gregg and Ritz, he is swamping potential rivals on the fundraising front, drawing a dozen big donors at almost a quarter million dollars since May 13 while maintaining a more than $3.5 million money advantage.

     
  • Defiant Pence girds for reelection fight at GOP dinner
    By MATTHEW BUTLER

    INDIANAPOLIS - Gov. Mike Pence officially launched his reelection bid during the annual Republican spring dinner on the south side of Indianapolis Thursday evening. Struggling in the polls since April, Pence remains resolute that his record on key fronts such as the economy, education, and health care will resonate with voters. No elected four-year governor of Indiana has ever lost a race for reelection. “This is going to be a fight and I’m ready,” a stoic Pence asserted Thursday evening. “We're not going to allow liberals and special interests in Washington, D.C. undo all we've accomplished together. To do this we must be prepared to stand united for common sense leadership that has made our state synonymous with growth and government reform,” Pence told the gathering of Republican party leaders, donors, and activists.

     
  • HPI Analysis: INSen race impacts delegation trade vote
    By MARK SCHOEFF JR.
        
    WASHINGTON – Most of the blame for the demise of trade legislation last week fell and the limbo it remains in today on the shoulders of Democrats, but there’s plenty of culpability for Republicans as well, including some from Indiana where the evolving U.S. Senate race played a role. Democrats abandoned President Obama in droves to scuttle so-called fast-track trade authority, which would subject trade agreements to up-or-down votes in Congress but protect them from amendments.
    Democrats abandoned President Obama in droves to scuttle so-called fast-track trade authority, which would subject trade agreements to up-or-down votes in Congress but protect them from amendments. The death blow, however, did not come on the fast-track bill itself, which narrowly passed the House, 219-211. Instead, it came on a related bill, trade adjustment assistance, which would provide income support and job training for people put out of work due to imports or companies relocating overseas. 
  • Pence could be better governor with prez race off the table
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    FREMONT, Ind. – Will Mike Pence become a better governor without a presidential race hanging over his head? This is a parlor game the Hoosier political class has played before, when Gov. Evan Bayh was viewed as a Democratic rising star in the 1990s. It was a topic that would occasionally pop up on the Mike Pence Show. For four election cycles Bayh, including two as governor, the senator’s son was a potential vice presidential nominee and for a brief period in 2005 and 2006, a fledgling presidential candidate. Decisions Bayh made as governor, such as his almost dogmatic approach to never raise taxes, and a cautious agenda prompted Statehouse observers to view policy decisions through the prism of a potential spot on the presidential ticket. There was a similar dynamic with Gov. Pence. Much of his first two years in office created sort of a checklist that appeared to be designed to position him for a presidential run or the 2016 veepstakes.
     
  • Horse Race: New Bellwether Poll trouble for Pence
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS –  A new Bellwether Research Poll conducted on behalf of former Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle shows Gov. Mike Pence in a precarious political position as he officially announces his reelection tonight. In head to heads, Pence trails 2012 Democratic nominee John Gregg 41-40%, and he is tied with Supt. Glenda Ritz at 42%. In the April Howey Politics Indiana Poll conducted by Bellwether, Pence had a 43-37% lead over Gregg and a 42-39% lead over Ritz. The survey did not include the other announced Democrat, State Sen. Karen Tallian. The real problem for Pence is that he is an incumbent governor who is mired in the lower 40th percentile. For historical perspective, in a March 2012 Howey/DePauw Indiana Battleground Poll in the U.S. Senate race conducted by Bellwether’s Christine Matthews and Garin-Hart-Yang’s Fred Yang, then-Sen. Dick Lugar had a 42-35% lead over Richard Mourdock, and ended up losing that primary in a landslide. Pence’s job approval stands at 46/46% approve/disapprove. On favorable/unfavorables, Pence stands at 34/43%, Ritz at 29/13% and Gregg at 20/9%. Asked if Gov. Pence deserves reelection, 32% favored a second term for the Republican and 54% wanted a new person.
     
  • The Jeb, Hillary dynastic campaigns take shape
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    FREMONT, Ind. — We know them by their first names: Hillary and Jeb. This past week, the two modern American dynasties, the Clintons and Bushes, formally jumped into the jumbled 2016 presidential race that may eventually draw 20 Republican and Democratic candidates. It brings the potential for a redux of the 1992 race when Bill Clinton defeated President George H.W. Bush. Worth remembering is that both of those presidencies were successful, even if the latter ended in defeat and the former was mired in tabloid contoversy of exploding cigar nature. Hillary on Saturday and Jeb on Monday made their announcements in New York City and Miami, both focusing on their own stories, while stoking populist themes, and paying passing tribute to the kin who positioned them for this cycle.
     
  • Gov. Pence shifts $1.46 million to fund Guard student grants
    By MATTHEW BUTLER

    INDIANAPOLIS –  This past spring marked the second consecutive year in which the Indiana National Guard Supplemental Grant scholarship exhausted its funding and left many guard members in a college tuition lurch. Though this last budgetary session saw legislation enacted to place the program on firmer financial ground, there was no increased appropriation despite a request by the Pence administration. Since then Gov. Mike Pence has ordered $1.46 million be transferred into the program and the Commission on Higher Education (CHE) is confident this will be sufficient going forward.
        
     
  • HPI Analysis: The hacking assault on Americans
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – In “Leviathan,” English philosopher Thomas Hobbes writes of “bellum omnium contra omnes” or “war of all against all”: “There is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Last March, Eric Holcomb, then a senior aide to U.S. Sen. Dan Coats and now a Republican Senate candidate, relayed what seemed to be a Hobbesian scenario he had just heard during a briefing from former House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers. Through the hacking of U.S. companies such as Indianapolis-based Anthem, and as the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported this morning Medical Informatics Engineering which serves 300 medical centers in 38 states, medical information on millions of Americans could be accessed by a state or terror group. The medicines of powerful individuals could be altered in an attempt to destabilize behaviors. The New York Times this morning described it as a “systematic Chinese effort to build databases that explain the inner workings of the United States government.”
       
     
  • Horse Race: Reid, Hoyer to host Hill fundraiser, Rokita won't seek Senate
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Whip Steny Hoyer will host a fundraiser for Democratic Indiana Senate candidate Baron Hill June 24 in Washington. The range of donations run from $5,400 to $500. Hill is the only announced Democrat seeking to succeed retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Coats. U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Indianapolis, will not enter the 2016 Republican primary, and Republican Eric Holcomb announced a new round of endorsements from The Region.
     
  • Brooks, Bucshon align on 21st Century Cures Act
    By MATTHEW BUTLER
        
    INDIANAPOLIS — During the height of the ebola crisis last October, HPI sat down with U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks. Along with quarantines, no-fly lists, and sending medical aid to West Africa, we discussed the need to accelerate biomedical innovation, particularly for so-called orphan diseases, like ebola and antibiotic resistance, in which market-incentives deter the research and development of therapies. Brooks mentioned her excitement for the 21st Century Cures Act, which would increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and streamline the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval process. The goal is twofold: Improved public health and high-tech economic growth. The bill, however, was being developed within a committee of which Brooks was not a member. Now, with the 114th U.S. Congress, Brooks and her delegation colleague Larry Bucshon, M.D., sit on that panel, The Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as its Subcommittee on Health. Both have played an integral role in drafting the 21st Century Cures Act legislation which passed to the full House floor, by a 52-0 committee vote two weeks ago.
     
  • Horse Race: Proxy wars begin in governors race
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – The proxy wars surrounding the Indiana governor’s race commenced this week. On Tuesday, EMILY’s List announced it was making Gov. Mike Pence its first gubernatorial target for the 2016 cycle and acknowledged talks with the nascent Glenda Ritz campaign. Within a day, Indiana Right to Life responded, calling it a “radical, pro-abortion” organization. It represents the first volley in what could be an intense gubernatorial race, some of which will be played out by special interest groups backing Pence and the eventual Democratic nominee.
     
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  • 'Go get 'em Wayne': Former Sen. Wayne Townsend dies at 88
    “I’m saddened to learn of the passing of Wayne Townsend, who leaves behind a great legacy of leadership. Wayne was a solid family man, a farmer, and voice for all Hoosiers who was beloved by the people of his district and across the state. My heartfelt sympathy and sincerest thoughts are with his family during this time.” - Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane on the passing of former State Sen. Wayne Townsend of Hartford City who died Friday at age 88. Townsend’s 1984 “Go get ‘em Wayne” was a classic gubernatorial campaign, even though he failed to upset Gov. Robert Orr. Purdue President Mitch Daniels called Townsend “one of our greatest Boilermakers” and thanked him for “a lifetime of unsurpassed service.” 



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