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Monday, January 23, 2017
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Thursday, October 15, 2015 9:20 AM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    
INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence kicked off the infrastructure debate with a $1 billion proposal to repair state highways, interstates and bridges. Local government officials want the governor and General Assembly to take it several steps further, and provide what the Indiana Association of Cities & Towns calls a “sustainable” funding source. IACT President Matthew Greller told Howey Politics Indiana on Wednesday that the Pence plan is a good start. “The big thing is it’s good the administration is addressing infrastructure in a very serious way with a very serious proposal and a lot of money. But it includes no money for city and town streets and county roads. I’m disappointed because the vast majority of road miles in Indiana are maintained by local governments.”
  • HPI Analysis: Pence's 'heartbeat away' on the Trump wildcard
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – From the Hoosier perspective, here in the 2016 Center of the Political Universe, the notion that Vice President Mike Pence is now just a heartbeat away from the American presidency is not surprising. For a political generation, Pence has presented remarkable ambition. At noon today, he reached the penultimate goal of his life. Indiana has produced other ambitious modern men like Birch and Evan Bayh, Dan Quayle, Richard Lugar and Mitch Daniels, all possessing the 1600 fever at some point. With Sen. Birch Bayh, Quayle, Lugar and Daniels, there were significant to epic policy achievements that lent to the narrative that the White House was a logical final step.
  • How HPI covered the departing Clinton, Bush43 presidencies
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – In the 22 years that Howey Politics Indiana has been publishing, we’ve covered the end of two presidencies: Bill Clinton in 2001 and George W. Bush in 2009. Now for just the second time in history, we are witnessing the third consecutive two-term president leave office with the departure of President Barack Hussein Obama, following Clinton and Bush43. It is the first time there have been three two-termers in a row since Presidents Thomas Jefferson in 1809, James Madison in 1817 and James Monroe in 1825. Here is how HPI covered the departing Clinton and Bush43 administrations:

  • HPI Analysis: President Obama's Indiana legacy
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – On Feb. 9, 2009, President Barack Obama came to Elkhart, a city where he had campaigned several times during his 2008 campaign. While he didn’t carry Elkhart County, losing 55-44%, he won Indiana’s 11 Electoral College votes. The jobless rate in Elkhart had gone from 4.7% in 2008 to 15% as the Great Recession took aim at the recreational vehicle and domestic auto industries. Noting the 3.6 million jobs lost since September 2008, and 600,000 during the month he was sworn in, Obama said at Concord High School, “We’re talking about people in the audience here today. We’re talking about people who have lost their livelihood and don’t know what will take its place. We’re talking about parents who’ve lost their health care and lie awake at night, praying their kids don’t get sick. We’re talking about families who’ve lost the home that was the corner, their foundation for their American Dream.
        
  • Gov. Holcomb invokes his hero, President Lincoln
    By THOMAS CURRY
    and BRIAN A. HOWEY


    INDIANAPOLIS - Gov. Eric Holcomb relied on an old hand to move Hoosiers into their third century during his first state of the state address Tuesday night. Enter, President Abraham Lincoln, who moved into Indiana at the birth of statehood in December, 1816, and finds its 51st governor a seasoned scholar on his life and legacy. “I will continue to reach out to everyone with ideas that can lift all Hoosiers, including those who may not always agree on everything but are willing to find opportunities to solve problems and move our state forward,” Holcomb said in his inaugural state of the state address. “I will leave you with two quotes from one of the greatest Hoosiers and greatest Americans who ever was, Abraham Lincoln – a man I have studied for many years and who is one of my true heroes.”

  • HPI Analysis: Gauging Trump conflict between his words, heart
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Set aside the Russians and embattled American intelligence agencies for a moment and ponder the two most interesting quotes when it comes to the ramp-up of the Donald Trump presidency thus far this month. Over the weekend in a Washington Post interview, President-elect Trump seemed to come out in favor of universal health care. “We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.” In Trump world, people “can expect to have great health care. It will be in a much simplified form.  Much less expensive and much better. It’s not going to be their plan. It’ll be another plan. But they’ll be beautifully covered. I don’t want single-payer. What I do want is to be able to take care of people.” The second quote came on Jan. 9, when Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, warned Americans that you can’t always believe what Trump says. “Why is everything taken at face value?” Conway asked during an exchange with anchor Chris Cuomo. “You can't give him the benefit of the doubt on this and he's telling you what was in his heart? You always want to go by what's come out of his mouth rather than look at what's in his heart.”

  • Mayor Buttigieg finding chair support for fresh DNC start
    By MAUREEN HAYDEN
    CNHI State Reporter


    INDIANAPOLIS – South Bend’s progressive Democratic mayor, Pete Buttigieg, is miles apart politically from the state's former conservative Republican governor, Vice President-elect Mike Pence. But the two Hoosiers share what political observer Andy Downs calls a “Midwestern politeness” that may have lasting impact on their respective parties. The even-keeled Pence appears to already be tempering the impact of his volatile running mate, President-elect Donald Trump. Or, he's at least playing what CNN’s Eric Bradner (a former Indiana Statehouse reporter) describes as the role of “fixer” with Republicans on Capitol Hill. Buttigieg’s aspirations are to fix the Democratic Party and keep it from stumbling back into the mistakes of the past, marked most recently by the divisive intra-party nomination fight between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who lost to Trump in November, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

  • HPI Analysis: Mike Pence, the not-so-great communicator
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS –  He was supposed to be the great Hoosier communicator. But when Mike Pence was finished with Indiana this past week, his galloping ambition fulfilled after a three and a half year run over Hoosier stepping stones, it was a one-way conversation. It was a wrap. No exit interviews as his term came to an end, unlike with exiting Govs. Evan Bayh, Joe Kernan and Mitch Daniels. For a politician who was supposed to be the great Indiana communicator, Vice President-elect Pence left us on his own words and terms. What he lacked was the courage to engage in a dialogue over what had occurred here over the past four years.
  • Trump compares U.S. intelligence agencies to Nazi Germany
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – At their first press conference since last summer, Donald Trump and Mike Pence assailed the media and the U.S. intelligence community, at one point Trump comparing them to Nazi Germany, appeared to evolve on the notion of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, and vowed to simultaneously repeal and replace Obamacare this month. The 90-minute event at Trump Tower was the first presser since July 27, when Trump invited the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s campaign. And it came hours after BuzzFeed and CNN reported that U.S. intelligence leaders supplied Trump with a two-page “salacious” addendum provided to President Obama and Trump last Friday that the Russian government has damaging personal and financial information on the president-elect. The New York Times and NBC News reported on Wednesday that none of material has been independently verified. It prompted Trump to say at one point Wednesday, “I think it was disgraceful -- disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out. I think it’s a disgrace, and I say that -- and I say that, and that’s something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do. I think it’s a disgrace that information that was false and fake and never happened got released to the public.”
  • Macer's consent bill aimed at human trafficking
    By MAUREEN HAYDEN
    CNHI Statehouse Bureau

        
    INDIANAPOLIS – A lawmaker who has advocated for sex-crime victims wants to raise the age of consent to give prosecutors and police another tool to combat sexual predators. But she’s struggling to convince colleagues that doing so won’t criminalize what they call “young love.” Rep. Karlee Macer, D-Indianapolis, is working on legislation raising the age of sexual consent from 16 to 18, the minimum age to buy cigarettes or cast a vote. In addition, her proposal increases penalties for the crime of child seduction, allowing prosecutors to go after adults at least 23 years old who have sex with someone younger than 18. The measure comes at the request of law enforcement including former Attorney General Greg Zoeller, who’ve supported recent laws aimed at cracking down on human trafficking and commercial sex crimes. Her bill aims to protect older teens from being coerced into commercial sex work as prostitutes, or from being exploited by much older adults, she said.
  • HPI Analysis: Gov. Holcomb stakes out his own policy
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    and THOMAS CURRY

        
    INDIANAPOLIS – One would be hard-pressed to recall an Indiana governor who didn’t get off to a good start. Governors are elected on a virtual personal basis with voters. Frank O’Bannon was grandfatherly, Evan Bayh the boy next door, Doc Bowen was the family physician, Bob Orr the friendly giant, Mike Pence the sunny favorite son come home, and Mitch Daniels the comeback kid. Gov. Eric Holcomb is, perhaps, the least known new governor of the modern era, elevated to lieutenant governor last March, and then into the gubernatorial nomination on July 26. In the final November WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana Poll, Holcomb’s fav/unfavs had risen to 31/26%, up from 17/14% in the September survey where he was first tested. He had 80% name ID, compared to 98% for Gov. Pence, and 23% had no opinion of him, compared to just 4% for Pence, whose own fav/unfavs stood at 50/44%.
        
  • Senate Republican priorities include roads, opioid solutions

    By THOMAS CURRY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Backing the message of their new governor and House colleagues, Senate Republican leaders unveiled their 2017 legislative priority this morning. Senate President David Long said that “Indiana needs to keep the ball moving forward” and included road funding, education and the opioid epidemic as his top priorities.  “We will work together this session to find a long-term road funding plan that enables our economy to continue growing in the years ahead,” said Long, R-Fort Wayne. “We will also work to support our teachers and students, protect taxpayers and fight drug abuse in our state.”

  • Gov. Holcomb signs executive order creating drug czar

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Following through on a campaign promise, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order just hours after taking office, creating a drug czar position. “Since 1999, Indiana has seen a 500 percent increase in drug overdose deaths. This is an epidemic tragically affecting Hoosiers from every walk of life in every part of our state," Holcomb said on Monday. "This new position will provide the urgent and concerted attention required to effectively reduce the impact drug addiction is having on families, individuals and children.” The excutive order, one of 11 signed, creates the Executive Director for Drug Prevention, Treatment and Enforcement. Holcomb named Jim McClelland, who retired in 2015 as CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana.  McClellend will serve as the chairman of Indiana’s Commission to Combat Drug Abuse, coordinate and direct the drug-related activities of nine Indiana state agencies, and measure results and outcomes of state programs to reduce addiction. McClelland will report directly to Holcomb.

      

  • Gov. Holcomb vows to take pioneer spirit into Indiana's future
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Gov. Eric Holcomb was sworn in as Indiana’s 51st chief executive, paying homage to a state built on the backs and with the grit of pioneers. The ceremony took place 11 hours after he officially took office at 12:01 a.m., commencing the fourth consecutive gubernatorial term by a Republican. “Today marks the 51st time in our rich history that a new administration has taken this solemn oath, and for me it is an exciting opportunity,” Holcomb said at Indiana Farmers Coliseum at the State Fairgrounds. “Because I have the great fortune of being the first governor sworn into Indiana’s third century. So it’s an entirely appropriate time to take stock of our past and look ahead to our future.” Indiana celebrated its 200th anniversary of statehouse on Dec. 11, 2016.
     
  • 2017 HPI Power 50 List: Tandem administrations unfold
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – After a year of what had been unfathomable events and improbable ascendancies, after a year where political alignments fell off the rails between the people and their political leaders, after a year where long-held beliefs were ditched for current expediency, this is where we are: 2017 promises to be, perhaps, a bipolar year. If 2016 was sensational and unprecedented, 2017 could bring a new dawn or a reckless interlude. There are voices tweeting things beyond our immediate comprehension. There are photo ops no one ever expected. The political world is shaking at an 8.2 Richter scale level, and the populist uprising that installed two administrations leans in to see what can be delivered, what can’t and at what price. There are deals to be made, though no one can be sure of the facts here in post-truth America, or the parameters. Fake news, rumor, gossip and innuendo now compete with responsible journalism. The Trump and Holcomb administrations will commence just days from now, the former likely to impact the latter in ways unknown at this writing.
  • HPI Analysis: Dan Coats' evolution into the Trump world view

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    NASHVILLE, Ind. – After a bizarre several weeks of President-elect Donald Trump disparaging the U.S. intelligence sector in the wake of a 17-agency assessment on Russian hacking in the 2016 presidential election, there were audible sighs of relief with word that Dan Coats will be named director of the Office of National Intelligence. Making the appointment on Friday, Trump said, "Dan has clearly demonstrated the deep subject matter expertise and sound judgment required to lead our intelligence community. If confirmed as Director of National Intelligence, he will provide unwavering leadership that the entire intelligence community can respect, and will spearhead my administration’s ceaseless vigilance against those who seek to do us harm.”

  • Holcomb introduces 5-point agenda, calls for appointed superintendent

    By THOMAS CURRY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Just four days before officially becoming Indiana's 51st governor, Eric Holcomb released his “Five-Pillar” legislative agenda for the upcoming 2017 session. Flanked by his soon-to-be Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Holcomb said the focus of his plan was to “take Indiana to the next level” and to “solve issues that affect Hoosiers most.” The plan looks to continue the Republican policies that have steered Indiana for the last 12 years, with a distinct Holcomb twist. The five pillars focus on the future economy by encouraging job creation, a call for an appointed education secretary, passing a comprehensive infrastructure bill, developing a skilled and ready workforce, attacking the drug epidemic and delivering great government service to Hoosier citizens. The governor-elect called for investing $1 billion into shaping Indiana into a “innovation hub.”

  • Trump appointment of Coats as intelligence director hailed
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    NASHVILLE, Ind. - President-elect Donald Trump’s imminent decision to appoint former U.S. Sen. Dan Coats as director of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is being widely hailed.  Coats, who was appointed ambassador to Germany just before the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attack, was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee until he retired last week. In 2014, after the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia for annexing the Crimea, Coats was banned from traveling there. “While I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to go on vacation with my family in Siberia this summer, I am honored to be on this list,” Coats said at the time. Coats pushed for more severe sanctions, making his appointment by Trump as a new wrinkle in the building administration. Coats appointment is seen as a stabilizing factor in the fledgling Trump administration, which has stoked controversy in recent months and weeks by the president-elect’s bromance with Russian President Putin, and his dismissal of the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies assessment that there was a “high probability” the Russians hacked and impacted the 2016 presidential election.  U.S. Sen. Todd Young, a former Marine intelligence officer, reacted, saying, “I can’t think of an individual I trust more to advise the president and direct our intelligence operations than Senator Coats. He deserves all the accolades he will receive in the coming days. This is an excellent pick by President-elect Trump.”
  • Coats emerges as front runner for national intelligence director
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Former U.S. Sen. Dan Coats is apparently a frontrunner to be named director of national intelligence by President-elect Donald Trump. If Coats is offered and accepts the intelligence position, he walks into a hornest’s nest as the Obama administration and 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, including the FBI and CIA, believe that the Russian hacking impacted the 2016 presidential election.  Trump has all but rejected that conclusion, and on Wednesday, Pence said on Capitol Hill, “I think the president-elect has expressed his very sincere and healthy American skepticism about intelligence conclusions, but we're going to sit down later this week.” Multiple media sources are reporting that Coats has moved into the lead position for the job, presumably at the behest of Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Coats is a former ambassador to Germany, taking that post just before the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. Coats served on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

  • House Republicans lay out road funding, drug epidemic plans
    By THOMAS CURRY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House Republicans looked to ““Investing In Our Future” Wednesday as Speaker Brian Bosma by unveiling the first details of the long-awaited infrastructure and roads program. The plan, which manifests as House Bill 1002, filed by House Roads and Transportation Chairman Ed Soliday, calls for an increase in taxes and fees on Hoosier drivers to pay for road improvements.  “It is time to look to the next generation,” Bosma said during the plan’s unveiling on the House floor. “We set a bold agenda this session and we are committed to putting Hoosiers first by passing an honestly balanced budget and responsibly investing in Indiana’s future."
  • Lanane, Soliday spar over proposed gas tax hike for road plan
    By MAUREEN HAYDEN
    CNHI State Reporter


    INDIANAPOLIS – Republicans who control the Statehouse are lining up their political ducks to hike gas taxes and other fees to pay for roads, and Democrats are shooting at the plan. On Tuesday’s opening day of the General Assembly, Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, predicted “huge tax increases” on the horizon for motorists even as high-income earners and corporations enjoy continued tax breaks. “They’ve had control of the General Assembly for a number of years. Why have they waited till our infrastructure is crumbling?” Lanane said of a GOP plan to impose more “user fees” on drivers. His remarks come as House Republicans prepare to lay out details of their comprehensive road and infrastructure plan this morning at the Statehouse. Lanane said pro-business Republicans should halt a series of cuts signed by outgoing Gov. Mike Pence that are costing millions of dollars in lost tax revenues.
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  • Conway cites 'alternative facts' over inaugural attendance
    "You're saying it's a falsehood, and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.” - Kellyanne Conway, advisor to President Trump, to NBC’s Meet The Press when pressed by host Chuck Todd on press secretary Sean Spicer’s assertion that Friday’s inauguration had the “largest audience ever.” Spicer had scolded reporters for trying to “lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration.” Aerial photos show fewer people on the mall on Friday than President Obama’s 2009 inaugural. But there are also reports that about three million more people watched the inauguration on TV and internet platforms.
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President Trump's Inaugural Address
President Trump's inaugural address.

Trump walks Inaugural parade route
President Trump walks the inaugural parade route with his wife and son.

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Trump taxes

Should Donald Trump release recent tax returns, like every major party nominee has done over the past 40 years?


 




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