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Sunday, February 17, 2019
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  • Our first national park at Indiana Dunes
    It continues to amaze me how many folks from central and southern Indiana have never visited Indiana's sea, known to most of us as Lake Michigan. If you need another reason to take a couple hour trip northward on U.S. 31, U.S. 421 or I-65, thank President Trump for our first national park. It's now the Indiana Dunes National Park. The move was included in the spending package compromise that Trump signed on Friday, inserted in the legislation with the help of U.S. Sen. Todd Young and U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky. 

    Visclosky said, "I also am heartened that because of the support of our U.S. Senators, the entire Indiana Congressional delegation, and numerous Northwest Indiana organizations, we have successfully titled the first National Park in our state. This action provides our shoreline with the recognition it deserves, and I hope further builds momentum to improve open and public access to all of our region’s environmental wonders.”

    The Dunes includes white sand beaches, trails and an array of flora and bogs, with a front row seat to the Chicago skyline. It richly deserves to be Indiana's first national park.
    - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Hoosier presidential candidate week in The New Yorker
    This must be Hoosier presidential week in The New Yorker. First came Benjamin Wallace-Wells' portrayal of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg's "Quiet Rebellion" in the context of the emerging 2020 presidential race. Then Jill Lepore's "Eugene V. Debs and the Endurance of Socialism." These articles feature two Indiana presidential candidates from South Bend and Terre Haute, their stories playing out a century apart.

    Wallace-Wells writes: "Against the image of the millennial left, Pete Buttigieg appears to be a relatively prosaic Presidential candidate, but, in his own understated way, he is suggesting a sharp break with the past." The writer adds, "Part of the paradox of Buttigieg’s candidacy is that he has placed himself in a performative role, without the benefit of a performative personality."

    Lepore finds Debs growing up in Terre Haute working on the railroads, his political origins in the Democratic Party. She writes: For a long time, Debs disavowed socialism. He placed his faith in democracy, the franchise, and the two-party system. “The conflict is not between capital and labor,” he insisted. “It is between the man who holds the office and the man who holds the ballot.” But in the eighteen-eighties, when railroad workers struck time and time again, and as many as two thousand railroad men a year were killed on the job, while another twenty thousand were injured, Debs began to wonder whether the power of benevolence and fraternity was adequate protection from the avarice and ruthlessness of corporations backed up by armed men. “The strike is the weapon of the oppressed,” Debs wrote in 1888. 

    Debs ran his final of five presidential campaign in 1920 from a jail cell. It's too early to determine what confines Buttigieg will be operating from he is fledgling candidacy makes it to 2020. But with President Trump's State of the Union vow that America will never be a "Socialist country," it is the notion of historic socialism and Buttigieg's recasting from a Millennial perspective that provides a fascinating subplot to the 2020 presidential campaign.
    - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • President Reagan's 108th birthday
    Former IndyStar reporter Mary Beth Schneider posted this on twitter today: "108 years ago today my great-grandmother went to the second-story apartment next to her family’s Tampico IL meat market to help a woman in labor. She was in the room when Nellie Reagan delivered a baby boy named Ronald."

    A lament I hear often in the context to the current affairs in Washington is a longing for the days of President Ronald Reagan, even from my Democratic friends. He was optimistic and spoke to our aspirations with his "shining city on the hill." You could take his word to the bank. He cut deals with Democratic Speaker Tip O'Neill and the two would have a round of bourbons after business hours. He was an ardent free trader. He treated our allies with respect. His vision in determined dealings with the "evil empire" Soviet Union helped end the Cold War. He and General Sec. Gorbachev took historic steps to end the nuclear arms race in a process that is being undermined today.

    He brought us "Morning in America" as the oil shocks and recession came to an end. He was a principled and compassionate conservative and yet pragmatic. His "11th Commandment" kept Republicans from turning on each other. On his birthday, we greatly miss President Reagan, one of the best of our times - Brian A. Howey, publisher 
  • The fart of the deal
    Now, what was that all about? For months, President Trump desired, touted and then pulled off a government shutdown, stiffing 800,000 federal workers and 20,000 Hoosiers two paychecks while throwing the nation's security apparatus and the air grid into turmoil. He bragged about it. He declared he would "own the mantle" of it. But the "Art of the Deal" president ended up with an ignominious fart of the deal. Voters sent Trump to Washington to be a disruptor, but not to wreak pointless havoc for a wall "Mexico" was supposed to pay for before he tried to foist it on the American taxpayer. It was a wall a Republican Congress refused to fund before this futile, pointless gesture.

    The cat calls and Bronx cheers are only beginning to accelerate. Axios  quoted a Trump adviser: "Total surrender. Disorganized, disoriented and now disrespected. The Senate Rs were about to cut and run. He had no exit ramp. At least it got Stone off the top of the news." The Drudge Report  declared: "WALLED IN." NYT's  Maggie Haberman tweeted: "Not only did Trump alienate moderates with a shutdown, he upset his core 35% by caving — and, most significantly for 2020, did it all as Democrats held together on a major issue fight." The Wall Street Journal  called it a "fiasco." Columnist S.E. Cupp declared Speaker Pelosi "manhandled the President of the United States into submission."

    And now with key confidante Roger Stone indicted and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe creating a sensational and scandalous crescendo with the feds saying Stone had been "directed by a senior Trump campaign official," we now find "Individual One" occupying the White House facing a dismal and daunting future.
    - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Trump and Pence are flirting with an air disaster
    President Trump and Vice President Pence are flirting with an unprecedented disaster as the federal government shutdown reaches 34 days. On Wednesday, key air traffic groups warned the system was nearing a "breaking point." Air traffic controllers work 10 hour days, six days a week. They haven't been paid in a month and many are fretting basic finances.

    "In our risk averse industry, we cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break. It is unprecedented," according to a statement from National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President Paul Rinaldi, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) President Joe DePete, and Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) President Sara Nelson. "Due to the shutdown, air traffic controllers, transportation security officers, safety inspectors, air marshals, federal law enforcement officers, FBI agents, and many other critical workers have been working without pay for over a month." JetBlue Airways Corp. CEO Robin Hayes said the system was reaching a “tipping point.”

    By Friday morning, the FAA was blaming flight delays at LaGuardia, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Jacksonville airports due to staffing shortages with the potential to spread across the grid. At Fort Worth, three air traffic controllers resigned. Trish Gilbert, executive vice president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, explained, "You can't mess with a system that is so integral to the United States. This is reckless, what has been going on with the shutdown."

    President Trump vowed to "own the mantle" of the shutdown as a supplicant Pence looked on. Prepare to reap the whirlwind if there's an air disaster and loss of life. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Mike, make us the nation that works

    Mr. Vice President, as our governor, you coined the phrase “Indiana: The State that Works.”  It's etched on state office buildings, we see it in basketball fieldhouses and even in New York City. You’re now vice president in a federal government that doesn’t work. It’s largely dysfunctional and has been closed down for a month. Some 800,000 federal employees (and 20,000 Hoosiers) have been furloughed or aren’t getting a paycheck. There are so many Hoosiers that loved that “State That Works” Mike Pence as opposed to the Shutdown Mike Pence.

    Our unemployment rate is 3.6%, thanks largely to you and Gov. Holcomb. We have a 64.9% labor force participation rate, an all-time record. There are currently 72,388 unfilled job postings, but last July it was 103,000 and as late as March 2017, it was 117,000. Hoosier farmers are telling me they’ve got a labor shortage. Brian Burton from the Indiana Manufacturers Association tells me that 45% of the Indiana workforce will retire in the next decade due to the Baby Boom. Gov. Holcomb calls it the “silver tsunami” and frets about declining birthrates and where Indiana companies will get tech workers, farm laborers, plumbers and electricians for the next generation.

    Immigrants come to America to reap the fruits of your amber waves of grain, and they tend to have big families. They also tend to be pro life, go to church, and value their families. On Saturday, President Trump proposed in an effort to end the federal government shutdown codifying protections for Dreamers - the kids who came here with their illegal immigrant parents, and have known no other country than the USA. But he wants to do it for just three years in exchange for $5.7 billion in border protection. This is a good start, but a half pregnant proposal. I'm all for border protections, whether they be steel slats or concrete, drones, more border patrol agents and other high-tech solutions. But why limit protections for Dreamers to three years? Why not give certainty to these 10,000 or so Hoosier Dreamers, who attend our schools and universities, serve in our National Guard, enlist in the U.S. armed forces, start businesses and raise families? Some of your most hard core supporters call this "amnesty," but this is a perversion of reality.

    And why is the Trump administration on course to limit legal immigration? According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, in 2016, there were 1.2 million immigrants who became lawful permanent residents, or “green card holders” while 753,060 became naturalized citizens. In the first quarter of 2018, there was a 20% decline in green card holders. Every time a Hoosier congressman or woman attends a naturalization ceremony, they beam about the beauty of new citizens wanting to contribute and share the American  cornucopia. 

    Mr. Vice President, on Saturday you said, "There is no amnesty in the president's proposal. There is no pathway to citizenship in this proposal." We hope you reconsider. Get a deal done. Give certainty to Hoosier Dreamers, and our businessmen and farmers who are yearning for more workers. Start thinking about "America: The Nation that Works." - Brian A. Howey

  • Read the 2019 HPI Power 50 List
    Since 1999, Howey Politics Indiana contributors and subscribers team up for the Power 50 List. It's designed to forecast who will likely have the greatest influence over the coming year. We've dropped our subscriber paywall, and you can read the entire list by clicking here. You'll find that Gov. Eric Holcomb, Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker Brian Bosma, Senate President Rod Bray and others such as National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg will be generating headlines throughout 2019. Enjoy! - Brian A. Howey. Publisher
  • Hoosier common sense and the shutdown
    There's a disturbing logic deficit going on in Washington, D.C. and as a result the federal government is partially closed. This is behavior we wouldn't tolerate at the Indiana Statehouse, or your county court house, or your city or town hall. If Hoosier officials at those stations acted in this manner, they would be tossed out of office in the next election. Gov. Eric Holcomb and a number of others from across the political spectrum talk about our penchant for "Hoosier common sense" when it comes to problem solving. So here's my two cents for the mostly mute Indiana Congressional delegation: Exchange wall funding for a deal on the Dreamers.

    We already have 650 miles of "wall" or "fence" on the Mexican border. Speaker Pelosi describes a wall as "immoral," but it really isn't. Extending the wall to other highly trafficked areas for illegal immigration isn't unreasonable. What is immoral is keeping the 10,000 Hoosier Dreamers and the hundreds of thousands of kids brought to the U.S. illegally but at a young age in a suspended state. That's cruel and it needs to be rectified.

    It would be breathtaking and reassuring if the Indiana Congressional delegation, the nine Republicans and two Democrats, held a press conference and proposed a deal to give Dreamers a distinct path to citizenship in exchange for an extension of a physical border device (steel or concrete, I don't care). How about it, Hoosier Members? Show us some of that Hoosier common sense in our pathetic national capital. And do your jobs and get the government reopened. - Brian A. Howey, publisher

  • Recounting the deadliest American epidemic in history
    Kokomo Tribune reporter George Myer relays some troubling statistics on the opioid epidemic: In 2017, more than 1,800 Hoosiers died from an overdose. That was up from more than 1,500 in 2016. In 2008, 818 people died from an overdose, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. In 1999, that figure was 184. There's an even more troubling stat from Howard County: Nearly one in five babies born this year were exposed to drugs while in the womb. 

    A new book, "American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts"  by the veteran Guardian  foreign reporter Chris McGreal, gives "a devastating portrait of the opioid epidemic, a uniquely American and catastrophically lethal tragedy born of Congressional neglect, amplified by corporate greed, and brutally exploited by illegal drug cartels. The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in American history resulting in 90 American deaths a day and has eviscerated communities across the country." U.S. consumers, writes McGreal, account for 80% of the world’s opioid painkillers, but just 5% of the population. The book focuses largely on West Virginia, in particular the town of Williamson, Pop. 3,191, but earlier this year it was announced that just two of its pharmacies had dispensed more than 20 million prescription painkillers in the course of a decade. That’s roughly 6,500 pills per resident.

    So this is the story of our time, decades in the making. As the Indiana General Assembly and other legislative bodies are learning, the bill for this is now coming due, counted in the billions of dollars. - Brian A. Howey, publisher

  • Genesis and the 'Earth Rise' 50 years ago with Apollo 8
    It was Dec. 24, 1968 and our family had gathered in front of the TV. Apollo 8 had disappeared behind the dark side of the moon and radio contact had been lost. It had been a chaotic year, with the Tet Offensive jarring Americans about the prospects of the Vietnam War, President Johnson stunned the nation by announcing on March 31 he wouldn't seek reelection, and then came the assassinations of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in April and June, the Chicago police riots at the Democratic National Convention, the Soviet invasion of Prague,  and then Richard Nixon's tiny victory over Vice President Humphrey and Gov. George Wallace in November.

    Americans needed some good news, so we waited for astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders to regain voice contact with Mission Control in Houston. When they did, the family erupted in cheers. And then came one of the most poignant moments in history. Borman, a native of Gary, Ind., began reading from the Book of Genesis: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”

    Borman said 40 years later, "We were told that on Christmas Eve we would have the largest audience that had ever listened to a human voice and the only instructions that we got from NASA was to do something appropriate." The scripture was accompanied by the "Earth Rise" photo that Anders took, the first time humans had seen their planet from this far out in space. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Holcomb will have a hate crimes bill advocate in Eva Kor
    Indiana appears poised to pass a hate crimes law in 2019, with Gov. Eric Holcomb vowing to be an "active voice in the process." The legislation proposed by Republican State Sens. Mike Bohacek and Ron Alting comes with a spate of antisemitism cropping up across America and Europe.

    Holcomb will find an affirming voice in Eva Mozes Kor, the Holocaust survivor from Terre Haute and subject of the documentary "Eva." In the wake of another jewish cemetery desecration in France this week, Kor tweeted, "Antisemitism is in the open & the world is silent. This is the way the Holocaust & Auschwitz started. I hope & ask for you-every citizen in the world to be outraged the same way you would be outraged if this graffiti was against  Muslims & African Americans-Jews are people too!"
    - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Weird scenes inside the White House
    The Nick Ayres saga fallout continues to be just ... weird. Vanity Fair's  Gabriel Sherman reports that last Friday, President Trump met with Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence, and out-going Chief of Staff John Kelly to finalize the CoS transition. A press release announcing Ayers’s hiring was reportedly drafted and ready to go for when Trump planned to announce Kelly’s departure on Monday. But Kelly was pressing for top aide Zachary Fuentes to get the job, Trump got pissed and leaked the story on Saturday. Ayres began getting calls from the press about his net worth estimated to be between $12 million and $54 million.

    Ayres then insisted he only wanted the job for several months. Sherman: “Trump was pissed, he was caught off guard,” a former West Wing official briefed on the talks said. By Sunday, Ayres not only bolted the Trump gig, but the Pence job, too, deciding to head back to Georgia. So by year's end, Trump and Pence will both be on their third chief in less than two years.

    This all comes amid rampant speculation that with scandal, House Democrat investigations and a tariff-bruised economy all looming over the horizon, who would want to work for a guy like Trump, where loyalty is a one-way street, allies get thrown under the bus, and careers can be tainted forever after folks wallow in Watergate or get the Kremlin Kramps. Trump and Pence had lunch on Monday. Wonder what was on the menu? Crow, perhaps?
    - Brian A. Howey, publisher.
  • Ayres could extend Pence power ... for now
    Vice President Mike Pence's political prodigy, the young, lean and hungry Nick Ayres, is about to take the operational reins of President Trump's White House. Trump announced on Saturday that Chief of Staff John Kelly is out after months of rumors that he would be exiting, and several months after Trump and Kelly announced he was on board through the 2020 reelect. Kelly was a four-star general with battlefield experience. Ayres is a 36-year-old political operative dating back to Pence's tenure as Indiana governor. With an announcement expected to come on Monday, Ayres will walk in with the support of Jared and Ivanka Kushner, but with a West Wing and some of Trump's phone buds teeming with enemies and detractors who have lobbied Trump against him.

    Late last week, Vanity Fair's  Gabriel Sherman in an unsourced story suggested Trump is pondering a 2020 ticket without Pence: “They’re beginning to think about whether Mike Pence should be running again,” the source said, adding that the advisers presented Trump with new polling that shows Pence doesn’t expand Trump’s coalition. “He doesn’t detract from it, but he doesn’t add anything either." Sherman added: Trump’s doubts about Pence are surprising given Pence’s frequent public encomiums and professions of loyalty. 

    But now we have Ayres poised as Trump's key gatekeeper in what would be a melding of TeamPence into the Trump/Kusher Family Wing. So this would seem as an enhancement in Pence power that extends through much of the Trump administration, particularly the intel, CMS/HHS sectors that control a significant part of the federal budget. Then you have to consider that Ayres would be Trump's third CoS in less than two years, that Reince Priebus lasted less than six months, and the Trump presidency is entering one of the most harrowing, scandalized era of any administration ... in history. This thrust of Pence power into the Oval Office could be premature. Why do I keep thinking about this switch in the same vein of rearranging the Titanic deck chairs? - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Mueller's 'endgame' could change everything
    As the nation laid to rest President George H.W. Bush Wednesday and today, we will soon bear witness to the legal and political tectonic plates that have been grinding – some in silence, others with a fever Twitter pitch – for the past 18 months. The America we wake up to on Friday morning, or, perhaps, next Monday could be as different as the nation and world we knew in January 1989, and the one emerging before our eyes in the coming days, weeks and months. The “endgame” of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia collusion probe appears to be at hand. Where it leads us is anyone’s guess. It is hardly a leap to suggest that it stands to reshape the governing, political and cultural contours in a way almost no one can comprehend today.

    Mueller has been a silent force in the Capitol, methodical and menacing to President Trump. While there have been spikes in his activities, with the indictment of 12 Russian military apparatchiks last June while Trump met alone with President Putin, what we don’t know is akin to an Everest brooding above the molehill we can fathom. Where this leads our nation is as mysterious as lurking death or even the Creator. We don’t know if he absolves President Trump, commencing the next six years of his governance, or the advent of 'President Mike Pence'

    Scientists say that if the Cascade Subduction Zone snaps in the Pacific Northwest, the tip-off will be about 30 seconds of dogs barking across the neighborhood patchwork. Today, these dogs are Mueller’s court filings, designed to influence the looming sentences of the Michaels, Flynn and Cohen, both of whom have flipped. According to Axios, the most conspicuous “flippers,” the Michaels and former White House counsel Don McGahn, have spent a combined 119 hours with Mueller’s team: 70 hours with Michael Cohen, 30 with McGahn and 19 with Michael Flynn. CNN analyst Elie Honig provides perspective: “By the end of this week, we will know much more about the strength of Robert Mueller’s hand and the threat his investigation poses to President Donald Trump and his administration.”
     - Brian A. Howey, publisher
  • Trump says he will cancel meeting with Putin
    President Trump announced Thursday morning as he was flying to Buenos Aires for the G-20 summit that he will not meet with Russian President Putin this weekend. Trump tweeted, "Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin. I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!"

    When he left the White House for the trip, Trump had said, “I probably will be meeting with President Putin. We haven’t terminated that meeting.” He added that he would be getting a “finalized report” on Ukraine while on the plane."

    Russia attacked and seized Ukrainian ships last weekend and appears to be taking over the Sea of Azov, a major shipping lane for nation that lost the Crimea to Russian aggression in 2014. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on NBC News he wanted Trump to press Putin on this latest, growing crisis. - Brian A. Howey, publisher

  • When Pence met Putin
    Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin offers a fascinating glimpse of Vice President Mike Pence on the world stage, having brief but poignant unscheduled meetings with Russian President Putin and Chinese Premier Li when they were at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders meeting in Papua New Guinea in mid-November. Rogin: When the plenary ended (Pence and Putin) huddled in the corner for about 15 minutes as staff, security and translators swarmed around them. Pence decided to confront Putin about Russia’s interference in U.S. democracy. “So I looked at him and I said, ‘We know what happened in 2016,’ ” Pence told me in an interview. “And I said, ‘As the president has told you, we’re not having it.’ ” Putin denied that Russia had done anything wrong, but Pence stuck to his guns. “And I said, ‘Mr. President, I’m very aware of what you’ve said about that, but I’m telling you we’re not having it,’ ” Pence said. “I wanted to reiterate what the president has said. I thought it was important he hear that from the vice president, too.”

    The context here is that President Trump has questioned U.S intelligence assessments on Russian election interference and indicated he believes Putin's denials. It is heartening to see Vice President Pence take a stronger approach.

    Pence later pressed Premier Li on U.S.-Chinese trade issues, at one point telling him (as Pence describes) “And we got down to the corner, and we just stopped for a minute, and I just looked at him and said, ‘Things have got to change.'" - Brian A. Howey, publisher.
  • Trump reportedly asking about Pence loyalty

    “The president absolutely supports the vice president and thinks he’s doing an incredible job helping to carry out the mission and policies of this administration.” - Hogan Gidley, the deputy press secretary, on whether President Trump has any misgivings about Vice President Mike Pence's loyalty.

    The New York Times reported Friday that Trump has been asking aides and friends whether they believe Pence is loyal to the president. The Times reported: Trump has repeated the question so many times that he has alarmed some of his advisers. Some believe it is part of his vetting of Pence chief of staff Nick Ayres, who could replace Trump chief of staff John Kelly, where speculation runs that he is on his way out. A day after the mid-term elections, Trump asked Pence at a press conference, “Mike, will you be my running mate?” Pence nodded with a smile, as Trump said, “Will you? Thank you. O.K., good. That was unexpected, but I feel very fine.”

    Trump told reporters on Saturday before heading to fire-torn California, "No, I don't question his loyalty at all. He is 100% loyal. It was a phony story. Mike Pence is 100%. Not even a doubt about it in my mind. He's been a trooper. He's been with me from as soon as I won the primaries. I could not be happier."

  • Marijuana and the 56% proposition (even in Indiana)

    Michiganders approved recreational marijuana with 56% of the vote, joining neighboring Canada and along with the West Coast states, Colorado, Maine and even North Dakota. It’s only a matter of time before Illinois joins the party. The Chicago Tribune  reports that incoming Democrat Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker favors legalization and Democrats in both chambers predict it will easily pass. “I suspect it’s a done deal,” said Pat Brady, former chairman of the Illinois Republican Party. “People see it as a new source of revenue. The true battle will be over who gets their cut of it taxwise.”

    Ohio voters rejected a referendum in 2016, but will vote on the issue in November 2019, so Indiana is poised to be the middle finger of pot prohibition, expending funds on enforcement instead of reaping a tax windfall. One thing that strikes us is with Michigan voters approving it with 56%, that's nearly identifical referendums in Washington, Oregon and Colorado, and the Howey Politics/WTHR Poll from 2016 showed about 56% of Hoosiers favored medicinal marijuana. - Brian A. Howey, publisher

  • The General Assembly 'legacy election'

    While we’ve concentrated on 10 Indiana Senate races and 20 House races, the 2018 mid-term elections will also be known as the legacy election. There will be five familiar political names joining the General Assembly on Nov. 6. Gary Councilwoman Ragen Hatcher will be elected in HD3. She’s unopposed and is the daughter of legendary Gary Mayor Richard G. Hatcher. About 80 miles east, Christy Stutzman will win HD49. She, too, is unopposed and is the wife of former congressman Marlin Stutzman.

    The son of State Rep. Jim Baird, the 4th CD Republican nominee expected to win, is Beau Baird, who is facing Democrat Kimberly Fidler in HD 44. In HD43, Tonya Pfaff is expected to win, facing Republican Darrell Felling. She’s the daughter of Fred Nation, the former press secretary of Gov. Evan Bayh and a former Democratic Terre Haute mayoral nominee In HD64, Matt Hostettler, the son of former congressman John Hostettler, is running unopposed as a Republican.

    You've got to think this class will provide some future leadership in the House. - Brian A. Howey, publisher.

  • A Trump Knight reunion in Southport
    The question heading into the weekend is, where’s Gene Keady? President Trump’s rally for Republican Senate nominee Mike Braun at Southport HS will include former IU basketball coach Bobby Knight. Trump tweeted: "Will be going to West Virginia and Indiana today, TWO RALLIES! Don’t tell anyone (big secret), but I will be bringing Coach Bobby Knight to Indiana. He’s been a supporter right from the beginning of the Greatest Political Movement in American History!” Trump, Knight and Vice President Mike Pence are expected to speak to more than 7,000 supporters at 7:15 Friday night.

    And former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz also spurned Irish alum Joe Donnelly for Braun, saying, “Mike Braun has three characteristics that I believe make him the right candidate in this race. Mike is trustworthy, he’s committed to excellence, and he cares more about the people around him than he does about satisfying his personal ambitions.” In 2016, Trump pulled off the coaching trifecta when former Purdue basketball coach Gene Keady joined Knight and Holtz in endorsing the billionaire. 

    Memo to Fred Glass: Perhaps you should consider a Trump/Knight MAGA rally at Assembly Hall. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
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  • Pence visits Auschwitz for first time
    “It seems to me to be a scene of unspeakable tragedy, reminding us what tyranny is capable of. But it seems to me also to be a scene of freedom’s victory. I traveled in our delegation with people who had family members who had been at Auschwitz — some had survived, some not. But to walk with them and think that two generations ago their forebears came there in box carts and that we would arrive in a motorcade in a free Poland and a Europe restored to freedom from tyranny is an extraordinary experience for us, and I’ll carry it with me the rest of our lives.” - Vice President Mike Pence, who visited the Auschwitz concentration camp in Oswiecim, Poland on Friday along with Second Lady Karen Pence and Polish President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda. It was Pence's first time at the scene where Nazi Germany murdered more than 1.1 million Jews and other groups during the World War II Holocaust.
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  • Our first national park at Indiana Dunes
    It continues to amaze me how many folks from central and southern Indiana have never visited Indiana's sea, known to most of us as Lake Michigan. If you need another reason to take a couple hour trip northward on U.S. 31, U.S. 421 or I-65, thank President Trump for our first national park. It's now the Indiana Dunes National Park. The move was included in the spending package compromise that Trump signed on Friday, inserted in the legislation with the help of U.S. Sen. Todd Young and U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky. 

    Visclosky said, "I also am heartened that because of the support of our U.S. Senators, the entire Indiana Congressional delegation, and numerous Northwest Indiana organizations, we have successfully titled the first National Park in our state. This action provides our shoreline with the recognition it deserves, and I hope further builds momentum to improve open and public access to all of our region’s environmental wonders.”

    The Dunes includes white sand beaches, trails and an array of flora and bogs, with a front row seat to the Chicago skyline. It richly deserves to be Indiana's first national park.
    - Brian A. Howey, publisher
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