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Sunday, February 17, 2019
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Thursday, October 15, 2015 9:20 AM
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.”
  • Atomic! Trump's emergency; Snyder to clink
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY and JACOB CURRY, in Indianapolis

    1. Trump declares a national emergency: Here are your final power lunch talking points for the week: Remember that border wall that Donald Trump promised Mexico would pay for? The wall that for two years a Republican controlled Congress wouldn’t pass? Today, President Trump signed legislation that averted a second government shutdown and that has American taxpayers paying $1.38 billion in funding for 55 new miles of physical barriers. He then declared a "national emergency,"  a step that Republicans from Mitch McConnell to John Coryn to Marco Rubio warned him not to do. Trump insisted this morning that with “monstrous caravans” invading the U.S., “I’m going to be signing a national emergency and it’s been signed many times before. There’s rarely been a problem, they sign it and nobody cares. We’re talking about an invasion of our country with all types of criminals and gangs.”  Trump added, “Drugs can’t go through ports of entry. They go through areas where there is no wall. You put up a barrier, the people come in, that’s it. They come into the United States. Welcome.” With McConnell’s bizarre imprimatur, and reacting to a Trump threat to shut the government down again, Congress cedes its power of the purse  as Trump plans to cherry pick congressionally appropriated funds from other parts of the federal government. 
  • Atomic! Art of the deal? Young unsure of exec order; Pete's tour
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Art of the deal, Trump style: Here are your Tuesday power lunch talking points: In January 2018, President Trump rejected this deal, as described by the Wall Street Journal: Trump gives Democrats a 10-year path to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers; Democrats give Trump his full $25 billion wall funding request." In December, Trump torpedoed a deal that would have given him $5.7 billion, opting instead for a chaotic 35-day federal shutdown that idled 800,000 workers (including 20,000 Hoosiers) and nearly sent the nation's aviation sector into crisis. Monday, a bipartisan compromise congressional deal looked like this: $1.375 billion for 55 miles of fences along the border. Washington Post: The deal omits a strict new cap Democrats had sought on immigrants detained within the United States — as opposed to at the border. 

  • Atomic! INLegis action heating up; Fed shutdown looms

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY and JACOB CURRY, in Indianapolis

    1. Busy two weeks on tap for General Assembly: Here are your Monday power lunch talking points: The Indiana General Assembly is in a for a busy week, according to House Speaker Brian Bosma. The Feb. 25 and 26 deadlines for third readings in the House and Senate are less than two weeks away. While Republicans have passed nearly all of their agenda bills in both chambers, significant hurdles remain to be cleared like the bias crimes bill, gaming, potentially raising the cigarette tax, alcohol sales matters and the budget. Bosma said the House iteration of the budget is “getting pretty close”  and that we should be on the lookout for Ways and Means Committee Co-Chairman Rep. Todd Huston to start talking details. Education will dominate the budget, as always, and last week Bosma gave reporters a preview of a few education provisions that should work their way into this year’s bill. 

  • HPI Analysis: Could Buttigieg win an Indiana primary?

    INDIANAPOLIS – If South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg builds a viable presidential campaign and somehow lasts until the May 2020 Indiana primary, would he carry the state? My initial answer: Perhaps. Mayor Pete is attempting a political trajectory that is completely untraditional for a presidential hopeful. Most candidates build up a statewide organization as a power base, or at least in a major urban area like Barack Obama did in Chicago, and then attempt to extrapolate it into a national context. But that is not the case with Buttigieg.

  • HPI Analysis: Window is closing for redistricting reform pre-2021


    INDIANAPOLIS – With Indiana steadily becoming a one-party state, the window is closing on redistricting reform that would need to be in place in 2019 in order to affect the 2021 reapportionment process. This is a state that up until 2010 had at least one General Assembly chamber majority in play. During the decade following the 2001 maps, congressional seats in the 2nd, 8th and 9th districts changed hands between parties a half-dozen times. But that all ended in 2011 with the current maps that were sold to legislators and the general public as keeping “communities of interest” together, observing county and school district lines, and “nesting” House seats into Senate seats in the General Assembly. Since then, not a single congressional district has changed parties. In the General Assembly, Republicans have held super-majorities for three consecutive cycles. With past maps, usually by the fourth or fifth cycles there were large enough demographic changes to erode the intent of the majority party’s maps.

  • Atomic! Hoosiers & Socialism; Map reform unlikely; Hate bills stall
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Nashville, Ind.

    1. Socialism in the Hoosier context: Here are your final power lunch talking points for the week: John Gregg once famously said (and I paraphrase) that he was against communism, Daylight Saving time and regional government. Of course we know that on his own Sandborn property he can stand in one Daylight Saving time zone and pee into another. Regional government is becoming vogue with Mike Pence's Regional Cities (of which southwest Indiana reaped those $40 million rewards). And at the 2012 Indiana Democrat Convention in Fort Wayne, Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders addressed the AFL/CIO luncheon much to Gregg's chagrin (he was the gubernatorial nominee), then defeatedHillary Clinton in Eugene Debs’ home state in the 2016 presidential primary with 53% of the vote. During his State of the Union address, President Trump said, "Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country."  Thus, a 2020 election marker has been established. Republicans will take on socialism. Axios reports that Marty Obst, a senior operative of Vice President Pence, is giddy over the opportunity, explaining, "While the president and vice president support the Venezuelan people's struggle for freedom, the Democratic Party continues its lurch toward socialism. I would envision that the campaign will highlight the stark differences between the two parties  on this policy among many others." 
  • HPI Analysis: Gauging President Trump's State of the Union

    INDIANAPOLIS – And the State of the Union is ...? With President Trump delivering his third State of the Union address and the final one before Special Counsel Robert Mueller issues his Russia collusion investigation report and the 2020 presidential race begins in earnest, let’s look at the metrics: The unemployment rate is 4%. For women 57.5% are employed, below the 60.3% reached in April 2000. For African-Americans, unemployment stands at 6.8%, for Latinos 4.9%. More Americans are working now than at any time in the past 50 years, with part of that due to increased population.  Since January 2017, the U.S. economy created 4.9 million jobs according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, including 436,000 manufacturing jobs. According to the Washington Post, under President Barack Obama, about 900,000 manufacturing jobs were gained over seven years from the 2010 nadir of the Great Recession. But the number of manufacturing jobs is still nearly one million below the level at the start of the Great Recession.

  • Horse Race: Buttigieg discusses socialism on MTP Daily

    INDIANAPOLIS - South Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg appeared on MSNBC’s Meet The Press Daily Wednesday. Host Chuck Todd asked him about President Trump’s vow against “socialism” during his State of the Union address, Buttigieg responded, “Socialists in this context has become more of a name for name calling than an actual concept. Generations view this differently and for my generation, that remark is incredibly out of touch. I understand for an older generation living through the Cold War, when socialism was associated with communism and communism was associated with totalitarianism, calling something socialism could be a killswitch and shut down any debate with any idea that would have merit. I think my generation just wants to know if an idea is good and asserting that something is socialist, which is something they did even for basic conservative market-oriented ideas like Obamacare. That spell cannot be cast on our generation because we don’t live in a time when you have capitalism and democracy on one side and socialism and communism on the other. My generation is just grappling with the ways where capitalism and democracy are coming into tension with each other.”
  • Horse Race: Mayoral filing deadline Friday
    Howey Politics Indiana

    INDIANAPOLIS - Filing deadline for mayoral races is a noon Friday. Candidates have until noon Monday to withdraw from the ballot. Here is a roundup of mayoral filings and campaigns for the past week. HPI will unveil its initial Horse Race ratings in the Feb. 14 edition.
  • Lugar, Nunn see INF Treaty pullout as 'gravely misguided'

    INDIANAPOLIS - The "doomsday clock" of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists remains at two minutes to midnight. For most Americans, the yellow and black bomb shelter signs that used to adorn public buildings have disappeared and school students no longer cower under their desks during nuclear drills, practicing "active shooter" exercises instead. But according to former senators Richard Lugar and Sam Nunn, along with other Cold War veterans and nuclear experts, President Trump's decision on Friday to pull out of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty is "gravely misguided," in Lugar's words. "Withdrawing will not make us safer, it will rob us of leverage essential to our own security and power," the former Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman said in October. "It will foolishly play into the hands of Russian propagandists by focusing global attention on our rejection of the treaty instead of Russian violations. And it will make the world a more dangerous place."

  • Atomic! Trump/Coats staredown; Nunn/Lugar's call to arms
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY and JACOB CURRY, in Indianapolis

    1. Trump and Coats staredown: Here are your final post-vortex power lunch talking points for the week: CNN reported that President Trump was "seething" at National Intelligence Director Dan Coats after his Tuesday risk assessment testimony. Then in the Oval Office after meeting with Coats and the intel team Thursday, Trump suggested that press coverage of Coats, FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel was "fake news." Trump said, "Their testimony was distorted press ... I would suggest you read the COMPLETE testimony from Tuesday. A false narrative is so bad for our Country." Coverage by Howey Politics Indiana  and national press was based on video of the testimony, and in Coats' case, a transcript from his office. We watched, heard and read Coats, Wray and Haspel contradict Trump  on his notion that ISIS has been defeated, Iran is building a nuclear weapon, and North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat. Trump was asked whether he still had confidence in Coats and Haspel “to give you good advice.” He responded, “No, I disagree with certain things that they said.  I think I’m right, but time will prove that. Time will prove me right, probably.” In an interview with the New York Times, Trump was asked if he is happy with Coats' performance. Trump responded, "I'm happy with Dan Coats. I am. That doesn't mean ... " NYT: "Is that a change?" Trump: "Well, no, everybody changes. You know, this business,other than me, everybody changes."
  • HPI Analysis: Vice President Pence, Marshall power parallels

    INDIANAPOLIS – A former Indiana governor has become vice president of the United States. He sits on the precipice of power as the world awaits the fate of the president. He is, literally, a heartbeat away. That’s where America stood almost a century ago in 1919. President Woodrow Wilson had suffered a minor stroke in September and then a more severe one on Oct. 2, leaving him partially paralyzed and incapacitated. The former Hoosier governor was Vice President Thomas Riley Marshall of Columbia City, urged by some to assume acting presidential powers and duties, though top Wilson aide Joseph Tumulty and First Lady Edith Wilson prevented Marshall from taking control. The pair, who viewed Marshall as having an “uncouth disposition,” never notified the cabinet or Marshall of the president’s dire condition. There was no 25th Amendment (it was adopted many decades later) allowing a cabinet and vice president to act if a president were to be incapacitated or mentally unfit to serve. Today, it is Vice President Mike Pence who is the proverbial heartbeat away. The former Indiana governor serves at the right hand of President Donald J. Trump, the oldest president ever elected and one hounded by scandal. Perhaps the biggest parlor game in Washington these days is this question: What are the chances that Michael Richard Pence of Columbus, Indiana, becomes the 46th president before 2019 rolls into 2020?
  • Horse Race: Dems believe Brooks could be vulnerable

    INDIANAPOLIS  —  Could U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks be vulnerable in 2020? National and Indiana Democrats sense that the 5th CD is becoming one of those purple suburban districts where a well-funded candidate could find traction. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added the 5th CD to its list of potential targeted seats. While the Cook Partisan Index in 2017 listed the 5th CD as a +9 Republican seat, statistically her races have become closer in recent cycles. Brooks defeated underfunded Democrat Dee Thornton 56.8% to 43.2% last November. In 2016, Brooks defeated Democrat Angela Demaree 61.5 to 34.3%. In 2014, Brooks won the general election with 65% of the vote, defeating Democrat Shawn Denney and Libertarian John Krom. And in 2012, she won the seat by defeating former state representative Scott Reske with 58%. So her closest race was against Thornton, but on the money front it wasn’t close at all. She out-raised Thornton $1.34 million to $189,042.
  • Sen. Raatz moves into his Education chair role

    INDIANAPOLIS  —  Considering the attention that teacher pay and school safety have garnered over the last year or so here in Indiana, it might not be a stretch to say there are people in the Statehouse who have their work cut out for them early in 2019.  State Senator Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond) has just taken the helm of the Senate Education Committee after Sen. Dennis Kruse relinquished the chair. Sen. Raatz believes he is transitioning to the chair position quite well, emphasizing that he’s not looking to rush the process or make rash changes to the approach of his predecessor. He summed up his strategy in one word, “thoughtful.” He says that means taking it slowly when it comes to understanding unfamiliar issues or establishing strong relationships with education leadership in the House and the new members of his committee. Raatz added that he and his fellow members have also looked for ways to better manage the committee’s time, especially during public testimony.
  • Trump cries uncle on the longest shutdown; Senate passes

    NASHVILLE, Ind. - It was the cry of "uncle" heard 'round the world. President Trump appeared in the Rose Garden mid-Friday afternoon, telling a national cable audience, "I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government." Trump said he would sign a short-term funding bill until Feb. 15. "I will make sure that all employees receive their back pay as soon as possible." It ended the longest shutdown in U.S. history, and what it gained Trump was not obvious in the Rose Garden, which ended with a smattering of applause.

  • Atomic! Pence's earful; Gov agenda advances; IN vulnerable to AI
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Nashville, Ind.

    1. Shutdown Day 34 and Pence gets an earful: Here are your Day 34 Government shutdown power lunch talking points: As 800,000 federal employees (including 20,000 Hoosiers) were stiffed a second paycheck, and LaGuardia and Jacksonville airports are experience air traffic controller shortages, the U.S. Senate rejected two bills to reopen the government as cracks began appearing in the GOP facadeSens. Mike Lee of Utah and Tom Cotton of Arkansas opposed the GOP bill. During a Capitol Hill lunch Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence got an earful with The Hill  reporting: One GOP senator said lawmakers told Pence “the shutdown needs to come to an end, this is not a strategy that works [and] we never should have had a shutdown in the first place.” Pence in turn told them, “The president is interested in striking a deal.” The problem there is what deal will President Trump accept? And can you believe him?  Trump suggested a compromise that would include a "down payment on the wall"  that for two years he insisted "Mexico" would pay for. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Pence, according to The Hill: Shuttering the government to try to secure funding for a border wall was not a smart approach.  “McConnell talked about how we need to bring this process to a close; we should never have had a shutdown; they don’t work; I’ve said this numerous times; I don’t know how many times I’ve told you there’s no education in the second kick of a mule.” Remember: President Trump rejected an earlier bipartisan deal because he yearned for a shutdown he vowed to "own the mantle." Now his poll numbers are tanking as the "art of the deal" elude both Trump and Pence.
  • Atomic! Mayor Pete explores; MLK veep retort; Mayors running

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Buttigieg enters the presidential race: Here are your hump down power lunch talking points: This morning the cable pundits were grappling with the pronunciation of the name of the eighth Democrat to enter the 2020 presidential race, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Hoosiers tend to call him “Mayor Pete.” In a video announcing his exploratory committee, the 37-year-old Democrat, who is conjuring the pass-the-torch echoes of President John F. Kennedy, explained, "The reality is there's no going back, and there's no such thing as 'again' in the real world. We can't look for greatness in the past. Right now our country needs a fresh start.” He describes his as a “generation of school shootings” on track “to make less than our parents unless we do something different.” Mayor Pete presents a vivid contrast to President Trump. He’s a Rhodes Scholar, volunteered for the Navy and served in the Afghanistan theater as an intelligence officer. “Good leadership brings out the best in us,” Buttigieg explained. On a week where the Washington Post put Trump’s lies and false, misleading statements at 8,158, the mayor said, “The show in Washington right now is exhausted. The corruption, the fighting, the lying have got to end. Good leadership brings out the best in us.” He ends the video saying, “We stand proud of our values. Let’s go show the world.”

  • HPI Analysis: Why there is alarm with Trump and Putin

    INDIANAPOLIS  — Let me tell you why this past week has been so jarring and so alarming when it comes to Presidents Trump and Vladimir Putin. But first, some context. I’m a Russophile. I majored in history at IU Bloomington and studied in the Russian East European Institute. When reporting for the Elkhart Truth, I covered a small Russian dissident community there with Georgi Vins. I still have the waterproof Bible he gave me (they used to tuck them into snow drifts when KGB agents appeared). In the mid-1980s, I attended a number of IU and Purdue seminars on the Soviet Union, and virtually no one was predicting the USSR’s collapse, which occurred in 1990. I’ve read most of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s books on the Soviets and their brutal gulags. I traveled to Moscow, Siberia and the Urals with Sen. Richard Lugar. I had my Moscow Grand Marriott hotel room ransacked by FSB agents while I attended the Moscow Carnegie seminar. I attended a face-to-face meeting between Lugar, Sam Nunn and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Foreign Ministry.
  • Atomic! Impeachment buzz; Pence offended; Buttigieg book
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Report fuels impeachment talk: Here are your final power lunch talking points for the week: Washington and cable news are agog, abuzz and aflutter over a Buzzfeed report that President Trumpinstructed attorney/fixer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress: “The special counsel’s office learned about Trump’s directive for Cohen to lie to Congress  through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents. Cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office.” Why is this explosive?  In 1974, President Nixon's first article of impeachment was on an obstruction of justice charge  in the U.S. House: “Approving, condoning, acquiescing in, and counselling witnesses with respect to the giving of false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States.” In 1998, the first article of impeachment against President Clinton included “efforts to influence the testimony of witnesses and to impede the discovery of evidence.” And on Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobachar asked attorney general nominee William Barr this: “In your memo … you wrote on page 1 that a president persuading a person to commit perjury would be obstruction. Is that right?" Barr responded, "Yes … Any person who persuades another …" So the impeachment buzz appears to be growing.

  • HPI Analysis: Holcomb defusing 2 issue hotpoints

    INDIANAPOLIS – If there is a ticking time bomb or two awaiting Gov. Eric Holcomb during this biennial budget session, it would be the teacher pay issue and his push for a hate crimes bill to land on his desk. During his third State of the State address Tuesday, Holcomb fully enjoined both issues. On the first, he won some praise from the super-minority Democrats for the administration’s resourcefulness in finding funds for a proposed 4% raise over the biennium. On the second, the small social conservative wing of the GOP sat on their hands when Holcomb said he would push for a hate crimes law, while the wider chamber erupted in applause. “It’s time for us to move off that list,” Holcomb said of Indiana being one of only five states without such a law. “I look forward to working with the General Assembly to achieve this goal so that our state law reflects what’s already in my administration’s employment policy.” The conservative wing of the GOP fears the elevation of LGBT protections in state code.

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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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