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Sunday, May 19, 2019
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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.”
  • Change of fiscal guard as Vincent leaves OMB

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - The change of the fiscal guard in the Holcomb administration continued Friday after it was announced that OMB Director Micah Vincent was resigning on the same day Budget Director Jason Dudich left. Vincent will be replaced by deputy chief of staff Cris Johnston. “Micah has played key roles in some of our biggest initiatives and became a trusted advisor," Gov. Eric Holcomb said. "I appreciate his creative ideas to solve issues and the thoughtful way he has approached maintaining the state’s solid fiscal footing. Cris is a veteran who will step seamlessly into the OMB role and assist with the financing of large infrastructure projects, such as the West Lake and South Shore rail expansions in northwest Indiana.” The change is effective June 30. As previously announced, Friday was Dudich’s last day as state budget director. Vincent will take over those responsibilities on an interim basis until a replacement is named. Vincent has accepted a position as vice president, strategy+M&A, with The Heritage Group, in Indianapolis.

  • Atomic! Indiana abortion law & SCOTUS; Trump, Pete & Chasten
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Nashville, Ind.

    1. Indiana's abortion restrictions and SCOTUS: Here are your final power lunch talking points for the week: Vice President Mike Pence's career goals has been to consign Roe v. Wade "to the ash heap of history." Three months before ascending to Donald Trump's national ticket, he signed HEA 1337 saying it would “ensure the dignified final treatment of the unborn and prohibits abortions that are based only on the unborn child’s sex, race, color, national origin, ancestry or disability, including Down syndrome.” This week a wave of abortion restrictions  have passed in Alabama, Missouri and Louisiana, setting up speculation of a U.S. Supreme Court showdown. The Alabama law is seen by conservatives ranging from Rev. Pat Robertson to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy as an overreach. It is the Indiana law that could ultimately challenge Roe v. Wade. When the 7th Circuit struck the law down, Judge Daniel Manion noted that in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling, which defined how far states could go in limiting abortion, “the purported right to have a pre-viability abortion is more ironclad even than the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights. Only a majority of the Supreme Court or a constitutional amendment can permit the States to place some limits on abortion.” Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute told WTHR-TV's  Kevin Rader, "The U.S. Supreme Court for many weeks now has been considering taking on Indiana's case that could be the beginning of the end for Roe v. Wade. We know today it was under review for a 14th time. Maybe unprecedented, but certainly quite rare in the history of the Supreme Court. There is some important reason the court continues to keep this case on the front burner." 
  • HPI Analysis: Gov. Holcomb reelect on historic footing

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – Has there been such a thing as a slam-dunk reelection for an Indiana governor? This question is posed as Gov. Eric Holcomb and First Lady Janet are in the midst of their deliberations on whether he will seek a second term. On the face of it, the notion that Holcomb wouldn’t run would be a stunner. Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer told HPI on Monday, “He’s publicly said he and Janet will spend some time talking and thinking about things. That will happen on his own timeline. As a state chair, he’s done the work and had achievement that should he desire, he’d been in a strong position. “I would be very disappointed if he didn’t seek a second term,” Hupfer said. Short of that silly “rumor” that he was on a short list to become ambassador to Italy, it’s hard to fathom Holcomb not seeking a second term. He purports no national ambition at this point in his career and appears to enjoy every aspect of the job. Not only that, but he’s in about as strong a position as an incumbent governor could find.

  • Sen. Richard Lugar, into the ages
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – The people of Indiana, and the Lugar family, handed Richard Green Lugar into the hands of his maker and the pantheon of Senate statesmen Wednesday. In doing so, the man who created the modern Indianapolis, fed its children, then used his mighty wit and indefatigable study, to do more than perhaps any American to assure their safety in a terrorized world on a planet under duress. Lugar’s passing at age 87 on April 28 gave him a final historic destination, joining Senate giants like Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, Daniel Webster, Robert Taft, Robert La Follette, Sr., Birch Bayh and Daniel Patrick Moynihan who steered the nation in profound ways and fueled the soul of mankind's most dynamic republic. With Chief Justice John Roberts, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell looking on in the huge sanctuary of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church that had been founded with the help of Dick and Char Lugar, Purdue President Mitch Daniels initially cast Lugar in personal terms: “Boss, tutor, mentor, role model, and though it took me decades to think of him this way, just as it took me decades to call him anything but senator, my friend.”
  • Horse Race: Mayor Pete has Indiana, South Carolina problems
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS — Mayor Pete has an Indiana problem. And a South Carolina problem. While Mayor Buttigieg has established himself in the upper tier of candidates in national polls, and third place in Iowa and New Hampshire, he is not showing strength in his home state, or South Carolina, which is becoming the most important early primary because of its racial diversity. First, his Indiana scenario: The We Ask America digital poll with registered Indiana voters released last Thursday has him in third place at 20% behind Joe Biden (33%) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (23%). Buttigieg has essentially leapfrogged his home state to become a viable Democratic presidential contender. But as we’ve observed, beyond his South Bend political base and strength in that small media market, and his activities with Accelerating Indiana Municipalities where mayors from both parties hold him in high regard, he is not particularly “famous” here. Or as We Ask America put it, “Despite very loud noise from the far left of the Democratic Party and Buttigieg’s popularity in the South Bend region, it seems that, for now, rank-and-file Indiana Democrats prefer a traditional party leader” to the tune of 56%.
  • Horse Race: Mayoral battles brew in Indy, Fort Wayne, New Albany
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS  —  Mayoral races in the state’s two largest cities, as well as the I-69 corridor, Kokomo, Elkhart and New Albany, will be the flash points of the coming general election campaign. These races will follow several dramatic upsets in Gary and South Bend, where Jerome Prince and James Mueller are poised to assume the levers of power with only token (if any) Republican opposition. Last November, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson was elected president the National League of Cities (NLC), telling her colleagues, “I look forward to leading this organization and telling the story of Gary on the national stage.” Her “Gary story” now includes her upset primary defeat to Lake County Assessor Jerome Prince, 6,967 to 5,418, with about 1,500 votes scattered among the other seven candidates. Freeman-Wilson drew criticism for the NLC post while Gary wallowed in violence and fiscal woes. Prince entered the race just hours before deadline. “Let’s reimagine Gary,” Prince told the crowd (NWI Times). “Thank you for believing in me.” 
  • Sen. Lugar lies in state in the heart of his beloved Indiana
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - The late Sen. Richard G. Lugar is now lying in state in the heart of Indiana. Gov. Eric Holcomb and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett greeted the late senator at mid-day Tuesday as a military honor guard brought his casket into the Statehouse rotunda. "He made such a tremendous impact on our state, nation on the world during his time on earth," Holcomb said. "He truly made Indiana a better state and the world safer. He never lost that constant and welcoming smile." Like many Hoosiers, Holcomb traces the origins of his own political career to Lugar, who introduced him to Mitch Daniels years ago. Holcomb would end up as Gov. Daniels' deputy chief of staff, ran his reelection campaign in 2008, then became chairman of the Indiana Republican Party before becoming lieutenant governor, and then governor in 2017. 
  • Ryan Nees: The power of interning for Sen. Lugar
    By RYAN NEES

    NEW YORK - The first time I visited Washington, D.C., was in elementary school, when my uncle took me on a road trip: Just him, me, and my cousin. I’d never gone anywhere without my parents. We stayed at a downtown Holiday Inn. The first sightseeing I did was across the street from our hotel: A drab 1960s concrete structure known to the government as Federal Office Building – FOB – Number Six, home to part of the Department of Education. I was so star-struck I took a picture of the sign outside it. The second time was not long after, to begin an internship with Richard Lugar. I had been on an airplane only once before, and I remember the woman I talked to who was seated next to me, the $70 my ticket cost, and the view I had of the National Mall landing at DCA. I was 17 years old, and about to live on my own in a city a lot bigger than Kokomo (albeit in the guest room of one of Sen. Lugar’s longest-serving staffers, just a few blocks from Capitol Hill, a setup Lugar had arranged). 
  • Atomic! China retaliates; Farmers lose patience; Pence to return
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. China retaliates as retailers gird: Here are your Monday power lunch talking points: China retaliated this morning, raising tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. imports. It's the response to President Trump raising tariffs from 10% to 25% on $600 billion worth of Chinese goods last Friday. Wall Street Journal: Goods that China will charge at 25% include animal products, frozen fruits and vegetables, and seasonings. Goods it will charge at 20% include baking condiments, chemicals and vodka. The WSJ  also reported that U.S. retailers already under duress are girding for impact, noting, "Retailers have few options: they can absorb the added costs themselves; spread them across their vendors; or pass them on to customers." President Trump warned this morning against any retaliation tweeting: “China should not retaliate - will only get worse! I say openly to President Xi & all of my many friends in China that China will be hurt very badly if you don’t make a deal because companies will be forced to leave China for other countries.” National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow contradicted Trump's assertion that China pays for the tariffs. Kudlow acknowledged to Fox News Sunday  host Chris Wallace that U.S. consumers are paying, saying, "Fair enough. In fact, both sides will pay. Both sides will pay in these things. The Chinese will suffer GDP losses and so forth with respect to a diminishing export market."
  • Atomic! Pete's IN problem; Poll tepid for Trump; Holcomb strong
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Nashville, Ind.

    1. Mayor Pete’s Indiana problem: Here are your final power lunch talking points for the week: Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign now has an Indiana problem. The We Ask America Poll with registered Indiana voters released Thursday has him in third place  behind Joe Biden (33%), Sen. Bernie Sanders (23%) with Mayor Pete at 20%. Buttigieg has essentially leapfrogged his home state  to become a viable Democratic presidential contender. But as we’ve written in the past, beyond his South Bend political base and strength in that small media market, and his activities with Accelerating Indiana Municipalities where mayors from both parties hold him in high regard, he is not particularly “famous” here. Or as We Ask America put it, “Despite very loud noise from the far left of the Democratic Party and Buttigieg's popularity in the South Bend region, it seems that, for now, rank-and-file Indiana Democrats prefer a traditional party leader" to the tune of 56%. We were struck at Buttigieg's campaign kickoff last month that there wasn't much of a presence from South Bend African-Americans, the Indiana Legislative Black Caucus or down state political leaders, though Indiana Chairman John Zody and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett were on hand. The crowd was overwhelmingly white. His neglecting his home state gives his primary rivals a few arrows in their quiver: Could Mayor Pete carry his home state, either in a Democratic primary a year from now, or against the Trump/Pence ticket in November?  Our take: Perhaps, but it's no slam dunk at this point.
  • Atomic! Prince Gary upset! Pete pushes Mueller; Brainard prevails

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Freeman-Wilson upset in Gary: Here are your hump day power lunch talking points: Last November, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson was elected president the National League of Cities, telling her colleagues, "I look forward to leading this organization and telling the story of Gary on the national stage.” Her "Gary story" now includes her upset primary defeat to Lake County Assessor Jerome Prince, 6,967 to 5,418, with about 1,500 votes scattered among the other seven candidates. Freeman-Wilson drew criticism for the NLC post while Gary wallowed in violence and fiscal woes. Prince entered the race just hours before deadline. "Let's reimagine Gary," Prince told the crowd (NWI Times). "Thank you for believing in me."  There were a couple of other notable upsets. Former two-term Anderson mayor Kevin Smith was defeated by Madison County Auditor Rick Gardner, who will face Democrat Mayor Thomas Broderick. “People have started calling about raising funds,” Gardner told the Anderson Herald-Bulletin. “I know it will be an uphill battle, but I’m up for it.” And in Fort Wayne, businessman Tim Smith leaned on a Right to Life endorsement and activism to defeat Councilman John Crawford with 56% and will face three-term Democrat Mayor Tom Henry. “Tom Henry has never seen a campaign like we are about to launch for the general election,” Smith said. Henry told HPI he thought Smith had a primary edge, and he also appeared to prefer this matchup.

  • Atomic! Trump tariff threats; Mueller switch; Young on report
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Trump threatens more Chinese tariffs: Here are your Monday power lunch talking points: Hoosier farmers want these two things, a dry weather pattern so they can get their crops in, and a trade deal with China that ends the tariffs and brings about a more stable market. Neither appear to be happening this week. A wet pattern will keep the fields muddy from Tuesday through Thursday, and President Trump went on a twitter storm, threatening the Chinese by raising tariffs from 10% to to 25% on Friday, which was a day many had hoped for a trade war resolution. “The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate,” the president tweeted. China's state-ownedGlobal Times: "President Trump threatens China while he seemingly doesn't understand how tariffs work. Not sure whether U.S. public doesn't understand either. China has long ago prepared for the worst. We won't buy this trick. Moreover, he didn't even scare North Korea." That was in reference to Kim Jong Un resuming his missile testing, yet another thumb on the nose aimed at President Trump.
  • HPI Analysis: Hoosier Senate lions Lugar, Bayh rest in peace
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – The Hoosier Senate lions, Richard Lugar and Birch Bayh, rest in peace now. They join Thomas Hendricks, Oliver P. Morton and the tall sycamore of the Wabash, Daniel Voorhees. And Charles Fairbanks, Albert J. Beveridge and Sherman Minton, all past Hoosier senators who left enduring legacies. But there may never again be a tandem as productive or insightful as the two farmers Richard Lugar and Birch Bayh. When we gathered Wednesday at the Indiana Statehouse, the send-off was to be for Sen. Bayh, who died in March at age 91. That Dick Lugar would leave this earthly clutch on Sunday is the Hoosier version of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson dying on the same day, July 4, 1826. For many of us, recognizing their towering legacy that played out far beyond the Wabash and Ohio rivers, beyond the Dunes, into the national and global realm, is both reassuring and, yet, troubling by the void they leave behind. 

  • Horse Race: Myers weighs challenge to Holcomb
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – The most likely gubernatorial scenario appears to be former health commissioner Woody Myers challenging Gov. Eric Holcomb. Indiana Democrats tell HPI that beyond Myers, John Gregg and Christina Hale, others are gauging potential runs, though party sources were reluctant to reveal who they are. Other names surfacing include former congressman Baron Hill, State Rep. Karlee Macer of Indianapolis and State Sen. Eddie Melton of Gary. Myers told HPI last week, “I’m thinking about it very seriously. I haven’t made an irrevocable decision, but I’m leaning in that direction. I’m doing all the preliminary stuff, but I’m not quite there.” 
  • Horse Race: Trump IN approval at net 3%; Buttigieg in top tier
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - President Trump has a net approval of just 3% in a new Morning Consult poll. Indiana is the only Big Ten state giving Trump a positive approval. He stands at -12% in Michigan and Wisconsin, -9% in Iowa, -5 in Ohio and -14 in Minnesota. Former vice president Joe Biden has a 36-22% lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders in the latest Morning Consult Poll. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is third at 9%, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is at 8% and Sen. Kamala Harris is at 7%. Buttigieg has 55% approval, 10% disapproval and 35% have never heard of him. In a CNN Poll, Biden leads with 39%, followed by Sanders at 15%, Buttigieg at 11% and Sen. Warren at 8%, Beto O’Rourke at 6% and Harris at 5%. In a Quinnipiac Poll released Tuesday, Biden had 38%, Warren at 12%, Sanders at 11% and Buttigieg at 10%. The upshot of all this is Mayor Pete is firmly in the top tier of candidates and Biden is showing some early strength.
  • Holcomb mulls signing gaming bill
    By JACOB CURRY

    INDIANAPOLIS – With the General Assembly now well out of town, the only piece of the legislative puzzle left in 2019 is Gov. Eric Holcomb’s review and potential signature of the enrolled bills. The governor’s office has been at it since late March, and Holcomb has signed more than half of the legislative acts up for his consideration, including most of the priority bills on the budget, education, the CIB, infrastructure, and more. One enrolled act currently still under review, however, is the controversial gaming bill. That bill passed on the final day of session, and on top of the long-running controversy you’d expect when it comes to casinos, some further eyebrow-raising changes were made during that final week. Although Holcomb had been largely absent from discussions on the issue in the first half of session, the governor found himself inserted into the picture by an IndyStar article which raised ethical questions over his taking a flight courtesy of an Indiana casino owner. Combined with the other controversial aspects of the bill, you might not be blamed for thinking there could be something more to the governor’s delay.
  • HPI Interview: Sen. Braun aims to take on health care issues
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS  — Mike Braun entered the U.S. Senate last January with the government shut down. As a CEO, the notion of any organization coming to a halt due to a lack of compromise is a foreign one, but Sen. Braun finds himself in the inert world of Congress where even a good idea can take a decade to pass. His reaction to the shutdown was to propose a bill that would prevent congressional paychecks when that occurs. It has no chance of passage, but it provides early, symbolic notice that he’s uninterested in BS. He is putting drug companies and insurers on notice that if changes don’t come to that gigantic sector of the economy, “Medicare for all” could become the alternative.
  • Atomic! Holcomb signs; Lugar tributes; LaPierre wins; Pete smear
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Holcomb undecided on gaming bill: Here are your Tuesday power lunch talking points: Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the $34.6 billion biennial budget, saying, “Hoosiers will benefit from the legislation advanced by our Next Level agenda, including a balanced budget, increasing funding for education and improving school safety. We made these achievements while maintaining responsible reserves and our AAA credit ratings. I applaud lawmakers for completing another productive legislative session.” The two-year state budget provides $763 million in new money for K-12 including paying down a $150 million schools pension liability that will free up funds that can go into teacher paychecks. It is the eighth straight balanced budget and maintained at least 11% in reserves. It exempts military pensions from the state income taxes, funds the I-69 Section 6, includes $20 million to attract more international flights, fully commits to South Shore commuter line double tracking, and $90 million for new bike and riding trails.  Holcomb also signed Rep. Cindy Ziemke’s bill requiring townships to file a three-year capital improvement plan with the state if a surplus is 150% over the annual budget estimate and more than $200,000.  Holcomb told CNHI’s  Scott Miley he wants to use townships for the opioid fight. “They’re on the front lines and what we’ve seen is all the federal assistance, all the state assistance, it’s making sure the rubber meets the road. ... So I want to forge a partnership there like we don’t have right now,” Holcomb said.
  • Atomic! Tributes to Lugar from Obama, Nunn, Coats, Hamilton
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

    1. Tributes for Sen. Lugar: Here are your power lunch talking points on this somber Monday. Hoosiers are now faced with the infinite departure of two of its most notable statesmen. At 11:45 a.m. today Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Gov. Eric Holcomb will honor the late Sen. Richard Lugar at the plaza that bears his name at the City-County Building. At noon on Wednesday, Hoosiers will gather to honor the late U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh, who died last month at age 91. Both men were towering figures in Indiana and the nation. Both left an indelible impact that has made Americans safer and given them more opportunities to vote, play sports and prosper. Several tributes to Sen. Lugar stand out, like this one from former President Barack Obama: "For thirty-six years, Richard Lugar proved that pragmatism and decency work — not only in Washington but all over the world. I first worked with Dick when I was a freshman senator, in an effort to expand his landmark 1991 nuclear non-proliferation framework. We held different political beliefs, but traveling overseas together, he took me under his wing as we toured munitions storage facilities and talked over meals of borscht. Dick always stuck to the facts. He understood the intricacies of America's power and the way words uttered in Washington echo around the globe. But perhaps most importantly, he exhibited the truth that common courtesy can speak across cultures. In Dick, I saw someone who wasn't a Republican or Democrat first, but a problem-solver, an example of the impact a public servant can make by eschewing partisan divisiveness to instead focus on common ground. Today, thousands of warheads, bombers and submarines no longer threaten us because of Dick's work. America is safer because of Dick; the world is too.”
  • Brian Howey: Lugar was an omnipresent force for many Hoosiers
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - As with tens of thousands of Hoosiers, Richard G. Lugar was an omnipresent figure in our lives. His passing on Sunday at age 87 represents a point of infinite departure for a man who so vividly impacted so many people here in Indiana, as well as across America and the globe. Three stories from his illustrious career to prove the point: 1. During a 2007 CODEL (congressional delegation) trip to Russia, Ukraine and Albania, Sen. Lugar, staffers and I were having dinner Londonskaya Hotel in Odessa. The range of topics the senator discussed was sprawling. Lugar talked about the time he addressed a student assembly at Peru High School back in the early 1970s, the current Indiana United Methodist Conference, and details of the Fort Wayne mayoral race. As for the convocation at the high school where I was a student, I don’t remember specifically what the future senator had talked about, but he remembered decades later that attendance was down that day due to a flu outbreak. For anyone who knew Lugar, who staffed his desk with towering stacks of books he would read with lightning speed, no detail would ever be too trivial for the senator to recall.
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  • Pence urges Taylor grads to take a 'service attitude'
    "Wherever life takes you... take a service attitude. Consider others as more important than yourselves. Go show the world every day, that we can love God and love our neighbor at the same time." - Vice President Mike Pence in his commencement address at Taylor University on Saturday. Pence received a standing ovation even after about 40 students and faculty members walked out in protest. The university's faculty voted 61-49 to approve a motion of dissent against the commencement speaker, according to The Echo student newspaper.
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  • Indiana newspaper closings continue

    Indiana's atrophied newspaper saga continues. Today we learn of the closing of the Hendricks County Flyer, which covered Brownsburg, Avon, Plainfield and surrounding areas. Publisher Beverly Joyce told readers that only 6% of recipients voluntarily paid for the paper. “Unfortunately, the business model of free content to a large print audience was not sustainable,” the paper quoted Joyce saying. “We tried every way we could to keep the operation viable.”

    This sad news comes as close to 1,800 newspapers across the U.S. have closed since 2004. Other newspapers closing in Indiana include NUVO Newsweekly in Indianapolis and Green Banner Publishing of Pekin, which had newspapers in Scott, Washington and Floyd counties. The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel is now a one-person operation.

    This is a crisis for Hoosier citizens. Where will they be getting their local news? - Brian A. Howey, publisher


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