|John Gregg address the 7th District Caucus|
Introduced by his mother, John Gregg stepped to the microphone to the tune of Earth, Wind, and Fire's classic September to address the delegates in the General Session.
After rallying the troops a bit, Gregg settled in and hit Mike Pence's rather empty legislative record. Pence has been in Congress for 12 years, but he's gotten a single bill of his own passed, Gregg said. Andre Carson, by contrast, in the minority for nearly these last two years has gotten two bipartisan bills enacted and into law. "He's never introduced a jobs bill," said Gregg of Pence's job creation record. "He's voted against Pell Grants six times,"
Gregg said Pence is out of touch on what the Hoosier state needs. "Indiana needs a leader that worries more about what goes on in Washington, Indiana, more than what's going on in Washington, D.C.," said Gregg. "Indiana needs a leader who, when he says the word 'Virginia' that he's talking about his aunt rather than where he lives."
Also, Gregg attacked Pence for trying to, in his words, shut down the government "to keep women from getting health care."
Gregg said he will capitalize on Indiana's strengths and focus on creating jobs, "And not just any jobs, good paying jobs."
He also talked about strengthening agriculture in the state, backing mass transit, and encouraging things like stem cell research. "It's time to get the legislators out of research and get researchers in those labs," said Gregg.
On education, Gregg made it simple. He said that under his administration that teachers would be treated like the professionals they are. Gregg said, "The day of demoralizing and degrading teachers is over!"
To improve education, Gregg would increase funding for early childhood education and continue to try to make college affordable. "Those jobs won't mean nothing if we do not invest in public education," said Gregg.
As he was finishing up his remarks, Gregg made an appeal for help from the delegates. He said that everyone needed to work together to get things changed at the Statehouse, but he also said that a large block of disenchanted Republicans may actually help the Democrats. "Tell those Lugar Republicans that we have room on our campaign for them," said Gregg. "They've been told they don't belong in their party."
Senator Vi Simpson accepted the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor with a speech that went back and hit many of the same points as Gregg did. Simpson was clearly emotional at times in accepting the nomination, "I promised my son I wouldn't cry," said Simpson.
Towards the end of her remarks, Simpson hit a blow for equality. "I still believe in moonlight on the Wabash," said Simpson. "I want an Indiana home were all Hoosiers have value."
Equality was a theme all day long. Several speakers mentioned how the Indiana Democratic Party had to be a big tent, open and inclusive for all Hoosiers.
Kay Fleming and Glenda Ritz were also nominated for Attorney General and Superintendent of Public Instruction, respectively.
In a short, concise speech, Fleming acknowledged that she was late in getting into the race, but she wanted to represent all Hoosiers rather than just special interests, "I want to be your lawyer," said Fleming.
Ritz had perhaps the second-most "red meat" speech of the day. She took personal aim in the direction of Tony Bennett and called him out by name, "Tony Bennett: I want you to know you are running against a successful teacher who will change your teach to the test mentality." She then proceeded to give him failing grades on every issue saying that Bennett is the Superintendent "Against Public Instruction." She said that she wants to be the Superintendent For Public Instruction.
There you go. Lots there to read, I know. I'll cover other aspects of the convention in another blog post like Joe Donnelly's speech and the other bests and worsts of the day. More to come!