Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and it's time for me to send thanks to all of you for your support and love this past year. Enjoy your time with family and friends.

I'll be back on Monday.

Until then, be careful out there.  If you're planning on frying a turkey, please be extra cautious!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Indy Politics Reports Sawyer to Resign

Indiana Auditor Dwayne Sawyer will resign this week just four months after taking the job.  That's according to Abdul-Hakim Shabazz's Indy Politics website.

According to Shabazz, "It is unclear exactly what compelled Sawyer to tender his resignation, but it is believed to be personal in nature."  Shabazz said there's no word on any possible replacement by Governor Pence.

Sawyer was expected to run for the office next year.  Mike Claytor is the Democrat in the race.

When we know more, we'll pass it along.

Judy O'Bannon to Remarry

Willsey and O'Bannon Celebrate
After Getting Their Marriage License
Photo by Zach Adamson from Facebook
In case you missed the Indianapolis Star article from last week, former Indiana First Lady Judy O'Bannon will remarry on November 29.  The ageless widow to the late Frank O'Bannon will marry 84-year-old attorney Donald Willsey in Harrison County.

O'Bannon, who lost her husband to a stroke in 2003 after 48 years of marriage, remains incredibly popular across the political spectrum.  Willsey lost his wife of 53 years a few years back to cancer.

I know firsthand how lonely it can be for someone that has lost a spouse.  I have watched my mother struggle through the loss of my father, and I watched my grandmother struggle too for years after my grandfather passed.  It's brutal.  Hopefully, Willsey and O'Bannon's decision to marry will serve as a role model for other couples that think you can't do it after a certain age.

I'm happy that both of these great people have found love again.  I highly recommend the Star article if you get a chance to read it.

I would like to wish O'Bannon and Willsey the best!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Republicans Seem Set to Undermine Ritz

Superintendent Glenda Ritz
Last November, voters went to the polls and voted in overwhelming numbers for Glenda Ritz for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The voters, who overwhelmingly gave Mitt Romney Indiana's electoral votes, sent Republican incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Bennett, packing.  Unfortunately, for Ritz, the voters also installed an Indiana House supermajority to go along with the supermajority already present in the Indiana Senate.  The voters also, in a closer-than-expected race elected Mike Pence as Governor of Indiana.

It was an electoral coup and an indictment of the policies of Superintendent Bennett, but it did not go far enough.  It did not remove enough Republican power that the GOP could not still control education policy in the state.  The Indiana Constitution makes Indiana's General Assembly so strong.

For all its greatness, the Indiana Constitution says little about the job of Superintendent of Public Instruction.  It just states that there must be one.  The Indiana General Assembly has control of the duties of the office as well as the manner in which the occupant of that office is selected.

Glenda Ritz lives on a blue island in a sea of red at the Statehouse.  She is surrounded by Republicans, and she even finds the folks who are from her own party who are on the State Board of Education appointed, not by her, but by the Governor.  

It's like being the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.  Your name is on the door, but someone else is running the team.

The Republicans at the Statehouse are determined pretty much to move forward with the status quo and ignore what happened in November of 2012.  They write Ritz off as being the anti-Bennett.  They refuse to realize that what happened to Bennett could happen to just about any one of them.

Ritz has nothing to lose, but the Republicans do.  They have a supermajority to protect, and Mike Pence has higher aspirations.  As many have pointed out, Governor Pence's response to the election of Ritz was to create his own shadow Department of Education.  Yep, the small government conservative with an aversion for spending has created his own state agency likely because he can't control the Department of Education. 

So, when Glenda Ritz gets vilified for walking out of a meeting, realize that she's not really in control.  The rules of the game have changed since January.  She's no longer given the same leeway that her predecessor was, and it's all political.  

Voters voted for a change of course, but the Republicans are going to great lengths to keep the status quo.  The upcoming 2014 session of the General Assembly bears watching.  Superintendent Ritz deserves the same respect that her predecessor got.  Instead, she's likely going to end up a figurehead because the Republican Party won't work with her.

If that happens, let's hope that 2014 gives Ritz some friends at the Statehouse.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

May Back With City of Indianapolis

Mayor Ballard and Carlos May
Photo from Facebook
It is a bit of old news now, but a hearty congratulations is in order for Carlos May.

The two-time candidate for Congress in the 7th Congressional District has rejoined the Mayor's Office as Greg Ballard's Senior Executive Policy Adviser.  

By my count, this is May's third stint with the Ballard Administration.  He was originally a highly-effective Mayor's Neighborhood Liaison.  That's where I got to know him.  He left that job to run for Congress in 2010, but he was defeated in May of that year by Marvin Scott. 

The Mayor hired him back again to serve as Director of Latino Affairs.  He left that job to run full-time for Congress in May 2012.  Congressman Andre Carson won reelection in November.  May joined the Indy Eleven professional soccer club in July as Director of International Media.  He left that job in September and rejoined the Ballard Administration in his new role.

I really like Carlos.  He's a solid guy, and it's no wonder why the Ballard Administration would think so highly of him that it would hire him three times.  

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fifty Years Ago in Dallas...

Minutes before he was shot, John F. Kennedy beams his trademark
smile at supporters and onlookers.
Fifty years ago in Dallas, shots rang out that changed the course of history.

On the afternoon of November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as he rode through the streets of Dallas in an open-top limousine.

I wasn't even alive then, but I know it was a shock to everyone.  I have talked to my older family members about that terrible day.  They tell me what they were doing when they found out.  They still can recall details and feelings from that day that might shock you.  One family member can tell you exactly what they were eating when they found out.

Other folks I know remember hearing about Kennedy's death at school.  As they were young, they talk about not knowing fully what everything meant.  They just knew something terrible had happened.

Something terrible did happen.

John F. Kennedy was not your normal President, and none before or since really can compare.  Elected at 43, Kennedy was not only the youngest man to be elected to the office, but he was the President who died at the youngest age (46).  His beautiful wife, Jacqueline, was beloved at just 34 years old.  They had two young children and had lost a child as well.  Unlike many Presidents and despite their enormous wealth, the Kennedys were people that folks could relate to.

We now know about President Kennedy's various dalliances and escapades.  We know that he wasn't perfect, but he was a fine President who was just starting to see his popularity numbers tick upward.  With the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs behind him, Kennedy was finally starting to get some things done and was hoping to get his stalled civil rights bill through Congress.  His reelection campaign was just starting.

Unfortunately, so many of my generation know of President Kennedy only in what we've read in the history books and seen in clips and videos.  For many of my age, we know him more for his death than his life.  That's a shame.  I would have loved to know what would have been different in this country had, for the sake of argument, Kennedy had survived the assassination attempt.

Kennedy's death was one of the first in a number of high-profile and violent deaths of the 60's in the United States.  Medgar Evers had been shot dead in Mississippi a few months prior to Kennedy's assassination in Dallas.  Malcolm X would be gunned down in 1965 and within a month of each other, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy both were murdered by assassins in 1968.  It was a loss of innocence.

The 1960's came in with the hope of Camelot, and they ended with the despair of Vietnam. Would John F. Kennedy, had he survived, changed things?  Only the alternate historians can debate.

What we do know is that John F. Kennedy was taken from us on November 22, 1963.  That was 50 years ago, today.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Donnelly Donates Shutdown Pay to Put Food on Hoosier Tables

Joe Donnelly has exceeded my expectations by any measure as a U.S. Senator so far.  I am more proud today of the vote I cast in 2012 for him than I was on the day I cast it.  You can't always say that with politicians.

All it takes is a look into the other U.S. Senator from Indiana's Office to see what a divisive and rudderless leader looks like but back to Donnelly.

We are getting close to the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Senator Donnelly has found a way to make the government shutdown work for 10 food banks across Indiana.  He donated the $5000 he would have earned during the government shutdown to the food banks across Indiana.  They each received checks for $500 from the Senator.

Did I mention how proud I am of my Senator?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Why Do We Care About Liz Cheney's Views on Anything?

Liz Cheney
(Photo from Campaign Website)
Wyoming U.S. Senate candidate Liz Cheney doesn't support same-sex marriage, but she's way behind Republican incumbent Senator Mike Enzi in the latest polling.  Why do we care what Liz Cheney thinks?

That's right.  Her last name is Cheney, and Dick Cheney moves the dial still in politics.  There are few more people as polarizing as Daddy Cheney.  One thing he has always been clear on, however, is this issue.  He's been someone supportive of his other daughter, Mary, who is gay and who is married.

The war of the words is sad, but I think it says more about Liz than Mary or even Dick.  Liz Cheney is a nasty person, but, again, why does any of this surprise us now?  We've known that Liz is a nasty person for years.  The fact that she would possibly throw her own sister under the bus to get a few votes isn't at all shocking.  It might also be the reason that the same poll finding her well behind Enzi shows how unpopular she's becoming.

This is a Cheney family drama, and I understand why it's a story.  It sells newspapers and probably makes some liberals cackle with joy saying these types of things that Dick Cheney's behavior has brought on himself courtesy of karma.

Maybe it is.  Maybe it isn't.

I honestly can't feel too bad for the Cheneys.  It's their personal family issue.  I just wonder if Liz Cheney's name was something else and that she wasn't related to Dick Cheney if we'd even be talking about a Wyoming U.S. Senate candidate that's trailing an incumbent U.S. Senator by such a wide margin.

Probably not.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gettysburg Address Turns 150

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

--Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Monday, November 18, 2013

November Severe Weather Outbreak Drops Tornadoes Across Indiana

I caught this double rainbow as the
storms moved out.
Except for some strong winds, a few trees, and a unfortunate building collapse, Indianapolis was pretty much spared nature's fury in yesterday's tornado outbreak.

Much of Indiana was not, and the pictures are hard to look at.

The forecast that the meteorologists told us about pretty much came true, and it appears that several tornadoes touched down north and south of the circle city.  Some of my friends even felt nature's wrath experiencing damage and destruction to their homes.

I want to send my best wishes to all of those that were adversely affected by the tornadoes on Sunday.  I wish you the best as you try to put back together the things that were destroyed.

It's also important to express appreciation to the unsung heroes that work at the National Weather Service and the National Severe Storms Prediction Center.  Also to the other weather forecasters out there in the media and online who worked so hard to warn Hoosiers and keep them safe.  It was quite a day of weather.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

SBOE/Ritz Battle Continues with More Drama

Dysfunction at its finest.  I think that's a phrase that could be used to describe the current relationship between Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Glenda Ritz, and the Indiana State Board of Education.

If you haven't heard yet, the meeting of the SBOE came to a screeching halt when Ritz adjourned the meeting, according to the Indy Star.

On Tuesday, Ritz had accused Governor Mike Pence of trying to take over education in this state by developing his own Department of Education known as the Center for Education and Career Innovation.  The Star said the meeting stopped on a dime when the SBOE proposed that the Center for Education and Career Innovation help "develop advice" on math and language arts standards.

Ritz had heard enough and stopped the meeting saying that she need an advisory opinion from Attorney General Greg Zoeller, according to the Star.  Later, she would release this statement.

The entire State Board of Education was appointed by Republicans...including the Democrats, and it's clear now more than ever that these GOP-appointed members want nothing to do with the elected official the voters overwhelmingly put in the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction.  It's a board of unelected education and business experts.  They want to detour her on education policy and delegate things, it seems, to the new Pence-created entity.

That does not seem right.  As I've mentioned before on this blog, over 1.3 million Hoosiers voted  to have Ritz handle the SBOE's policy requests.  What remains to be seen is how this all might shake out at the ballot box in 2014.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hawaii To Become 16th State to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

Hawaii's legislature passed legislation that would make it the 16th state to recognize same-sex marriages.  Just last week, Illinois did the same thing to become the 15th state.  In September, a court case was decided to make New Jersey the 13th state.  
If things seem to be moving fast, they are.  Since January 1, eight states (and the federal government) have been added to the list of government entities now recognizing same-sex marriages.  It's been a remarkable time to be alive and to be a member of the LGBTQ community.

If you go back 10 years, no states recognized same-sex marriage.  Massachusetts was the first in May of 2004.  California, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, the District of Columbia, New York, Washington, and Maine were to follow.  This year, Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Illinois, and Hawaii are the seven states that have been added.  There's still time for more, and there seems to be a new battleground opening.  New Mexico neither recognizes nor bans same sex unions in the Land of Enchantment.  

A few other states like Oregon, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Colorado allow relationships similar to marriage for those who are in same-sex relationships.  You would figure that perhaps someday not in the too distant future that these states might convert over to pure marriage equality.

Eventually some case is likely to bubble up to the U.S. Supreme Court as well, and that might just bring equality more quickly than we think when it comes to same-sex marriage.  One way or another, it's just fun to be here right now and watch as our society becomes more open and more accepting and more tolerant.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

City-County Council Passes Resolution Urging Defeat of HJR-6 by Indiana General Assembly

The City-County Council passed a resolution urging the Indiana General Assembly to defeat House Joint Resolution 6, 22-6 at last night's City-County Council meeting.

All the Democrats and the majority of the Republican caucus backed the resolution.  Only six Republicans voted against the resolution.  Ginny Cain, Aaron Freeman, Jason Holliday, Marilyn Pfisterer, Jack Sandlin, and Christine Scales were the no votes.  Mayor Ballard has already said he is backing the fight against House Joint Resolution 6.

I'm not going to beat up the six people that voted against the resolution.  I know Marilyn Pfisterer and Jason Holliday personally.  Holliday is my Councillor.  I also least through e-mail and social media...Christine Scales.  I'm sure that Aaron Freeman and Jack Sandlin also had their reasons for voting against the resolution, and Ginny Cain's position should surprise no one.

Still, it's amazing how fast things turn around in this political world we all enjoy.  Just a few years ago, Indy could barely pass a human rights ordinance even with a Democratic majority.  It pretty much cost Republican Scott Keller his place on the Council because he crossed the partisan divide and voted with the Democrats providing the one vote margin of victory for the human rights ordinance.

Monday, a majority of the Republican caucus and all the Democrats said that they agreed that HJR-6 is bad for Indiana.  We've come a long way!

Monday, November 11, 2013

It's Veterans Day

Today, we honor those who have served this country in the cause of freedom, liberty, and the preservation of our rights. Thank you to all that have served and to those that have sacrificed all to make it possible for me to write this blog as a free American citizen.

I know I post this video often here on days like this, but there are men and women that live this song every day. Freedom truly isn't free. So, to all of the men and women that fight and have fought for me...THANK YOU!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Lloyd Enters Race for Clerk

Marion County Coroner
Dr. Frank Lloyd, Jr.
Your Marion County Coroner wants to be your Marion County Clerk when Beth White moves to the Statehouse as Secretary of State in 2015.

Marion County Coroner, Dr. Frank Lloyd, announced on Wednesday that he would be pursuing election as Marion County Clerk of the Circuit Court in 2014. Dr. Lloyd was first elected to his current office in 2008. He was reelected just last year. He has largely been absent from the political scene and associated events for that time.

That figures to change. Lloyd, who served as President of the of the Center for Surgical Science and Trauma at Methodist Hospital for seven years, will now have to campaign hard for the Clerk's position. He's actually starting his run long after an established candidate, Myla Eldridge, has been in the race. Eldridge is the former Director of Elections for the Marion County Election Board and has also served in other positions for the Election Board and in the Clerk's Office.

Constituents have also become used to a visible and active Clerk of the Circuit Court. White has raised the visibility of the office greatly. Her hard work has been noticed by individuals of all political parties and persuasions. Lloyd or Eldridge will both be judged upon the work White has done as Marion County Clerk.

I honestly don't know how to handicap this race right now. Lloyd's entry to the race would normally be a pretty big wild card, but he is the son of a well-known Indy civil rights and civic leader, Dr. Frank Lloyd, Sr. Lloyd, Jr. seems to be acknowledging his father's legacy in his campaign announcement. Dr. Lloyd said, "I have spent most of my career practicing medicine here in Indianapolis, the last 6 years has given me the rewarding opportunity to serve the public. I look forward to continuing that service particularly as we are witnessing roadblocks to our most precious right, the right to vote. My family has a very proud heritage in this community in guaranteeing equal rights for all."

Eldridge has already been out and about speaking to organizations, political and otherwise, in her professional capacity as well as in the role of a candidate for office.

I look for the Marion County Democratic Party to stay out of this one and let it play out from here.  The rest of the county ticket is taking shape.  Julie Voorhies will run for Auditor.  Kate Sweeney Bell is running for Recorder.  John Layton will seek reelection as Sheriff as will Assessor Joe O'Connor and Prosecutor Terry Curry.  Mark Brown, a past candidate for Sheriff, also announced he will be running again in the 2014 primary against Layton.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Township Trustee Bounced from Office

A Republican Township Trustee in Morgan County has been removed from office after she admitted to stealing $270,000 in taxpayer money.

The Indianapolis Star reports that Sandra Norman, who became Ashland Township Trustee in 2011 after her mother resigned, took the money and then spent it on herself and her friends.  She is supposed to pay back the money she took.  She will be scheduled for sentencing on November 25.

Township government has come under attack for its lack of transparency.  In Marion County, for example, a court battle is waging on because Decatur Township allegedly did not follow the correct procedure in replacing a Township Advisory Board member who passed away.  The Marion County Democratic Party seated a new board member under the existing state law that allows the Marion County Commissioners to fill open positions if the parties do not, but the Republicans claimed they had filled the opening.

I'm not equating the two cases at all, but it does underscore the need for constituents to stay vigilant even at the most often-ignored layers of government.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Christie Storms Back to Trenton

Governor Chris Christie
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie easily fought off his Democratic Challenger, State Senator Barbara Buono, by about 20 points assuring him a second term and ramping up the speculation about his political future.

Some Republicans are so excited over Christie's win they are hoping that he can turn his performance among minority voters and women into a run for President in 2016.  To quote former Indiana University football coach, Lee Corso, "Not so fast my friends."

CNN reported last night that exit polls said that only 50 percent of Garden Staters believe that the Governor they just overwhelmingly sent back to Trenton would make a good President.  In addition, 49 percent said they would vote for Hillary Clinton in a head-to-head race with Christie.  The good Governor would only get 43 percent, and that's in a General Election race.

Before Christie gets to the General, he must survive the Primary, and, as most of you know, Republican races in the Primary Election season run far more conservative than Mr. Christie is politically.  It would be a very hard for a man with some of the highest taxes in the country to become a small government conservative.  Christie would have to move right to pick up some of the Republican base in order to win.  Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, and others all are over there on the right already.  That makes Christie the strange moderate at the table.  He's 2016's version of Jon Huntsman who was pushed aside like a bunch of single ladies trying to catch the bridal bouquet.

Let's face the facts.  Christie beat an unpopular Democrat, Jon Corzine, in 2010, and he did it will less than 50 percent of the vote.  Because of the job he's done in New Jersey, he proved to New Jersey voters that he deserved a second term yesterday.

Over the past year, we have learned a lot about Chris Christie.  He's toned down his act, and he's been able to work across the aisle.  The way he managed the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy showed the way he might manage a crisis when in office.  These are all positive things that make him a very strong General Election candidate.

Back to that pesky Primary thing.  Many voters on the right don't really see bipartisanship as a good thing.  These are, after all, the same folks that gave us Cruz, Paul, Palin, and Richard Mourdock.  Plus, New Jersey is not the rest of the country, and the voters of New Jersey are not the voters of the rest of the country.  .

What Christie did in New Jersey won't matter so much in a Primary.  It will be how far he can go to the right.  When you're a moderate Republican, it's hard to turn right enough to stand the test of the GOP's far right.

McAuliffe Wins Virginia Governorship

Terry McAuliffe
Virginia voters went to the polls and elected a Democrat yesterday to be their new Governor in January.

Terry McAuliffe, who is as insider as insider can get when it comes to the Democrats, defeated Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Tea Party darling,  I'm glad I didn't have to vote in the Commonwealth yesterday.  Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian, was also a player in this one.

Let's review.  McAuliffe was the Chair of the Democratic National Committee from 2000 to 2005, a very dark period in national politics for Democrats.  He's whiz at raising money and organizing, but he's always been a behind the scenes guy.  Party chairs will tell you that sometimes you break a few eggs to make an omelette.  McAuliffe's tactics have been, by and large, on the negative and nasty side.

There were plenty of negatives to point out with Cuccinelli, one of the Tea Partiest candidates the Tea Party could offer up.  No sense kicking the man while he's down.  It will be interesting now to see how McAuliffe makes the transition between Clinton family friend and party boss to Governor of Virginia.  I wonder how easy the pivot will be.

Finally, some have said that Sarvis' campaign won this for McAuliffe.  I don't know if that's true.  You had two major party candidates here in this race that didn't ignite much passion, and Sarvis.  Perhaps the people that voted for Sarvis knew what they were doing and everyone else stayed home.  Just a thought.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wabash, DePauw Ring Monon Bell for Equality

The rivalry between Wabash and DePauw is bitter and longstanding.  If the two schools come together in opposition of something, you know the cause must be just.

Freedom Indiana announced on Monday that Wabash and DePauw have joined the fight against HJR-6 in the name of equality.

The Presidents of the schools, Brian Casey of DePauw and Greg Hess of Wabash said, in a news release from Freedom Indiana,

“The rivalry between Wabash and DePauw is longstanding and hard-fought, but today we stand together to join this coalition and lend our voice to support this campaign."
“Our students come from around the country and around the world, and our fundamental goal is to educate them to think critically, exercise responsible leadership, communicate effectively, and tackle complex problems. This depends on attracting talented faculty and staff, a task that is made more difficult by the passage of this amendment. We are also engaged in the enterprise of fostering ideas and innovation, a mission which inherently depends on an environment of openness and inclusion that would be compromised should this amendment be enacted.”
Wabash and DePauw join Indiana University and major Indiana employers like Eli Lilly and Cummins in support of Freedom Indiana and against HJR-6.  The Indy Chamber also announced it would support the fight last week.

Monday, November 4, 2013

White Makes SOS Bid Official

Beth White
As expected, Democrat Beth White is a candidate for Secretary of State.

The Marion County Clerk made her announcement at the Statehouse today in Indianapolis.

Here's the official announcement:

Standing before the state’s capitol, Marion County Clerk Beth White today announced that she is seeking the Democratic nomination for Indiana Secretary of State in 2014. 
“Our state’s history is steeped in values like working hard, telling the truth and doing right by our friends, family and neighbors – values I like to call Hoosier common sense,” White said. “These are the values I want to bring to Indianapolis as your next Secretary of State.” 
Now serving her second term as Marion County Clerk, White is the chief election official for the nation’s 13th largest city and has championed voters’ rights by expanding early voting, testifying before the legislature to remove barriers to voting and visiting local schools to help young students engage in the voting process. As clerk, she also is the chief fiscal agent and record keeper for the county’s Superior and Circuit Courts. 
In today’s announcement, White noted a 2011 University of Pennsylvania study that found only 38% of US adults could name the three branches of government; an alarming 33% could not name one. This movement away from civics in the classroom has lead to apathy on Election Day, and Indiana finds itself 48th in voter turnout according to the Indiana State Bar Association’s 2011 Civic Health Index. 
“We started yVote! during the 2008 election to capture the enthusiasm to invigorate political interest in our young people,” White said. “Since then more than 2,500 students have registered to vote through this program, and I’m hopeful that bringing the Constitution back to the classroom will lead to a more engaged electorate.” 
Before being sworn into office in 2007, White was a top aide to Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson and was a member of the Gov. Frank O’Bannon administration, serving as Chief Legal Counsel and Director of Job Training for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. As a college student, she interned for Congressman Lee Hamilton and State Senator Vi Simpson. 
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with public servants who understood the value of inclusiveness. They worked hard to make sure everyone had a seat at the table,” added White. “As Indiana’s next Secretary of State, I hope to follow in their footsteps and leave our state a better place for the next generation of Hoosiers.” 
A native of Bloomington, Clerk White is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University at Bloomington and earned her law degree from Georgetown University in Washington. She resides in Irvington on the eastside of Indianapolis with her husband, Neil Marcus, and their young son, Nathaniel. For more information about White’s campaign, visit

White Likely to Announce Candidacy for Indiana Secretary of State This Afternoon

Marion County Clerk Beth White
At 1:00 p.m. today at the Statehouse, it appears one of the worst-kept secrets in Indiana politics will be revealed.

Marion County Clerk Beth White is expected to announce that she is running for Secretary of State.  If selected as the nominee at the Indiana Democratic Party State Convention in 2014, she will likely face incumbent Connie Lawson and possibly Libertarian Karl Tatgenhorst in the General Election.

White served in a number of roles and positions within local and state government prior to her election as Marion County Clerk in 2006.  A lawyer by trade, she has served as everything from a Deputy Prosecutor to Director of Constituent Services for Mayor Bart Peterson.  White's full bio is available online on the city's website.

It's no surprise that White is expected to announce she is running for SOS.  She has been making the rounds at various functions across the state for weeks.  At last month's Decatur Township Democratic Club meeting, Indiana Auditor of State candidate Mike Claytor said that White would make a tremendous Secretary of State and indicated strongly that she would run for the office.

The Republican snark machine is ramping up against White all ready, but her best calling card is her record.  After a rough beginning, White has done a spectacular job running secure and fair elections in Marion County along with the non-partisan Election Board.  While this is the most visible job of the Marion County Clerk, it's not the only job.  Among other things, the Clerk is responsible for court filings, election filings, collecting child support, marriage licenses, and probably a lot of other things I'm forgetting.  It's not an easy job at all.  White has modernized and streamlined the office.

Secretary of State
Connie Lawson
The race for Secretary of State should be an interesting one.  While Lawson seems like a nice person, she has not been very visible since she was appointed by Governor Mitch Daniels.  She will be starting at almost zero when it comes to name recognition, and I've been told that Lawson, a former State Senator, is not the strongest campaigner in the world.  She does have the power of incumbency and the advantage of having an electorate that has, with one exception, elected Republicans to statewide office with regularity for the past several years.

Karl Tatgenhorst
Raising money and campaigning are two things that Beth White excels at, and I would expect she will make this a competitive race.

Libertarian Karl Tatgenhorst has also announced he will seek his party's nomination for the race.  In 2010, Libertarian Mike Wherry received 5.9 percent of the vote.

Democrats now need to find a candidate for Indiana Treasurer of State to round out their statewide ticket.

At the Marion County Clerk level, Myla Eldridge is expected to be the lone candidate for the Democratic nomination.  After early speculation, it appears other candidates have decided against running.  That said, it's a long way to May.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fail Fail Old Purdue

Purdue President
Mitch Daniels
On Tuesday, Purdue University opted out of the fight to stop House Joint Resolution 6.

The university said that it would stay out of the matter citing its long history of steering clear of political issues. Indiana University announced on Monday that it supported efforts to stop HJR-6.

While it's just another reason to prefer IU over Purdue, it's a shame that Purdue's own leader doesn't shy away from politics.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels apologized last month after accepting compensation to speak to a conservative group in Minnesota.  Daniels claims his comments were non-partisan in nature, but it really makes Purdue seem a bit hypocritical.

While HJR-6 is indeed playing out in a political manner, its wide-ranging effects on people, including those employees and students of Purdue University who are in same-sex relationships or other relationships similar to that of marriage are anything but political.  They are real, and Purdue is missing an opportunity to do so much good for those individuals who could use its advocacy.  Instead of beating the World's Largest Drum against inequality, Purdue has decided to sit quietly on the sidelines.

At least those downstate get it.  That's another reason why I'm glad my diploma came from Bloomington and not West Lafayette.