Thursday, January 28, 2016

Remembering the Challenger Seven

The Challenger Seven
1st Row (L to R): Mike Smith, Francis "Dick" Scobee,
Dr. Ronald McNair
2nd Row (L to R): Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe
Gregory Jarvis, Dr. Judith Resnik
The date was January 28, 1986. I was 10 years old and was a student in the 5th Grade at Chapelwood Elementary.

There were no cell phones. There were no electronic devices. There was no internet.

I reported to the school clinic to take my medicine for asthma after lunch just as I did every day, and I noticed the nurse’s aide was crying. I asked her if she was ok, and she said she was. She just kept listening to this news broadcast on the radio as she opened the filing cabinet and handed me my medication. I didn't press the issue with her, but I remember wondering why she was so sad.  I took my medicine and went back to class

The rest of the school day was pretty normal I guess because I don't remember anything else about the day at school.  I just remember being 10 years old and curious and wanting to know how the day's Space Shuttle Challenger launch went.

Unlike many school children, I was blissfully unaware for a few hours that teacher Christa McAuliffe and six others had perished in one of our country’s worst space program disasters. On TV sets at school-wide assemblies, those other children watched the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger live, and they saw the horrible aftermath of the Challenger breaking apart.

A malfunction in the Solid Rocket Booster’s o-rings caused the SRB to slam into the External Fuel Tank and destroy the Challenger. The horror would have to wait until I got home, and it was up to my grandmother to break the news. 

Like many kids my age, I loved the space program and was enthralled by the cosmos. There were nights when I would lay on the porch with my family and look up into the night sky for the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper and Orion and other constellations.  I was five years old when the Space Shuttle Columbia was launched to start the shuttle program, and I can remember watching that launch early one morning with my parents like it was yesterday. 

The loss of the Challenger Seven hit me hard, and it seemed like the television news stations couldn’t get enough of the live video of the space vehicle coming apart as those SRBs snaked away from the scene.  I remember not quite understanding the gravity of the situation, but trying to make sense of everything in my childhood mind.

So, here we are 30 years later. The legacy of the Challenger Seven continues thanks to the work of  their surviving families.  Because of their strength, the lessons of that shuttle mission that were just supposed to take a few days have become much more enduring.  Over 40 Challenger Centers have opened all over the country teaching young and old alike about space and the teamwork it takes to solve complex problems. 

Let  us honor Commander Francis “Dick” Scobee, Pilot Michael Smith, Mission Specialist Judith Resnik, Mission Specialist Ron McNair, Mission Specialist Ellison Onizuka, Payload Specialist Gregory Jarvis, and Teacher Christa McAuliffe. 

On the night they died, President Ronald Reagan took to the airwaves.  He was supposed to give his State of the Union Speech that night, but he postponed it.  Instead, he spoke directly to the nation about the day's loss and put it directly in perspective what it meant.  

He also took a moment to speak directly to those little ones, like me, that were struggling to make sense of the entire incident.  So many others had witnessed the awful event live that morning.  In his poignant remarks, Reagan said:
“On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime, the great frontiers were the oceans, and a historian later said, ‘He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it.’ Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake's, complete. 
The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’”
Whether your religious or not, the imagery is peaceful and beautiful.  The perspective was perfect.  Astronauts and those that push the boundaries of human life to contribute to a greater understanding of the world are truly heroes.

The Challenger Seven were truly heroes. They all died on January 28, 1986.  30 years ago today.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

In Memoriam: Susan Jordan

Susan Jordan
For any principal of any school, one of the toughest parts of the day is dismissal.

Trying to move hundreds of kids out of your building efficiently and safely is a triumph when it is done correctly and a nightmare when something happens.

On Tuesday, Indianapolis saw that nightmare scenario unfold, and a principal is being hailed as a hero.

Outside Amy Beverland Elementary in Lawrence Township, Principal Susan Jordan was hard at work like a shepherd making sure her flock of little sheep were each deposited safely aboard buses.  Suddenly, a bus jumped the curb and witnesses say Jordan pushed children out of the way of the careening bus before being hit herself.  In the aftermath, two children were rushed to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, but Mrs. Jordan, a veteran educator and administrator, did not survive the accident.

Time and time again, teachers put their lives on the line when bad things happen to protect the lives of the young people in their charge.  Mrs. Jordan apparently died doing just that.

Because of the apparent actions of Mrs. Jordan, young people she saved will live to contribute to society and make life better.  It's incredibly sad that she won't get to see those young people grow and blossom and develop to their potential...at least on this Earth.  If one believes in the afterlife, perhaps she is the guardian angel now for these children.

Whatever happens, I'm sure her memory will always be present throughout the hallways of the school she capably administrated, and she will be remembered by all of us for her apparent final selfless act of courage.  I'd like to say any of us would have done it, but do we really know for sure unless we are called to act?  Susan Jordan was, and she did.

As a fellow educator, I found myself weeping at the story, and I didn't even know Mrs. Jordan.  I can only imagine what the next few days, weeks, and months will be like.  For the students and staff at Amy Beverland, they've lost their beloved leader.

My thoughts are with them all as well as the family and friends of a truly remarkable woman.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Race To Replace Young Heats Up

Indiana's 9th Congressional District
With Todd Young attempting to move across the Rotunda from the U.S. House to the U.S. Senate, the race for Young’s 9th District seat might be one to watch as we head towards May and into the General Election season.

Let’s dispense with the Democratic side very quickly. Past candidate Shelli Yoder has decided to dip her toe in the electoral pool again. Yoder ran a very credible campaign in 2012 against Young before losing 55 percent to 45 percent to the incumbent. Real estate agent and businessman Bill Thomas has a website up touting his credentials as a conservative Democrat. 

Yoder has to be considered the favorite given her strong past run and strong name recognition. Thomas’s website, frankly, misspells Benghazi which doesn't make the best first impression.

On the Republican side, there most certainly will be a nasty battle.  In fact, ads are already running for May’s Primary. My morning slumber was interrupted on Monday morning by a Congressional ad run by a PAC (I didn’t get the name) on behalf of businessman Trey Hollingsworth. The ad, negative in tone, specifically targeted another 9th District Republican candidate, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, as a “career politician”. 

Others in the race are State Senators Erin Houchin and Brent Waltz and former conservative radio host and Congressional staffer, Jim Pfaff. Engineer Robert Hall is also in the race.
Like Yoder, Zoeller has name recognition across the 9th District having run for and won election to statewide office twice. Houchin and Waltz both are seasoned politicians that have the knowledge to win races and raise money. Hollingsworth obviously has some benefactor in a high place who doesn't seem to like Zoeller and has put up some slick internet ads.  It seems that Pfaff and Hall will need some help to make this a true six-way elephant race.

I'll be keeping my eye on this one as we head towards May.

Monday, January 25, 2016

One Week to Go to Iowa Caucuses Launch 2016 Presidential Race for Real

One week from today, the votes begin to count as Iowa caucus-goers head to sites across the state to begin the Iowa Caucus.

On the Republican side, it's still a free for all with Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio up front.  On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are locked in a head-to-head battle that few saw coming just a few months ago.  While most still predict Clinton to prevail in the end, her air of inevitability is gone for certain.

It's the granddaddy of all elections as every decision a campaign makes is analyzed, over-analyzed, and put in perspective.

Just when it seemed like everything was settling in, Donald Trump unleashed the former Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, on the masses.  Palin, still wildly popular among many in the Republican Party, endorsed Trump.  Speaking of formerly relevant political figures, shock radio host Glenn Beck came out and endorsed Ted Cruz.  The Des Moines Register endorsed Marco Rubio.  It's wild on the right.

On the other side of the aisle, the Register endorsed Hillary Clinton, and Clinton has been rolling in the endorsement.  Many young people are "Feeling the Bern" right now with Senator Sanders.  At risk is early momentum and perhaps showing that one's campaign remains viable.

So, the political circus in 2016 is set to begin for real.  Each Monday, I'll take a moment to try to digest the Presidential race and express my opinions.  I'm ready if you are!

On tonight's JohnnyStir Show at 8:00 p.m. on IndianaTalks.com, my good friends Chris Jackson, Paul Ogden, Gary Snyder, and Steve Terrell do our best to make sense of the polls and the hype heading in to this big week.  Tune in.

Friday, January 22, 2016

And So Marlin Made a Farmin' Political Ad

Farmin'. Guns. God.

That's sums up Marlin Stutzman's first ad for U.S. Senate.



"In a Capitol filled with lawyers, we need a farmer," is a line in the ad.  It's effective in tone, and will definitely make those that cling to their guns and their religion excited about his run.  Marlin Stutzman wants you to know that he ain't one of those high fallutin' Washington cats.

Except...that he is.

You see, what Marlin Stutzman forgets to tell you in his well-written and filmed ad that's clearly targeted at the ultra conservative base is that he's been in Congress since 2010.  In 2002, he was elected to the Indiana House, and he served two years in the Indiana Senate.  For a guy that's just 39 years old, that's 14 years running for or being in elected office.

Stutzman looks good slingin' hay and carryin' a bag of feed in his Carhart jacket, but let's be real.  He's part of the problem in Washington.  Because of his ultraconservative district, he's able to keep his ultraconservative views and be a dam to any river of progress that there might ever be in Congress.

He can get guys that sound like Paul Harvey to narrate his "God Made a Farmer"-like ads all he wants, but Hoosiers know the truth.  Marlin Stutzman may be a farmer, but he's one of them Washingtonians, too...and one of the obstructionist kind.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Dickerson Out of Senate Race, Endorses Hill

John Dickerson
I must admit. I was a little disappointed when I heard yesterday's news that John Dickerson had dropped out of the race for U.S. Senate.

Dickerson had always been the underdog in the race with the more well-known former U.S. Representative Baron Hill in the race. You had to figure that Hill with his fundraising ability and past electoral attempts and successes that he would become the candidate. I was just hoping that the state would get to know Dickerson a little more.

In my handful of conversations with Dickerson, I found him to be engaging and interesting. He's someone new to add to the bench of Democrats that might run for future office. His statement announcing his departure from the race seemed to possibly rule out a future run for office. Times change and people change. Of course, U.S. Senate might have been a big first step. I could see Dickerson making a difference on a more local stage. Lord knows we need more people with
Baron Hill
his expertise in politics. Dickerson spent his career working in social services most recently with ARC of Indiana.

Dickerson's departure ends what race there was for the Democratic nomination.  Hill, as previously mentioned, was the frontrunner.  With Dickerson endorsing him, this consolidates any support he had behind Hill.  If Hill is going to win this thing in November, he needs all the support he can get as early as he can get it.  The Republican race, just as it was in 2012 when Richard Lugar lost the Republican nomination to Richard Mourdock, could be bloody.  

Hill should get to watch all that mud fly on that other side of the aisle without getting himself dirty.  That's a luxury for sure.

I salute John Dickerson for running and making a credible campaign of it into early 2016.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Indiana GOP Tries to Troll IN Dems, Fails Miserably

The Indiana Republican Party tried to troll the Indiana Democratic Party on Twitter last night.  The thing is...it was such a stupid, cryptic attempt at a troll it left them wide open for a Chairman John Zody slam.

See below.




Never let the interns run the Twitter account, GOP.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Nisly Wants to Take Your Vote

Rep. Curt Nisly
Rep. Curt Nisly (R-Goshen) has filed a bill that would, if enacted, possibly end in the repeal of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The legislature of each state to once again pick the U.S. Senators for that state.

HJR 5 wishes to trigger an Article V Constitutional Convention for this sole purpose.

So, it's reasonable to say that Curt Nisly doesn't trust Hoosiers to choose U.S. Senators as we have since the 17th Amendment was ratified over 100 years ago.  Why does Nisly want to steal your vote?

I don't know if Nisly's Resolution has any chance of passing, but, what I do know, is that it takes two-thirds of the states to put Article V to work and call a Constitutional Convention.  Anything decided in that convention would have to be ratified by three fourths of the state legislatures.

Getting 75 percent of the states to agree on anything is unlikely.

So, this is just a waste of time, a waste of paper, and a waste.  Thanks Curt Nisly.

I'll be highlighting these types of bills and resolution that have zero chance of actually working as we continue through the General Assembly session.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Dr. King Day Signifies Fight Goes On

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It's once again the day of the year that we come together to celebrate the short but consequential life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we come together this year, we understand that Dr. King's work is far from done.  We've seen that time and time again across the country this past year.  The entire Black Lives Matter movement is emblematic of the fight that continues.

Last year on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I went to see the movie Selma.  When it ended, I sat in the movie theater and tears were coming out of my eyes.  I could not believe that this country was once a country of such hate and such ignorance.

In many places, I'm not so sure that that type of behavior doesn't continue.  In other places, the hate and ignorance has been redirected into other things.  In Indiana, not only do we continue to fight those things that Dr. King fought such as racism, injustice, and poverty, but we also fight for a whole class of individuals to have their civil rights protected.  Those are LGBT Hoosiers.  I don't mean to project where Dr. King might be on this issue nor even draw an exact one to one equality to the fights, but it nonetheless is a major civil rights drum that continues to be beaten in our society.

We fight on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on so many fronts, and we hope that this is the year we finally make significant progress.

Most importantly, on this day, we remember the "drum major" for justice, peace, and righteousness.  A man who accomplished more in his 39 years than some could accomplish in two lifetimes.  We remember Dr. Martin Luther King and continue his fight by honoring his legacy.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

No New Posts Til Monday

Day job has just been a little too demanding this week, and I haven't been able to really blog much for today or for Friday, so we'll be back on Monday.

Sorry for the short notice.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Pence Turns Back on LGBT Hoosiers

Governor Mike Pence
Governor Mike Pence dug his trench a little deeper at yesterday's State of the State Address when it comes to LGBT civil rights.  At a minimum, that's not a good thing for his reelection campaign, but, at its worst, it still means that we have a Governor of our great state that just doesn't get it.

In case you missed it live, like I did, Governor Pence dug in his heels at last night's State of the State Address after stringing Hoosiers along for months and making them wait on his answer.  All this time, he knew the answer, but he was unwilling or unable to say his mind had not changed.

Rather than clear the issue off his plate and begin to repair the damage done, Governor Pence went back to the kitchen and dug out a second heaping helping without eating his first one.

So, welcome to Indiana...where our Governor chooses one group's rights over another and tacitly gives the thumbs up to a world full of potential discrimination cloaked in religion.

I can't wait until John Gregg's our Governor.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

In Memoriam: David Bowie (1947-2016)


On Sunday, the world lost David Bowie.  A man whose music, talent, acting ability and influence is hard to quantify.

David Bowie
Photo by Jimmy King
For those of us that are a certain age (I'm 40), we know Bowie largely from his past and his great works like Space Oddity, Rebel Rebel, Changes, Let's Dance, Ashes to Ashes, Under Pressure and a variety of other hits.  Thankfully, Bowie didn't leave the Earth before getting one last beautiful album off.

Critics have been gushing over his release Blackstar, but they had no idea until Sunday what it meant.  You see, Bowie knew the end of the story before we did, and Blackstar is, according to those close to him, what he wanted the world to receive after he had passed.

I always respected David Bowie's music, but I somehow respect him even more now.  To write your own ending is the perfect PR coup, and he did it.  It's somehow heroic to give cancer the middle finger like that and say, "Nope, this is how I will be remembered."

Bravo, David Bowie for your final act.  I hope you have one hell of an encore.

A Little Fun and Entertainment for Tonight's State of the State

Tonight, Governor Mike Pence will step to the microphone at the Statehouse and give his State of the State address tonight.

In the meantime, to make what will hopefully be Mike Pence's last SOTS address of his term in office more enjoyable, I've decided to come up with a (non-alcoholic) drinking game for you to play and enjoy while he speaks.

Smiles-one drop
Smiles and nods-one drink
Frowns and nods-one drink
Squints and nods-one drink
Makes downward motions with hands-one sip
Stands with hands on hips-two drinks
Puts hands on hips while riding horse into the House chambers-drink entire bottle

Mentions job creation numbers with no support-one sip
Mentions job creation numbers with specific company names-one drink
Mentions job creation numbers while celebrating by firing a revolver in the air-drink entire bottle

Puts words "Obamacare" and "Repeal" together-one drink
Says something schmaltzy about Hoosier values-two drinks
Mentions ISIS-two sips
Mentions RFRA-one sip
Announces full opinion on LGBTQ issues-six drinks
Announces full opinion on LGBTQ issues while dressed in drag-drink everything in house

Calls someone clearly not his friend, "My friend"-one drink
Starts slow clap for legislator or gallery guest-one drink
Mentions anything about David Bowie or David Bowie's music-drink half the glass.
Sings "Space Oddity"-drink six bottles

Mentions legislation to protect rights otherwise protected by the Indiana or U.S. Constitution-one drop
Invokes God to Bless something-one drop
Mentions basketball or racing or popcorn or something Indiana is known for-one drink
Mentions clean coal technology-one drink
Mentions Mr. Clean-two drinks

Challenges Governor of Illinois or Connecticut to a fight-drink bottle
Stops speech and yells, "WHAT ARE THOSE?" pointing to the shoes of a legislator-drink two bottles

Resigns-Go to Monument Circle and celebrate

Again, I don't condone getting drunk and drinking heavily.  This was just for fun.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Race to Replace Retiring Coats Remains Under Radar

Senator Coats is retiring.
In 2016, voters will go to the polls to replace Dan Coats in the United States Senate, but I fear that many don't even know that race is on the ticket yet.

So far, it seems Republicans and Democrats are off picking sides for President and Governor, and that's not particularly good news for our side of the aisle in this race.

When Joe Donnelly won his seat in the Senate, the office didn't dominate the top of the ticket either.  It was a pretty even race all the way through, and Donnelly received a huge help from Richard Mourdock's remarks at the final debate.  While Mitt Romney took Indiana by a wide margin and Mike Pence won the Governor's Office, Donnelly walked off with Richard Lugar's old Senate seat after an absolutely perfect campaign.  Glenda Ritz also redefined grassroots politics en route to upsetting Tony Bennett.

Both sides have a primary fight to figure out first.  Three major Republicans are running, and they all have big names.  Todd Young and Marlin Stutzman are both sitting Indiana U.S. House Delegation members trying to move over to the Senate.  Eric Holcomb is a former Mitch Daniels staffer and party chair trying to move into elected office.  Of the three, Young seems to be the early favorite though Stutzman cannot be counted out and Holcomb could have a path to victory, too.

On the Democratic side, former U.S. Rep. Baron Hill is the frontrunner, at least in name recognition.  He's taking on John Dickerson, a very good candidate, who has spent his career dedicated to making life better for those with disabilities in Indiana.  

For Democrats, it's going to take a perfect campaign, and I think time's wasting.  The quicker our Democrats engage and get the word out about the Republicans, the better.

I just think this is one race that is going to struggle for attention in 2016.

Friday, January 8, 2016

What's At Stake

As the Indiana General Assembly begins to discuss my civil rights and those of Hoosiers just like me, I thought they needed a reminder of what's at stake.

Not that for some, it will matter.

For some, though, it will.  So, here we go.







Four words and a comma.  That's all.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Odd Bill Proposed to Make Double Secret Super Dog Sure Rights Protected

Sen. Mike Young
Mike Young and RFRA...what could go wrong?  Plenty.

The man who single handedly increased the power of the Mayor of Indianapolis and once tried to take away overtime from Hoosier workers has now authored a bill that seems to be one of the oddest bills I've ever seen from the General Assembly.

Young wants to toss RFRA and replace it with a bill that will provide "a concrete guarantee to the citizens of Indiana that their fundamental constitutional rights will be recognized, preserved, and protected."

Those rights include:
The right to worship
The right to free exercise and of conscience
The right to freedom of religion
The right to freedom of thought and speech
The right of assemblage and petition
The right to bear arms

Again, what could go wrong, right?

Now, maybe I'm just not getting this, but I'm just not getting it.  Young's bill would do many of the same things RFRA would have done only expanding them, right?  I mean...am I wrong?

I have a better idea.  If the idea is to make double secret super dog sure our rights are so protected, why don't we just take out a crayon and copy the entire U.S. and Indiana Constitutions and put them into a bill and say, "We double secret super dog certain make sure these rights are protected."

Four words and a comma, Mike.  That's all we need.  Four words and a comma.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Money Pouring Into Indiana Governor's Race

The Fight for This Office
May Be Expensive
If money raised is any indication, the Indiana Gubernatorial race in 2016 is going to be darn tootin' interesting.

You can spin the cash however you wish to this point, it's clearly on track to be the most expensive Governor's Race Indiana has ever seen.

Governor Pence enters 2016 with a healthy advantage and $6.8 million in his campaign account, according to the Indy Star.  He did well in campaign fundraising last quarter bringing in nearly $4 million.  John Gregg did just fine as well by pulling in $1.7 million in the last quarter of 2015.  He has $3.7 million in his campaign account.

These numbers well continue to rise, and both candidates will have plenty of money when it comes to getting their message out in what many are considering one of the most-competitive Governor's races in 2016.

It's still a long way to go until November, but Mike Pence continues to show he has little or no clue about how much trouble he is in.  While the polls continue to show Hoosiers have made up their minds on the issue of civil rights for LGBT Hoosiers, Pence drags his feet.  At this point, either answer for Pence will seem politically-contrived.

Indiana should be a slam dunk and easy victory for Pence, but his numbers show he's still vulnerable.  Gregg largely has not yet begun to fight relying on the Indiana Democratic Party to do a lot of the hitting for him.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Rev. Harrison Responds

It has long been my policy on this blog to allow response directly to anything I post here from anyone I post about.

On Sunday, I reported that The Englehart Group, supporters of Rev. Charles Harrison had sent a tweet saying that the Reverend had not been invited directly by the Hogsett Administration to the public swearing-in ceremony on January 1.

Tonight, the Reverend responded strongly and directly to me on Twitter.


Hogsett Hits Ground Running in First Weekend

Joe Hogsett's first weekend in office was a busy one.
Hogsett At Mt. Zion
Apostolic Church

On Friday, Hogsett took the Oath of Office in a public, bi-partisan swearing-in ceremony.  In his speech, Hogsett stressed the themes of his One City transition: unity and bi-partisanship.  Hogsett clearly believes working together to solve our city's problems is better than working apart and trying to claim political wins over the other side.

Saturday, after meeting with a variety of agencies, Hogsett held a news conference setting the agenda for his first few weeks in office from a crime-fighting standpoint.  Working with federal, state, and local agencies, Hogsett said he was targeting 1,400 criminals with open warrants in 100 days.  He also said that more beat officers would hit the streets in high-crime areas and that IMPD would be meeting monthly with the community to address concerns.

Also, Hogsett was spotted on Saturday cheering on Richard Propes in his fundraiser for the Legacy House.  Propes, a longtime advocate against child abuse, did 122 laps around Monument Circle in memory of 122 young victims of violence.  

Hogsett ended his day at the Pacers game as the city's NBA franchise defeated the Detroit Pistons.  He did a special interview available at Pacers.com.

On Sunday, Mayor Hogsett went to church appearing at congregations across the City of Indianapolis.  

It's the kind of energy you'd expect from Hogsett who, on the campaign trail, crisscrossed Indianapolis tirelessly.  It's a departure from his predecessor who, at times, would disappear from the scene for days at a time.  

Hogsett will be visible, accessible, approachable, and available.  

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Harrison Supporters Saying Harrison Not Invited to Public Swearing-In All Were Invited To Attend

Supporters of Reverend Charles Harrison are attacking the Joe Hogsett Administration for not inviting Harrison to the public swearing-in ceremony that anyone who wanted to come was invited to on Friday.


A couple of things here.  First of all, the State of the State is a different animal, and secondly, the Hogsett Transition Team held a public news conference and announcement last month inviting everyone to the bi-partisan swearing-in ceremony on January 1.

It's hard to say that Reverend Harrison wasn't invited when everyone in Indianapolis and beyond was invited.  Later, the Englehart Group stated that Harrison did not receive a personal invitation as other local pastors and clergy did.  I can't speak to that, but I know for a fact that he was still invited because everyone was invited.

Harrison, as you might remember, considered running for Mayor of Indianapolis and is one of the guiding forces of the Ten Point Coalition.  A "Run Rev Run" movement gathered signatures on his behalf for an independent run for Mayor.  Despite having what seemed like enough signatures, Harrison decided not to run.

Reverend Harrison is a good man, and I admire his work.  His political supporters, however, sometimes do him no favors.

UPDATE TO THIS STORY:
http://indydemocrat.blogspot.com/2016/01/rev-harrison-responds.html

Friday, January 1, 2016

Hogsett Takes Control

Stephanie and Joe Hogsett
There are so many cliches one can use to signify the beginning of a new Mayor's term in Indianapolis, and I'm sure you'll see them all.

It's a clean slate.  It's a new day.  The hour of change is here.

However you say it, there is some truth to these things.  The possibility of something new and great always exists when change happens.  Change certainly has happened on the 25th Floor of the City-County Building, and we'll see what happens from here.

In many ways, an observer can see that Joe Hogsett has learned from his predecessor's weaknesses.  We've already seen Hogsett reach out across the aisle in meaningful fashion to the Republicans in City-County government.  He knows that with a Democratic caucus that can sometimes eat its own on the City-County Council that he's going to need Republicans to get things done for the city.  Hogsett also, I think, understands that the best ideas in City-County government don't necessarily have Democrat or Republican on them.  For Indianapolis to move forward and improve, we're going to need everyone pulling the sled and doing the work.

Still, those questions remain about an uncertain future of this city.  In a campaign run and won on issues such as reducing crime, can Mayor Hogsett really make a difference?

What can't happen is wasting this moment for change.  The idea that we had a moment, but we squandered it.  The notion that Joe Hogsett represented something different, but he ended up being just the same.  These are the things he will have to fight against.

Another cliche comes out to be the truth.  It's now time to govern, and the time is ticking on the honeymoon period already.  The campaign is over, and the Hogsett Campaign in large part now becomes the Hogsett Administration.

In less than the next four years, Indy will expect results, so here we go.