Archive for Kevin Rader’s Statehouse Blog
As the golf cart motored by the cottage in Sun Lakes, Arizona, you could hear the exchange over the hum of the battery powered cart.
“I just like Butler. They seem to never quit.”
I thought this vacation to the sunny southwest would regenerate my battery after five weeks of watching and listening as politicians blamed each other for the lack of activity at the Indiana Statehouse. But for the second year in a row my plans were thwarted.
A year ago I didn’t even want to go the beach in Florida because I was missing out. While I was supposed to be sunning myself everyone back home in Indiana was basking in the sunlight of Butler’s improbable run and I was missing out. How was I supposed to know that Spring Break meant Butler Basketball?
You would think I would have learned my lesson. Now one year later I am visiting with my in-laws, sitting along the 7th hole, experiencing a strange deja vu. It is not the first time an underdog has captured the imagination of the country.
During another recession, in fact an actual depression, a small horse with a big heart ran the race for the common man. There is a great line in the movie Sea Biscuit where the trainer tells the jockey to slack off coming around the second turn to let the horse look into the eyes of its competition. Then hold on. For some reason that I was I think of when I watch Butler.
There wasn’t supposed to be a thoroughbred in the bunch except for Shelvin Mack, but he didn’t start that way. He willed himself that way. Matt Howard carries the hopes of the town of Connersville, Indiana and every other small town in America – where people know and like their mailman enough to make sure he has the ability to take his family to watch his son deliver.
You feel good about yourself when you see the shot of the Howard family watching the game. Hard work makes good. Family makes right. Matt Howard is the one I think of most when I remember that line from the movie Sea Biscuit. Just slack off a bit and let him look in the eyes of his competition. Then hang on. We are all hanging on.
From the world of politics, from the golf courses across America, to a lot of folks going out to pick up their mail. All rooting for a team of unlikely basketball players who haven’t realized they are not supposed to be able to do this. Certainly not two years in a row. They may not win Monday night either, but for a lot of their fans it is not always about surviving. Monday night it will be about thriving again.
Looking into the eyes of that thoroughbred next to you and then taking off. What does that popular television commercial say? It’s just my way of sticking it to the man. I can’t wait until Tuesday morning. I can almost hear it now. Just over the hum of the passing golf cart, or on the mail route in Connersville. “I knew they could do it” someone will say in a tone that belies what that really implies. I can do it too. Just let me at ‘em.
Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN02) visited Indianapolis Monday to talk about the future of manufacturing in Indiana. Speculation has him coming here for another reason.
Donnelly held a manufacturing summit at Ivy Tech in Indianapolis. Cummins, Chrysler, Brevini Wind USA are just some of the participants. Donnelly says he wants to take back any information gathered Monday to his district. But he admits he is in the middle of a job decision himself.
“I love the job I have but folks have asked me to take a look at governor or senator and I am doing that,” said Donnelly. Donnelly said the factors in his decision will include questions like “How can I help the people of the district I represent the best, and how can I help the state the best? So that is the decision-making process I am going through.”
Donnelly said he expects to make a decision within the next month.
Donnelly could be considering a run for Senate. Former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg has said he’s giving “serious thought” to running for governor next year.
Indianapolis – Indiana House Democrats are making national headlines this week as they take a leaf out of the Wisconsin Democrats’ playbook by fleeing their home state. The lawmakers are unhappy over what they call a “radical” agenda being forced by their Republican colleagues. At issue is legislation affecting labor unions and education, among several bills.
Gov. Mitch Daniels told reporters Tuesday that he had no intention of using Indiana State Police troopers to haul the wayward lawmakers back to the Statehouse to force a quorum. But the Democrats remain at a hotel in Urbana, Illinois as of Wednesday. They say they are caucusing.
The Indiana Democratic Party is paying for the trip, including the hotel and meals, although the lawmakers are still receiving their per diem and salary while they’re out of state, something that has irked their Republican colleagues as well as taxpayers. House Speaker Brian Bosma says he’s considering fines, censure, or suspending the per diem to compel their return.
While a number of bills fell by the wayside Tuesday night, I’ve said time and again there’s no such thing as a bill being dead. We’re at the halfway point of the 2011 legislative session. If labor legislation and other bills “die,” they could still be amended in the second half of the session.
In 2001, Republicans were in the minority. They were unhappy with what the majority Democrats were doing, and the Republicans walked out for two and a half days. They returned on April 29th, the last day of that legislative session, and finally got business done. Both parties have pulled this stunt over the years.
Bosma had stern words for union workers who were protesting loudly Wednesday morning. While those who were inside the chamber were respectful during the Pledge of Allegiance, there were some loud boos at one point. Bosma told them he welcomed their participation but said he wouldn’t tolerate any outbursts from the gallery. When Bosma gaveled out he said the protesters wouldn’t be allowed back into the chamber for the afternoon session. Outside the chamber, the atmosphere was boisterous – there was even a live band playing.
During our noon live shot Wednesday, we did a quick poll asking the union workers where they were from. Many said Indianapolis, but we also heard Peru, South Bend and Anderson, just to name a few of the towns and cities represented.
Strange day at the Indiana Statehouse. While hundreds of union members showed up Tuesday at the Statehouse, Democrats did not.
Two Democrats were in the chamber to announce that the minority was caucusing somewhere outside the Statehouse. When questioned about whether they would be returning Monday to conduct business, the answer was vague.
At noon, House Speaker Brian Bosma read out the roll call of representatives who were not present.
“I think this is a walkout. I can’t recall a time when we’ve come in to take attendance in the morning and the minority party has not even shown up for that,” said Bosma (R-Indianapolis).
“I am not going to tell you where they are but I can assure you that all the Democrats are working very hard. There are 27 bills and one bill alone had 44 amendments. We are reviewing those very carefully. What we are trying to do is figure out a way to save the state from this radical agenda that has been forced upon us and actually we’ve been given no chance to shape or amend,” said Rep. Terri Austin (D-Madison County).
On Monday, thousands of union workers rallied against a bill that would prohibit union membership and fees from being a condition of employment.
Some WTHR viewers have pointed out a connection between the wife of Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett and the Indiana Public Charter Schools Association.
When asked if she were employed by the organization, Bennett responded, “No, she’s not. My wife served as a consultant for the Indiana Public Charter Schools Association. She separated herself from her contract as a consultant a week ago last Thursday.”
Bennett went on to say, “I wonder how many of our organizations who feel that that’s a valid attack would also attack the members of our General Assembly – who, by the way, vote on legislation and I don’t – who are employed by our state’s higher ed institutions, who receive money from the General Assembly, or who are public school teachers whose corporations receive money, have they accused them of engaging in some type of conflict of interest?”
Watch our complete interview here (this question is addressed in the final minute of the interview.)
Gov. Mitch Daniels’ speech before C-PAC Friday night is raising eyebrows and questions.
Can a Republican win the nomination for president by campaigning down the middle? Normally Republicans lean to the right in the primary fight and Democrats to the left. That leaves the middle as the battle ground in the general election.
However, the Indiana governor didn’t use his opportunity before C-PAC to pander. There was some controversy over the group even giving Daniels the mike at all. Some said they would boycott because of his recommended truce on social issues.
Daniels did not back away, telling his conservative audience that “purity in martyrdom is for suicide bombers.” Then he added, “I for one have no interest in standing in the wreckage of our Republic saying I told you so or you should’ve done it my way.” Instead he preached about the need to broaden the party’s base. Earlier in the week in the Indiana Statehouse he had praised President Ronald Reagan for doing that very thing. Now he is asking his party to remember where it came from.
Could it be that the governor realizes the religious right in his party has already lined up behind Sarah Palin or does he believe his party can’t defeat an incumbent with that narrow of a focus? Palin is preaching exclusion – us against them; a campaign of division.
Daniels, remembering Reagan, is calling for a party of addition. He quoted John Adams’ diary entry while en route to Philadelphia when he wrote “great things are wanted to be done.” That may turn into his rallying cry but watching all this unfold I can’t help but think of another entry Adams made when writing to his wife Abigail back in Massachusetts. He penned “but it is my destiny to dig treasures with my own fingers.”
Now it will be interesting to see who is willing to get their hands dirty along with him.
Gov. Mitch Daniels will step into the spotlight Friday night. The governor is planning a speech before a conservative group in Washington, DC. The governor will be introduced by conservative columnist George Will.
The only thing we know for sure about Friday’s speech is that he will not be announcing his candidacy.
I think we will hear him defend his controversial stand of asking Republicans to call a truce on social issues until the economic issues confronting the country are resolved. He has taken some heat on this from the right in the GOP. Now he gets the opportunity to defend himself against that criticism and outline the agenda as he sees it for the country.
At CPAC Thursday, 11,000 people turned out to hear Donald Trump, among others. While the governor may not have that star power, his attraction here is on-the-job experience. He’s been successful in the business world, has balanced budgets in government, has worked for two presidents including Ronald Reagan, which carries a lot of weight, and timing is everything.
If I know Gov. Daniels, he will not miss an opportunity to talk a little bit about events in Egypt and America’s role in this and the world. I will be watching it and have the details tonight at 11:00 pm.
Tuesday is the day we get a real understanding of the line drawn between Republicans who are pushing for education reform and the teachers’ union. The late afternoon rally promises to be like that of right to work rallies at the Statehouse. Turnout could be huge. We’ll have a preview story at Noon on Eyewitness News and coverage at 5:00 and 6:00 pm.