Political Notebook

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    Gov. Mike Pence had an intriguing visitor to his Statehouse office Tuesday - former Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett.
  • Right to Life PAC endorses 6 area GOP candidates
    The Indiana Right to Life Political Action Committee has endorsed six area Republicans seeking Statehouse office.
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Hughes downplays fellow speaker at rally

– An anti-abortion rally in Fort Wayne last week veered sharply off topic, despite the presence of several elected officials.

The Susan B. Anthony List’s Votes Have Consequences Bus Tour stopped at the Courthouse Green in an effort to garner support against legislators who supported the national health care bill, which the group alleges will increase access to abortions.

One of the speakers felt there was a lot more wrong with this country.

“We need to throw out the bums of abortion, secular humanism, evolution and the liberal agendas that are aborting our identity as Americans,” said Sharon Kuhn, a founding member of the local Liberty Coalition.

The group’s mission, according to its website, is “to unite patriot groups seeking to secure the blessing of liberty for ourselves and our children through events, education and campaign efforts that seek to preserve our Constitution.”

Kuhn further said that it’s important for people to take their religion back into the public arena and schools.

County Councilwoman Paula Hughes, R-2nd, was one of a few elected officials who also spoke at the event. Hughes, who is running for mayor next year, said Tuesday she was not familiar yet with the group and had no idea who else was scheduled to speak at the event. She said she helped get permission to have the event on the Courthouse Green and for the bus to park next to it, but that was all.

“I only knew what I was going to say,” Hughes said, noting she shouldn’t be held accountable for what others say at events.

Meaning, do as I say, not as the next person on the same stage says.

Other officials who spoke at the event included City Council members Liz Brown, R-at large, and Tom Didier, R-3rd.

K2 voices have sway

A rarely seen political species was on display at the New Haven City Council meeting last week: young voters.

Mark McLendon, 21, and Rebecca Anzini, 19, spoke against the city’s proposed ban on marijuana substitutes including K2 and Spice. McLendon panned the ordinance, arguing that in a free society people should be able to consume whatever they choose and if not, alcohol should likewise be banned because it is more harmful.

Anzini agreed, and she urged the council to regulate the products, not ban them. She asked how the council could condemn a product the members knew nothing about and had never tried.

“This product isn’t sold to ruin society; it’s sold to make people happy,” she said

Meanwhile, many of the middle-aged and even older adults in the room sniggered and made rude comments about the young people’s comments, which clearly differed vastly from theirs.

Despite that cool reception from the audience, it appears the council agrees with some of their concerns. The council is expected to scale back the scope of the ordinance.

Timely tardiness

Gov. Mitch Daniels isn’t known for being routinely late to events, but he picked a good time to be tardy last week.

At the dedication of the widened Illinois Road in Aboite Township, Daniels showed up 15 minutes after the scheduled 10:30 a.m. start. At that time, heavy thunderstorms struck, drenching many of the people trying to crowd under two tents.

By the time the governor showed up, the rain had slowed to a trickle and completely died in time for him to cut the ribbon.

The governor even drew a chuckle when he said, “Let’s be quick before someone gets electrocuted,” which was immediately followed by a loud thunderclap.

Beating the heat

During one of the hottest weeks on record in recent years, word hit the Indiana Statehouse that the Indiana Department of Administration had decided to save some money by limiting the use of air conditioning.

E-mails floating among staffers showed the air would be turned off at 5:30 p.m. each day until 5:30 a.m. and over the weekend.

The next day a clarification from the administration noted that the air-conditioning system doesn’t exactly shut off. Instead, it slips into an “unoccupied” mode that lets it drift 3 to 5 degrees.

Giving to the gov

Gov. Mitch Daniels has three names in his hand from which to appoint the next Indiana Supreme Court justice.

But only one of them has donated to the governor’s election campaigns.

Karl Mulvaney, an Indianapolis appellate lawyer and former Supreme Court administrator, gave $4,750 to Daniels between 2003 and 2008, according to the state’s campaign finance database.

There is no record of donations for the other finalists – Boone County Circuit Judge Steven David and Marion Superior Court Judge Robyn Moberly.

Amanda Iacone of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by e-mail, contact Benjamin Lanka at blanka@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. To discuss this entry of Political Notebook or others, go to the Political Notebook topic of “The Board” at www.journalgazette.net.

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