Political Notebook


GOP mayoral hopefuls neighbors

Any primary battle can be tough on a political party. In Fort Wayne, Republican family fights for the mayoral nomination have been especially difficult in recent history.

But next year’s race between City Councilwoman Liz Brown and County Councilwoman Paula Hughes has a new twist: They are neighbors.

Not just live-in-the-same-neighborhood neighbors. They share a property line on Reed Road.

Hughes and Brown both downplayed the effect of living next to each other on the race, but both accepted the uniqueness of it.

“Clearly we’re not bosom buddies,” Hughes said. “(But) we’ve always had a very cordial relationship.”

Brown said the two have discussed their campaigns.

“We obviously feel we would do a good job,” she said.

Whether seeing each other on a regular basis in their personal lives will make life awkward during the campaign has yet to be seen. But it’s likely to be an interesting race to see who can garner neighborly support.

“I’ve already got that nailed,” Hughes said.

Businessman Eric Doden has created an exploratory committee to seek the GOP nomination as well. He does not live on Reed, but his home is in northeast Fort Wayne as well.

Brotherly love

If only U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, had waited a little bit longer to be a congressman – then the name of his sister’s new children’s book would be dead-on.

Stutzman – now a former state senator – came to Shipshewana on Saturday to celebrate the launch of the book, titled “My Brother, the Senator.”

Lynette Stutzman Carpenter’s website touts the book as one little sister’s lament about growing up with a senator and not even knowing it.

“You just never know who’s sleeping down the hall!” said a Facebook invitation about the book-signing event. “The book is a fun way to help kids dream big and to love and respect their siblings.”

Carpenter grew up on a dairy farm with her three brothers, including Stutzman, and she wrote the book as a birthday gift to him. She now lives with her husband and four children in Michigan.

If you are interested in buying the book, go to www.lynettecarpenter.blogspot.com/.

Bender return OKd

Fort Wayne City Council President Marty Bender’s quick return to the council table after being hospitalized was fine with Police Chief Rusty York, even though it technically broke the department’s sick-leave policy.

Police department policy does not allow officers to return to a part-time job before coming back to the force. Bender, a deputy police chief, returned to the council table before returning to his police duties after becoming ill in late October.

York said the issue was raised and discussed with the city attorney. He said they felt that because Bender’s part-time job as a councilman was a government position, it was fine for him to return to the council table.

“He was performing a service, in fact, as an elected official,” York said, noting Bender returned to vote on the 2011 budget.

The point of the policy is to keep officers from using sick time to earn money at second jobs, but York noted that Bender’s council position was salaried so he would be paid the same whether he was present or not. The chief also said exceptions are often made to the department’s leave policy for extenuating circumstances.

Recount vs. Colts

The Indiana Democratic Party took notice of the curious timing of a meeting of the Indiana Recount Commission set for today.

The commission will act on motions to dismiss contests in the House District 76 and secretary of state races.

But Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita set the meeting for a Sunday afternoon – about an hour before kickoff of a home Colts game. The hearing will be streamed online and open to the public.

“I thank Secretary Rokita for taking steps to ensure the hearing is open to the public and viewable through online streaming. However, the recount commission should represent the interests of the people above all else, and by holding this meeting at this time – an hour before the Indianapolis Colts game – the commission is doing a disservice to Hoosier voters,” Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker said.

“Any meetings relating to the Indiana Recount Commission need to be as open and transparent as possible, and the timing of this hearing raises serious concerns. I hope the commission will take steps to ensure that future hearings be held at a more convenient time.”

Todd Darroca, spokesman for Rokita, said having the hearing on a Sunday should show Hoosiers that government doesn’t stop on the weekends.

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