Political Notebook

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Right to Life not picky in mayor’s race

Republican voters hoping to base their Fort Wayne mayoral selection on which candidate is most strongly pro-life are out of luck.

The Allen County Right to Life political committee last week announced its endorsements for all city races, yet they weren’t exclusive. Eric Doden, Paula Hughes and Liz Brown all received the group’s nod, giving voters no clear choice on which one the committee favored.

Long-shot candidates Fred Osheskie and Terrence Walker were not endorsed.

While such an endorsement might seem unimpressive, that did not stop all three major GOP candidates from trumpeting it in news releases.

Hughes was the first, stating, “I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Allen County Right to Life PAC. To receive the seal of approval from Fort Wayne’s premier pro-life, pro-family organization is truly humbling. As the only proven conservative leader in the race for mayor, I look forward to taking Fort Wayne family values to City Hall.”

Brown followed with a release stating in part, “This endorsement is indicative of the fact that Liz Brown has a proven record of social conservatism. In 2008 and 2009, Liz spoke out against the Mayor’s plan to bring a casino to Fort Wayne, as well as the lobbyists he hired to bring it here. In 2010, Liz voted against a Transgender Ordinance brought before the City Council.”

Doden finally offered a full news release that included: “My pro-life, pro-family values have guided me in everything I do, and that will be no different if elected. This endorsement is something that brings with it great responsibility, and if elected mayor, I’ll make sure my administration reflects my conservative values to help make our city great once again.”

Interestingly, the group did not endorse some Republicans, including John Crawford, an at-large City Council candidate; Russ Jehl, a 2nd District council candidate; and Ben Hall, a 5th District candidate.

Michael Latham, who is running in the 6th District, was the lone Fort Wayne Democrat to receive the group’s blessing.

Kruse controls his committee

Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, has ruled the Senate Education Committee with an iron gavel this year.

At least once a meeting, Kruse gavels someone down for talking out of turn. He slams the wood hard on the desk – sometimes waking up the crowd – and admonishes people from the audience that they are not allowed to talk unless given permission.

Even if they are asked a question.

He is sometimes testy but always fair.

For instance, Kruse showed no deference to House Speaker Brian Bosma this year – gaveling down his fellow Republican during a charter school hearing. And he keeps track of each side’s time to speak on issues so no one is shortchanged.

In addition, people who attend the committee always understand the procedure. He calls the bills in order that they are listed and keeps his members up-to-date about the schedule.

Despite Kruse’s iron-fisted rule, he also always has a smile for nervous presenters.

State’s first lady to be GOP keynoter

During Gov. Mitch Daniels’ first term, first lady Cheri Daniels was rarely seen at public events, and she didn’t campaign with her husband for the second term.

Since then, she has been more visible – including her involvement with the state fair as a spokeswoman and cow-milking champion; her work against heart disease in women; and her good fitness example.

Now she is stepping up again. Last week, she threw out the first pitch at the Indianapolis Indians home opener, and she is now getting ready to give her first major speech. She will keynote the annual Indiana Republican Party Spring Dinner on May 12.

“We are delighted to have Cheri Daniels address our annual dinner,” State GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb said. “Hoosier Republicans will have an opportunity to hear firsthand what it’s like to be first lady of our great state as Mrs. Daniels shares stories and observations from the road.”

The speech also has speculation running wild that she is prepping for an active role in a presidential campaign.

Crunch time arrives for legislature

Both the House and Senate moved the deadline to act on bills from the opposite chamber to April 21.

That leaves just eight days for conference committee work – and lawmakers won’t be working Easter weekend.

Conference committee time is when key lawmakers from the House and Senate work out compromises on legislation.

Some bills that will come down to the wire include the state budget, redistricting maps, various measures pushing education overhaul, criminal-sentencing changes and a crackdown on illegal immigration.

The session adjourns April 29.

More voter forums set for this month

Voters will have the chance to hear local candidates at several forums and debates this month.

•The Northside Neighborhood Association will host an event at North Side High School at 6 p.m. Monday. Voters will have a half-hour to visit with candidates and then uncontested candidates will be allowed to speak briefly before candidates in contested primaries will answer questions.

•Residents in Fort Wayne’s 5th District will have a forum at 7 p.m. April 27 at Eicher Commons at the Taylor University campus. Candidates for the district seat will answer questions submitted by voters. To submit a question, send an email to fifthdistrictforum@yahoo.com.

•The Allen County Republican Party will have a mayoral forum from 7 to 8:30 p.m. April 20 in the Magee O’Connor Theater at Indiana Tech’s Andorfer Commons. Pat Miller of radio station WOWO-AM 1190 will be the moderator, and a panel of local journalists will ask questions of the candidates.

To reach Political Notebook by email, 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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