It didnt take mayoral nominee Paula Hughes long to run afoul of one of her fellow Republicans.
County Councilman Roy Buskirk, R-at large, took issue with a statement from the Hughes campaign seeming to take credit for the ongoing effort to streamline the local government permit process.
Focusing on the difficulty of doing business in Fort Wayne is nothing new to Paula Hughes. In fact, she outlined her plans for improving the citys routing and permitting process in March of 2010. This announcement led to the formation of the current task force that made last weeks recommendations, the release stated.
Buskirk, who worked alongside Hughes for years on the County Council, retorted, Thats a bunch of bull.
Buskirk said he formed the committee after the vote to locate most permitting departments in Citizens Square to make sure the process was as easy as possible for developers.
Sean Bartley, Hughes campaign manager, stands by the statement if only by parsing the definition of led to as much as possible – eliminating its typical causal meaning. He said the statement was simply listing the timing of events.
Its true she outlined her plans, then after that the task force was created, he said. I stand by that. I think it is a fair statement.
Of course the integrity of the release is further called into question when it touts Hughes as the highest Republican mayoral vote-getter in Fort Wayne history.
A previous release stated, I received 9,245 votes, the most votes of any Republican mayoral nominee in Fort Wayne history.
The only problem is Republican Linda Buskirk received 9,540 votes in 1999, just 12 years ago. Bartley said the mistake was an honest one. He simply didnt think it was possible for Hughes total to have been topped because of the 2006 annexation of much of Aboite Township.
I didnt think there were enough people who lived in the city, he said.
A number of area lawmakers last week touted their 100 percent voting records during the 2011 legislative session.
Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, Sen. Tom Wyss, R-Fort Wayne, and Rep. David Yarde, R-Garrett, all reached the milestone.
To be clear, reaching 100 percent doesnt mean legislators voted on everything they could. Any vote taken when a lawmaker was on an excused absence isnt included in the calculation.
So for instance, Wyss – who often travels for homeland security conferences – cast 454 of his 454 eligible votes. That gives him 100 percent of eligible votes, but only 85 percent of the 535 total possible votes.
Essentially, the statistic tracks how well legislators stay in their seats during session – avoiding trips to the restroom, chatting in the hall with lobbyists, doing media interviews or meeting constituents.
Virtually all legislators record in the 99 percentile range for eligible votes. A few exceptions this year were Rep. David Wolkins, R-Winona Lake, and Rep. Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale.
Wolkins voted 92.2 percent of the time – possibly because he is often out of his chair sneaking food from the House Democrats smorgasbord.
And Espich voted 98.7 percent of the time – probably because at the end of session he was often off the floor negotiating a final budget.
Here is how other northeast Indiana legislators fared:
Sen. David Long, R-Fort Wayne – 99.6 percent.
Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle – 99.6 percent.
Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn – 99.8 percent.
Rep. Phyllis Pond, R-New Haven – 99.2 percent.
Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, R-Syracuse – 99.5 percent.
Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne – 99.5 percent
Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne – 99.8 percent.
Rep. Kathy Heuer, R-Columbia City – 99.3 percent.
Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington – 99.6 percent.
Rep. Dick Dodge, R-Pleasant Lake – 98.3 percent.
Democrats in the chamber did not calculate their record – perhaps because five weeks of unexcused absences during a walkout doesnt bode well for the math.
Times have changed
Its been awhile since Democrat John Gregg was on the political scene.
That became apparent during his gubernatorial announcement last week when he sat down at a table filled with reporters in front of eight or nine tiny voice recorders.
These things werent prevalent when I left, said Gregg, a former House speaker. In 10 years, its amazing.
For instance, there was no tweeting back then, which campaign handlers have told him he will have to learn.
Even email back in 2002 was relatively new.
The last year in the House we started getting email. I can remember getting one and literally running up and down the hall outside the speakers office saying look I got an email.
Drawing a crowd
Gregg also made his way to the Summit City last week, participating in Henrypalooza, a concert fundraiser Friday night for Mayor Tom Henry at Headwaters Park.
Gregg and Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, were scheduled to headline the event along with the mayor, providing some pretty heavy Democratic clout for a May event. Donnelly has announced he plans to run for U.S. Senate in 2012.
The mayor charged $20 for advance tickets to the event, which was open to all ages.