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Ivy Tech's political reach

No public institution has stronger ties to the Indiana Statehouse than Ivy Tech Community College, whose employees include House Minority Leader Pat Bauer, former House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Crawford, Rep. Craig Fry and Rep. Mike Karickhoff. Former Senate President Pro Tem Robert Garton is a former vice president.

Combined, they represent clout in the General Assembly that eclipses that of Indiana University or Purdue, who each have plenty of lawmaker-alumnae, but far fewer lawmaker-employees.

Now, it appears that Ivy Tech's influence could extend to the U.S. Capitol. Susan Brooks, the community college's vice president and general counsel, is seeking to unseat U.S. Rep. Dan Burton in the GOP primary next year. John Hatter, an administrator at Ivy Tech's Columbus campus, is seeking the Republican nomination for the 6th District seat now held by Rep. Mike Pence, a candidate for governor.

Must be something in the drinking fountains.

Karen Francisco, editorial page editor for The Journal Gazette, has been an Indiana journalist since 1981. She writes frequently about education for The Journal Gazette opinion pages and here, where she looks at the business, politics and science of learning as it relates to northeast Indiana, the state and the nation. She can be reached at 260-461-8206 or by e-mail at