Political Notebook

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Lugar aide Mark Helmke joins Trine faculty

Trine University has announced that Fort Wayne native Mark Helmke, a longtime aide to Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., will join the Angola school as a communication instructor.

Helmke has worked on and off with Lugar since 1981, including as a press secretary and as communications director for Lugar's presidential campaign in 1995-96.

Helmke has spent the last nine years working with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which Lugar has chaired and is currently its highest-ranking Republican.

Lugar, a senator since 1977, lost the May 8 Republican primary election to state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher said two other staff members have left the office. One joined a defense industry consulting firm, and the other went to work for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in Virginia.

Helmke also has been a business and political communications consultant and is a former political reporter for the News-Sentinel.

"He has been consistently recognized for achievements in the communication field – as a reporter, as a political strategist and as a citizen. Undoubtedly, he will make a tremendous impact on our students," Scott Fergusson, dean of Trine's business school, said in a statement.

Helmke's brother, Paul, was a three-term Republican mayor of Fort Wayne. Their father, Walter P., is a former state senator and former Allen County prosecutor. His father, Walter E., was a county prosecutor, city attorney and local GOP chairman; the IPFW library is named after him.

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