The Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana Board of Directors respectfully requests that members of the Indiana Senate oppose House Joint Resolution 3.
YLNI is opposed to HJR 3 because it is inconsistent with YLNI’s mission to attract, develop and retain emerging leaders. HJR 3 sends the message to young talent that Indiana is not welcoming to all people. It also sends a message that the legislature would rather spend time and resources furthering duplicative and divisive legislation, instead of working on issues that are actually important to young leaders.
YLNI has polled its members and demographic and found that they prioritized early childhood education, promoting entrepreneurship and downtown revitalization. YLNI’s members and demographic are focused on the future. YLNI’s decision to oppose HJR 3 was not about individual views of the issue of gay marriage. Instead, it was focused on how this legislation affects YLNI’s mission and the greater community and how there are more important issues for the legislature to consider.
YLNI has worked for nearly 10 years to further its missions of attraction and retention by working to increase attachment of our residents. The passage of HJR 3 will erode the gains that have been made. YLNI has utilized the findings of the Knight Foundation’s Soul of the Community study to improve attachment through the three areas that most relate to attachment: social offerings, openness and aesthetics. We have especially focused on openness, one of the key drivers of community attachment, because the Fort Wayne MSA is perceived as a community that is not open or welcoming to young talent, gays, lesbians or minorities.
We have focused on attachment because it is important for the retention of talent, and because it is important for the economic well-being of the region. An analysis of several communities studied by the Knight Foundation showed a strong correlation between community attachment and the growth of GDP. From this analysis, we can easily conclude that the passage of HJR 3 will be a great setback to YLNI’s work toward increased openness. And it will be a tremendous threat to GDP growth in northeast Indiana and throughout our great state for years to come.
Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana strongly encourages each legislator to consider the message that passing HJR 3 would send to the next generation. Instead, we ask that the legislature focus on initiatives that will move the northeast Indiana region and our state forward. YLNI requests that the legislature oppose HJR 3.