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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, October 29, 2017 1:00 am

Brown impressed by visit to White House

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne Republican Sen. Liz Brown was among 70 Indiana lawmakers and county commissioners to visit the White House last week.

It was part of a renewed effort by President Donald Trump's administration to develop and promote relationships with influential leaders of local communities.

The group met in the Indian Treaty Room, and Vice President Mike Pence popped in along with presenters from various agencies and Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to Trump.

“They were very sincere, and I was impressed,” Brown said. “They were very, very gracious.”

Brown said the trip was a bit last minute and there were more county commissioners present than legislators. But she appreciated meeting with staff from key federal agencies and getting cellphone numbers and email addresses for constituent concerns or help drafting legislation.

Items that were discussed included tax reform, infrastructure, agriculture and health care.

Brown said Conway also gave them a sneak peek at Trump's declaration of opioids as a public health emergency.

Hill goes on Fox

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill has recently been on the Fox News show “Fox & Friends” not once, but twice, to talk about his stance on NFL player protests during the playing of the national anthem before games.

His visits came after he penned an opinion piece saying he stands for the anthem but believes in the players' right to protest.

The protests are focused on police brutality against unarmed black men.

But Hill – a black former prosecutor – also suggested the players should focus on the larger issue of black-on-black crime

“In terms of protesting the issue of black lives lost,” Hill said, “one of the most dramatically difficult things to fathom in this country is the amount of lives lost – black lives lost – as a result of black-on-black violence.

“In the same year that we experienced about 259 police officer shootings of blacks in 2015, there were 6,000 black lives lost to murders from black people,” he said.

Burmese forums

A community forum with some of Fort Wayne's neighborhood associations and the city's Burmese community is planned for this week, City Councilman Glynn Hines, D-6th, said during last week's City Council meeting.

“There's been some concerns and questions about the Burmese population in parts of our city, particularly in the 6th (District) and if they're getting some kind of training about how to live in an American style, to say it kindly,” Hines said. “And we want to have an open discussion.”

Earlier this year, several residents complained to the City Council about the state of homes owned by some of Fort Wayne's Burmese community, including the colors that some of the houses had been painted. 

The meeting, which will be chaired by Hines and Councilman Tom Freistroffer, will be at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the City Council chambers in the basement of Citizens Square. Along with the neighborhood associations, representatives will be available from Catholic Social Services and Neighborhood Code Enforcement.

Journal Gazette reporter Dave Gong contributed to this report.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at or Niki Kelly at An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at