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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, February 11, 2018 1:00 am

Banks would like military parade here

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks has floated northeast Indiana as a possible site for President Donald Trump's military parade.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday the nation's highest-ranking military officials are taking seriously Trump's stated desire for a military parade similar to the Bastille Day celebration he watched last July in Paris.

Banks, R-3rd, wrote Thursday on his personal Twitter account, “Not sure how we pay for it but Northeast Indiana would be a great location for a military parade ...”

“You could donate your salary for starters,” Craig Skinner, one follower, tweeted in response. 

A military parade in Washington to celebrate the U.S. victory in the 1991 Persian Gulf war cost a reported $8 million.

Banks, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and an officer in the Navy Reserve, has repeatedly stated that beefing up the military is one of his priorities. Political Notebook asked him why northeast Indiana would be suitable for a military parade.

“Northeast Indiana has a deep appreciation and pride for our veterans, and annual Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies are well-attended across the Third District,” Banks said in an email. “And many, many Hoosiers from all across Indiana have answered the call and recently served in Iraq or Afghanistan. For all those reasons, it would make sense to do such a parade here in America's heartland. I imagine the folks in South Whitley or Portland or Auburn or elsewhere in the district would love it ... ”

Analysts see Senate toss-up

Indiana's U.S. Senate race remains a toss-up, according to three national election analysts.

In ratings released this month, Cook Political Report, Inside Elections and Sabato's Crystal Ball agree on four states where either political party has a good chance to win a Senate seat this year: Indiana, Missouri, Arizona and Nevada.

Cook and Inside Elections pegged West Virginia as a toss-up. Minnesota, Tennessee, Florida and North Dakota were rated as toss-ups by one of the three analysts.

In Indiana, Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly will face the winner of a Republican primary election in which the candidates will be U.S. Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita and former state lawmaker Mike Braun.

Meanwhile, Cook has softened its ratings for 21 Republican seats in the U.S. House, including north-central Indiana's 2nd Congressional District, where Rep. Jackie Walorski is the incumbent. The 2nd District has gone from “solid” Republican to “likely” Republican in Cook's ratings.

But Inside Politics calls the 2nd District “solid” Republican, and Sabato's Crystal Ball calls it “safe” Republican.

Foster parents get day at Statehouse

Senate leaders will be joined by Gov. Eric Holcomb and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch to host Foster Parent Appreciation Day on Monday at the Indiana Statehouse. 

Local Sens. David Long, R-Fort Wayne; Travis Holdman, R-Markle, and Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, also will participate

One foster family from each Senate district has been invited to come to the Statehouse for Foster Parent Appreciation Day to be recognized for their service to the children of Indiana. The group will be addressed by Holcomb, Crouch, Long and Lanane. Foster parents are in dire need as the state's caseload of abused and neglected children has skyrocketed. 

Didier steps on colleague's toes

One Fort Wayne City Council member was left red in the face Tuesday after mixing up who was handling bills from the board's Public Works Committee. 

As chair of the Public Works Committee, Councilman Michael Barranda, R-at large, opened discussion on a resolution approving a construction contract for work in the Pine Valley/Windrift area. But Barranda never got a chance to close that discussion. Unexpectedly, Councilman Tom Didier, R-3rd, jumped in and closed out the discussion. Didier, who chairs the City Council's Regulations Committee this year, blushed deeply after realizing his mistake. 

“I'm in rare form tonight, aren't I,” Didier said, as he and his fellow councilmen laughed. “This is going to be in (Sunday's Political Notebook).”

He was right. 

Dave Gong of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.