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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, March 10, 2019 1:00 am

Holcomb gets audience with Trump

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Gov. Eric Holcomb visited President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday before jetting off to Europe on a trade mission.

The governor was in D.C. to attend the first meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.

“Strengthening our workforce is one of the most important things we've undertaken. In Indiana, we are meeting today's workforce needs while also preparing for tomorrow's economy,” Holcomb said. “It takes an all-in approach, and I'm excited to work with the president's administration and other leaders from around the country to ensure every Hoosier has access to the education and training they need to find fulfilling careers.”

Trump established the advisory board last year. It is led by Ivanka Trump, his daughter and adviser, and Wilbur Ross, the secretary of commerce.

Holcomb is one of more than two dozen people on the board. During his tenure, the governor has focused on trying to realign Indiana's workforce development and job training systems to help employers find more skilled employees.

Trump's board will be asked to help develop a national campaign to promote education and training, recommend ways to improve labor market data, increase private sector investments in job learning and better identify companies' needs in hiring.

Banks talks budget at White House

Also meeting with Trump last week at the White House was a small group of U.S. House Republicans including Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd.

Banks is chairman of the Republican Study Committee Budget and Spending Task Force, which will recommend a fiscal 2020 spending plan to the Democratic House.

“Today, I told President Trump of my commitment to work with him to help rein in government spending and put forward a conservative budget. As the Chairman of the RSC Budget and Spending Task Force, I had the opportunity to thank the President for his fiscally conservative leadership and look forward to working with his Administration to do right by the American taxpayer,” Banks said Tuesday in a statement.

Banks said the Republican Study Committee, a caucus of 140 conservative GOP House members, will propose a balanced budget. The same day, the Treasury Department announced that the federal budget deficit grew to $310 billion during the first quarter of fiscal 2019, a 77 percent jump from the same period a year earlier.

Banks' office said he was joined at the White House meeting by Republican Study Committee Chairman Mike Johnson, R-La., and other chairs of committee task forces.

County GOP big spenders

The Allen County Republican Party raised and spent three times as much money as county Democrats last year, according to the parties' annual campaign finance reports.

Republicans raised more than $225,000 in 2018 and spent more than $173,000. They ended the year with nearly $52,000 in cash on hand.

Democrats raised almost $74,000 and spent about $53,000, ending the year with nearly $21,000 in cash.

Republicans won 21 county and state legislative seats in the Nov. 6 general election. Democrats won a state legislative seat and a County Council seat. Republican candidates seeking four statewide offices, including a U.S. Senate seat, carried Allen County in the election, as did the GOP candidate for northeast Indiana's congressional seat.

Republican Party Chairman Steve Shine said in an email that 2018 “was a phenomenal year,” and that fundraising easily topped the party's previous best financial showing, in 2016.

City Councilman John Crawford, who this spring seeks the Republican nomination for mayor of Fort Wayne, donated $12,350 to the party last year. Other large contributors included the campaign of County Prosecutor Karen Richards, which gave the party $10,325, and County Commissioner Therese Brown, who gave about $9,900.

The Libertarian Party of Allen County raised $636 and spent $85 in 2018, ending the year with $551 in cash, according to the report the party filed with the Indiana secretary of state's office.

Mayoral candidate launches website

In celebration of International Women's Day, Fort Wayne mayoral candidate Gina Burgess, a Democrat, has launched her campaign website.

The site, www.voteginaburgess.com, features an extensive biography and identifies a list of issues facing residents, city workers and businesses. Burgess can be reached via email at Vote GinaBurgess@gmail.com or by phone at 260-739-0825.

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 be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.