Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

Sunday, July 23, 2017 1:00 am

State conservatives plan August meet

BRIAN FRANCISCO and NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

Plans are being made for ICON, a Hoosier version of the Conservative Political Action Conference conducted yearly in the Washington, D.C., area by the American Conservative Union.

ICON stands for Indiana Conservative and is being organized by the Indiana Family Institute's Andrew Smith Family Prosperity Center.

“Our aim is to convene the brightest minds in politics and thought to come together to cast a vision for the conservative movement in Indiana,” Curt Smith, president of the Indiana Family Institute, wrote in a recent column for the Indianapolis Business Journal.

ICON will be at Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel at Keystone Crossing on Aug. 26. Co-sponsors are the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity and Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd.

“Congressman Banks is a long-time conservative leader in Indiana and was approached about playing a role in the ICON conference. The Congressman supports ICON's vision of bringing together conservatives from across the state,” Banks' press secretary, Anna Swick, said last week in an email.

Smith wrote that topics at the conference will include how to effectively oppose marijuana legalization, the possible role of community- and faith-based organizations in fighting opioid addiction and how conservatives can “maintain our distinctiveness” after the Republican-controlled General Assembly approved tax and fee increases in its 2017 session.

Invited guests include Vice President Mike Pence, seven Republican members of Congress and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.

Kenley tribute

Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, took time recently on the U.S. House floor to praise outgoing state Sen. Luke Kenley as “one of the most influential legislators in the history of the Indiana General Assembly.”

Banks served with Kenley, of Noblesville, in the state Senate from 2010 to 2016. Kenley has announced he will resign his seat Sept. 30 after 25 years in the chamber.

“Senator Kenley has established himself as a champion of fiscal responsibility and limited government,” Banks said.

He noted that Kenley helped craft five balanced budgets, cut taxes, invested in key priorities such as roads and built a substantial rainy day fund.

“Senator Kenley has been the architect of our state's remarkable fiscal turnaround and his impact on Hoosiers will be felt for generations to come,” said Banks, of Columbia City. “With the national debt approaching 20 trillion dollars I think it's fair to say we could use a lot more of Luke Kenley's style of leadership here in our nation's capitol.” 

Medicare for All rally 

The nationwide Millions Marching for Medicare for All planned for Monday will include a rally, march and film viewing in downtown Fort Wayne.

The demonstrations will advocate federal legislation that would create a single-payer health insurance system.

The rally is at 5 p.m. on the Allen County Courthouse Green in downtown Fort Wayne. Participants will march to the Allen County Public Library at 5:45 p.m. to watch the documentary “Sick Around the World” in Room C and discuss the Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act introduced by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. 

For information, contact Mary Pat Leonard at or 260-402-7271 or Edith Kenna at 260-432-8103.

Similar rallies are planned in Washington, D.C., and around the nation, including in Valparaiso, South Bend, Bloomington and Evansville.

3 named to boards

Gov. Eric Holcomb last week appointed three residents of northeast Indiana to state boards and commissions.

Hamilton resident John “Jack” McCombs, who is with Mike Thomas Realtors, will join the Indiana Real Estate Commission for a four-year term. Kendallville Mayor SuzAnne Handshoe will join the Bicycle Trails Task Force. Huntington County Coroner Philip Zahm will join the Indiana State Coroners Training Board.

Banks to hold job fair

The Congressman Jim Banks Job Fair is scheduled from noon to 3 p.m. Aug. 2 in IPFW's International Ballroom.

Participating employers have more than 1,700 job openings in agriculture, finance, insurance, education, government, health care, social assistance, manufacturing and retail. Regional colleges and universities also will be at the fair, and WorkOne Northeast will provide résumé and job interview assistance.

Didier praises memory of ex-library staffer

Councilman Tom Didier, R-3rd, on Tuesday offered condolences to the family of Erik Mollburg, who was killed in a July 14 motorcycle crash.

“I knew Erik Mollburg pretty well from Public Access,” said Didier, who added that he was on the cable board a couple times in the “younger portion” of his council tenure. 

Didier said he was saddened to hear about the loss of a man who had given more than 20 years of his life to the Allen County Public Library. Mollburg was the station manager for WELT-FM 95.7, a community access radio station that debuted last year.

Dave Gong of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

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