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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, April 15, 2018 1:00 am

Candidate counts on '420' donations

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Democratic state Senate candidate Gary Snyder is using drug culture to invite donations.

Calling it his “420 on 420 fundraising campaign,” supporters are invited to give amounts such as $4.20 or $42.00 or $420.00.

The first four donations of $42 or more will also receive Carb Day tickets to see the bands Train and Blues Traveler on May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a release said.

Snyder says he stands with fellow veterans and a majority of Hoosiers in supporting the legalization of medical marijuana. It is one issue he will work on if elected to the Indiana Senate.

Snyder is a Huntington political blogger and radio talk show host running for the Democratic nomination in Senate District 17.

Snyder wants to unseat Sen. Andy Zay, R-Huntington, who won the seat in a caucus after his predecessor moved to Congress.

According to Time magazine, the most credible source of the 420 phrase in regard to marijuana traces back to California in 1971. Five students at San Rafael High School would meet at 4:20 p.m. by the campus' statue of chemist Louis Pasteur to partake.

They chose that specific time because extracurricular activities had usually ended by then. This group became known as the “Waldos” because they met at a wall. They would say “420” to each other as code for marijuana.

Pro-life PAC won't endorse House 22

The Indiana Right to Life Political Action Committee released its list of endorsements in state-level contested races in the May 8 primary election.

Locally, there were no surprises from the endorsements – all Republican incumbents seeking re-election, including Rep. Dave Wolkins, R-Warsaw; Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle; and Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn.

But one race was conspicuously missing: House District 22, which consists of parts of Kosciusko and Elkhart counties. Rep. Curt Nisly, R-Goshen, is challenged in the GOP primary by Kimberly Cates.

Mike Fichter, chairman of the Indiana Right to Life PAC, said the group chose not to endorse Nisly based on one of his responses to the 2018 candidate survey.

“Nisly answered 'yes' when asked, 'Do you oppose legislation that would eliminate current state laws that regulate abortion?'” Fichter said.

But the PAC said Nisly's own bill, HB 1097, would repeal decades of Indiana abortion regulations, including those that were instrumental in closing four Indiana abortion facilities and those that have helped the Indiana abortion rate to decline for eight consecutive years.

“The PAC does not believe Nisly's response accurately reflects his own legislation to voters.”

Nisly's bill would ban all abortions and therefore eliminate all the regulations authorizing it. 

The group also did not endorse his opponent, though. 

“We determined to inform the voters of the positions of both candidates in this race and let the local voters decide. Cates will support pro-life legislation and Nisly has voted for pro-life legislation,” Fichter said. 

Debate panel asks for questions

The Indiana Debate Commission is inviting voters' questions for its April 30 debate for candidates seeking the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat from Indiana.

The nonpartisan commission said people who submit questions might be invited to ask them during the hourlong televised debate at Indianapolis TV station WFYI.

Two of three GOP Senate candidates have agreed to participate: Jasper business owner Mike Braun and U.S. Rep. Luke Messer of Greensburg. U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita of Brownsburg has said he will not participate; the commission said last week its invitation to Rokita remains open.

The commission also said free broadcast satellite feeds and web streams will be made available to all news media, including college and high school media associations.

Debates involving all three candidates are planned for today in Indianapolis and April 23 in Fort Wayne.

Council urged to know FW United

Fort Wayne City Councilman Geoff Paddock, D-5th, asked fellow council members Tuesday to spend time to get to know Fort Wayne United ahead of this year's October budget discussions.

Last year, several councilmen asked for metrics that can be used to determine whether the program, which focuses on developing opportunities for young black men and boys, has been successful.

In response, Councilman John Crawford, R-at large, said he attended the soft launch of the organization's midnight basketball program at the Renaissance Pointe YMCA. He described it as well organized and attended.

“We certainly hope that program makes a lot of impact,” Crawford said. “My only point has been we need to measure the results as we go forward. We've been asking them to get some measurable indicators so we can keep track.

“We hope it will be wonderful and if it is, we'll quadruple the funding, and if it's not we need to know that.”

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