The Journal Gazette
Sunday, July 25, 2021 1:00 am

Holcomb, Crouch prepare to party at inaugural gala

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

When Gov. Eric Holcomb and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch were sworn in for their second terms in January, COVID-19 vaccinations were just materializing.

So, a socially distanced oath occurred with only 50 people in attendance rather than thousands.

No balloons and certainly no hugging.

Six months later and the Holcomb for Indiana campaign is gearing up to host a concert and black-tie inaugural gala.

“These events aren't just to celebrate our governor and lieutenant governor, this is a way for us to bring together the entire Holcomb-Crouch team that worked so hard to make the governor's historic reelection happen and to celebrate all Hoosiers for their sacrifice and resilience during the global pandemic,” campaign manager Kyle Hupfer said. “These events will be a great opportunity to remember our shared victories and reaffirm our commitment to helping Governor Holcomb continue building One Indiana for All.”

A concert featuring country music legends Big & Rich is scheduled Aug. 19 at the TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park.

The gala will be Aug. 21 at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis.

Go to for sponsorship opportunities and ticket information.

Tickets for Big & Rich went on sale Friday and are at

Individual gala tickets are $150 and concert tickets $100. Becoming a Diamond Sponsor – for $50,000 – includes 10 preferred seating tickets to the concert, 10 tickets to the gala, eight tickets to a VIP reception and 10 tickets to the sponsor reception.

The cost of events for the inauguration are covered by private donations and ticket sales and are organized and executed by Imagine Indiana Inc., a registered nonprofit.

Chambers to be keynote speaker

Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Michelle Chambers will be the keynote speaker Sept. 1 at Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana's annual Tribute Dinner at The Mirro Center for Research and Innovation, Parkview Regional Center Campus, 10622 Parkview Plaza Drive.

This fundraiser honors people affected by cancer and thanks the caregivers and physicians. The money raised provides practical and emotional support to cancer patients and their families in northeast Indiana.

After her historic 2019 election to the council, Chambers was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. During her treatment, she missed only one council meeting and maintained a rigorous schedule as leader of the Mayor's Commission on Policing Reform and Racial Justice. Chambers and Sharon Tucker were the first Black women to be elected to the council.

Rail support sought in DC

A Fort Wayne city councilman and former councilman last week asked a few members of Congress from Indiana to support increased federal funding for expanded passenger rail service.

Councilman Geoff Paddock and former Councilman Tom Hayhurst, both Democrats, sent a letter on behalf of the Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Association to 3rd District Rep. Jim Banks, Sens. Mike Braun and Todd Young, and 2nd District Rep. Jackie Walorski, all Republicans, and 1st District Rep. Frank Mrvan, a Democrat.

“Over the past 20 years, we have laid extensive groundwork for modern passenger rail service from Columbus, Ohio, to Chicago, with stops in Fort Wayne, Warsaw, Plymouth, Valparaiso, and Gary,” the letter states. “Enhanced passenger rail service through Fort Wayne and the other cities will result in significant economic development and environmental and quality of life improvements for every citizen of northern Indiana.”

The letter asked the federal lawmakers to support the bipartisan funding and passenger rail infrastructure bills. Passenger rail service may be able to support itself eventually, the letter added, but federal resources are needed.

Wait a second, we thought ...

If you thought you knew Fort Wayne City Council's committee assignments, you might want to take another look.

Halfway through each year, the committees flip-flop the chair and co-chair positions for each committee. The chairs lead their committee and read the appropriate agenda items.

While Sharon Tucker, D-6th, has led the public works committee all year, the chair is now Russ Jehl, R-2nd, while Tucker is the co-chair. Michelle Chambers, D-at large, now speaks for the City Utilities committee, and Tom Didier, R-3rd, is the co-chair.

Jason Arp, R-4th, has stepped back to co-chair, and Glynn Hines, D-at-large, will chair the finance committee. Geoff Paddock, D-5th, is the regulations committee chair while Tom Freistroffer, R-at-large, is the co-chair.

At the beginning of next year, council members will choose committees to serve on and appoint a president to follow current council President Paul Ensley, R-1st. So by the time we learn the current arrangements, they will rewrite the playbook on us again.

Adding more to the discussion

An Allen County Plan Commission member spoke frankly about an issue some constituents have with the board.

James Wolff, the commission's county extension office member, said he has thought a lot about a resident's comment during the public hearing that lasted nearly three hours last week.

“I think one of the comments was something like things that come here are pretty much a done deal,” he said during the meeting Thursday. “It may seem that way because staff does a really good job of getting quality projects to us that are thought out, but they also give good comments and we never really discuss things when we make our vote.”

Wolff then shared the thought process that led to him supporting the rezoning recommendation for West Hamilton Hamlet. The recommendation passed unanimously, similarly to nearly every request the commission voted on Thursday.

Outside of legal questions, Wolff was the only one who shared thoughts during discussions Thursday.

Devan Filchak and Jim Chapman of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

Political Notebook wants to hear from you. Send your burning questions or tips about state and local government or politics to and we will attempt to get you answers.

Subscribe to our newsletters

* indicates required