The Journal Gazette
Sunday, October 10, 2021 1:00 am

Trine honors lieutenant governor

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

Trine University recently honored Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch with its annual Woman of Distinction Award during the university's annual Touchstone and Homecoming Celebration Dinner.

Trine University President Earl D. Brooks II announced the award Oct. 1 following a video presentation featuring images of Crouch throughout her lifetime.

“The lieutenant governor has been an incredible positive influence and has impacted the lives of many – not only in the great state of Indiana and our community, but for our students, alumni, faculty and staff here at Trine University,” Brooks said.

Born and raised in Evansville, Crouch graduated from Mater Dei High School and received her Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University, majoring in political science. She was a Vanderburgh County commissioner, a member of the Indiana House of Representatives and state auditor before being elected lieutenant governor in 2016.

In 2019, she spoke at Trine University's commencement ceremony. After the address, the university awarded her the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in recognition of her public service to the state of Indiana.

Crouch was unable to attend the Touchstone Dinner due to the state Senate being in session but offered her thanks for the award in a recorded video.

“You probably know I find myself making a trip to northeast Indiana several times a year, and I always love visiting your expanding campus,” Crouch said. “You make it so easy to be a champion for all the work being done by the university, the staff, students and alumni. You are a staple of northeast Indiana and Hoosiers everywhere.”

The Woman of Distinction Award was first given in 2006 and recognizes the powerful contributions of women in the areas of philanthropy, business and education.

Indiana honored

Indiana has received the highest award for financial reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association for the 28th year in a row.

The association awarded the state the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the state's 2020 Annual Comprehensive Financial report. The in-depth report accounts for all the state's financial data for all of Indiana's funds. The report also includes other financial, demographic, economic and statistical information.

“We have a great team that compiles this report which requires attention to detail, accuracy, and persistence in gathering information across state agencies,” state Auditor Tera Klutz said. “I applaud their great achievement for so many consecutive years.”

Out-of-state endorsement

He can't vote for Suzie Jaworowski, but former Texas governor and U.S. energy secretary Rick Perry has endorsed her for Indiana state treasurer.

Jaworowski previously worked for Perry as chief of staff in the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy, where she oversaw a $1.4 billion budget and 175 employees.

In the video, Perry said Jaworowski was “a star” on his team when it “made America energy independent.”

“She is whip smart and a great patriot. I think Suzie would make a fine treasurer for the state of Indiana.”

Jaworowski is one of four people running for the GOP nomination for state treasurer that will be decided next year at the Indiana Republican state convention.

Also running are Fort Wayne City Clerk Lana Keesling, political strategist Pete Seat and Daniel Elliott, chair of the Morgan County Republican Party.

A surprising vote

Fort Wayne City Council members burst into laughter as Councilman Jason Arp, R-4th, cast his vote toward preliminary approval of a tax subsidy for a local development.

Arp has almost always opposed tax subsidies because he thinks they violate the 14th Amendment, which protects citizens' rights to be treated the same as everyone else. Businesses with connections to better attorneys or other resources have better odds of making it through the “weeding out” part of the process by the city's Community Development Division, he told The Journal Gazette in July.

But a request from Renaissance Pointe LLC, 631 E. Pontiac St., for a Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District deduction caught his eye. If approved, Renaissance Pointe won't have to pay taxes on the assessed value of real property improvements for 10 years.

“I'm going to go ahead and vote aye. I know, it's a shocker,” he said Tuesday night.

The shock could be heard around the meeting room through laughter. “That's a good one,” Councilman Tom Didier, R-3rd, remarked.

Council President Paul Ensley, R-1st, also generally opposes tax subsidies, and he voted against the preliminary approval. Councilwoman Sharon Tucker, D-6th, abstained because of her involvement in related projects. Councilman Tom Freistroffer, R-at large, was absent.

The City Council is expected to discuss and likely vote on the resolution this week.

Devan Filchak of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

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