The Journal Gazette
Saturday, July 09, 2016 10:02 pm

ALEC to meet in state this month

Niki Kelly and Brian Francisco | The Journal Gazette

The American Legislative Exchange Council is having its 43rd annual meeting in Indianapolis July 27 to 29.

The group’s website says it is a nonpartisan organization of legislators from around the country focusing on limited government, free markets and federalism.

ALEC pushes model legislation nationwide, including past efforts to institute voter-ID, stand-your-ground, fracking and right-to-work laws.

The Indiana state chairs are Rep. David Wolkins, R-Warsaw, and Rep. David Frizzell, R-Indianapolis.

The group comes with its share of controversy – criticized for accepting private corporate donations to push specific, usually right-wing legislation. ALEC is legally a tax-exempt charity.

An anti-ALEC coalition has formed to educate Hoosiers about the group at a panel Monday in In­di­anapolis. Those participating include the Just Education Coalition, Hoosier Environmental Council, Indiana Coalition for Public Education, AFSCME and Common Cause.

The agenda for the upcoming ALEC conference includes discussion of model legislation relating to online lodging marketplaces – aka Airbnb – as well as a Next Generation Charter Schools Act.

Dinners, receptions, work sessions, speeches and a tour of Camp Atterbury are also planned.

Democrats fill ballot vacancies

Allen County Democrats have filled three ballot vacancies for state legislative races this fall.

The candidates were chosen in private caucuses of precinct committeemen and women in recent weeks.

In Senate District 16, Juli Dominguez will face Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne. She is a Spanish teacher at North Side High School. She received her degree from Ball State University and lived in Arizona for several years before moving back to Indiana.

In House District 81, Robert Haddad will face Rep. Martin Carbaugh, R-Fort Wayne. Haddad is a teacher at New Tech Academy at Wayne High School. He teaches electronic music and AP History. He also is a composer and guitarist.

In House District 85, Kathy Zoucha will face Dave Heine, of New Haven. Heine beat Rep. Casey Cox, R-Fort Wayne, in the primary. Zoucha is a special education teacher at Kekionga Middle School.

Allen County Democratic Party Chairman Jack Morris said he recruited by talking to teachers and labor advocates.

"We think having educators on the ballot is key," he said. "We want to focus on the detrimental impact this governor and Republican legislature have had on public education. It is central to the campaign."

Gregg hits Pence on Carrier closing

Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg went on the offensive Tuesday – launching his first ad criticizing Gov. Mike Pence.

The ad accuses Pence of being "asleep at the switch" when thousands of Carrier and UTEC employees found out their jobs were being shipped to Mexico. The Gregg campaign put the ad up Tuesday and sent a fundraising email out to keep it up.

"Even though Governor Pence found time to meet with Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and other big-name, out-of-state politicians, he still won’t meet with workers who are losing their jobs at Carrier," the email said.

The Pence campaign shot back, saying Gregg is trailing in the polls and fundraising, and calling the ad "woefully inaccurate." Shortly after the Carrier/UTEC announcement, Pence met with union leaders and company executives, and successfully negotiated with the company to repay economic development incentives, among other things.

But he has not met with rank-and-file workers losing their jobs.

"Carrier made its decision because of federal regulations, which will only get worse under John Gregg and Hillary Clinton," said Marc Lotter, deputy campaign manager for Pence.

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

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