Political Notebook

  • Indiana House sets leaders for session
    The Indiana House has tapped leadership and committee chairs for the 2015 General Assembly.
  • Charity wins on Organization Day
    Area House members joined Tuesday in donating linens, gift cards and various supplies to the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence at the Indiana Statehouse.
  • Coats, Donnelly support pipeline
    Sens. Dan Coats, R-Ind., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., spoke Tuesday in support of legislation to complete construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Councilman tries to delay project already in works


At Tuesday’s Fort Wayne City Council meeting, John Shoaff, D-at large, went out of his way to derail an otherwise routine matter.

City officials wanted to make a $165,000 addition to the engineering contract for the widening of Dupont Road, a massive project already several years into the process. In fact, it’s been so long since the original deal was signed that some circumstances had changed, requiring the additions.

But Shoaff was having none of it. Widening the road, he said, will only create more roadway for the city to maintain, when it is already falling behind on the roads it has. He talked about public policy scholar Anthony Downs’ work on “triple convergence,” arguing that widening the road will not solve congestion, because traffic volume will just grow to fill the new capacity, making this even more of a waste the city couldn’t afford. On and on it went, to the point that Council President Tom Didier, R-3rd, cut off discussion.

So naturally, when it was time to decide the matter, Shoaff voted ... yes.

More Lugar honors

Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar will receive two more awards this week for his 36-year career on Capitol Hill.

The Indiana Republican will receive the Heritage Keepers Award on Tuesday evening at a program at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis.

He is the third recipient of the award, given by the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. Other winners were Earle Goode, former GTE president and chief of staff for former Gov. Mitch Daniels, and the Hulman-George family, owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series.

On Wednesday, Lugar is scheduled to receive Germany’s Grand Cross of the Order of Merit. Peter Ammon, German ambassador to the U.S., will make the presentation in Washington.

Ammon said in a statement the award is for Lugar’s “tireless efforts to foster and further deepen German-American relations.” Ammon said Lugar’s “substantial contributions to maintaining peace and security in Europe are highly esteemed in my country.”

The Indiana German-American Heritage Society selected Lugar as its German-American of the Year in 2012. Lugar’s family immigrated from Germany during the American Revolutionary War, according to his staff.

Lugar, who left the Senate in January, has won many honors since losing Indiana’s Republican primary election a year ago. He recently was knighted as an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and in December he received the U.S. Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service for his work to deactivate thousands of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the former Soviet Union.

Libertarian leaders

Indiana libertarians recently elected a new statewide leadership team at their 2013 convention. The men will serve two-year terms.

Chairman Dan Drexler said he is eager to work with new members.

“We have been growing in a direction for many years, and we are grateful for the leadership that Sam Goldstein has given us,” Drexler said. “However, I am looking forward to taking a new course of action with a larger presence in the public and a stronger role for the state chair. I am honored to be given this opportunity by our delegates.”

Drexler has been a member since 2000 and has run several times as a candidate. Professionally, he is an executive for an Indiana manufacturer of industrial heating and ventilation equipment. With the company based in LaPorte County, he splits time between his home in Indianapolis and his work at the company’s headquarters.

Matt Wittlief is the new vice chairman. He lives on the south side of Indianapolis. He has a master’s degree in applied mathematics from Purdue University. Wittlief has been at RCI, the world’s largest timeshare exchange company, since 2000, where he has held roles in senior management in a variety of departments.

The new secretary is John Schick, who has lived with his wife and children near Chesterton for many years. His sons are now grown. Schick works at Compass America Inc. He believes the highest virtue of the Libertarian Party is its advocacy of tolerance and respect for the freedom of others, something that is not promoted by the major parties.

Finally, the new treasurer is Michael Schultheiss of Marion County. He works at Ivy Tech Community College. He has more than 15 years of IT experience and serves as an officer in several nonprofit organizations, including Software in the Public Interest and Free Enterprise Schools Inc.

Dan Stockman of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

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