Political Notebook

  • Daniels' near-presidential run dissected
    In the end, it was the lure of playing the hallowed grounds of Augusta National Golf Club that brought then-Gov. Mitch Daniels and a tight-knit group of friends and supporters together in the fall of 2009 to discuss whether he should run for
  • 2 Hoosiers named to U.S. House Energy Committee
    Reps. Susan Brooks, R-5th, and Larry Bucshon, R-8th, have been named to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee for the 114th Congress.
  • Indiana House sets leaders for session
    The Indiana House has tapped leadership and committee chairs for the 2015 General Assembly.
Dan Stockman | The Journal Gazette
Russ Jehl, R-2nd, shows off his dedication to spring with a Hawaiian shirt.

Manufacturers get behind Fries, Morris

The Indiana Manufacturers Association and IMPAC, the group’s political action committee, have voted to endorse Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries for the Republican nomination for Indiana Senate District 15 in the May 6 primary election.

The group also recently endorsed Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne, for re-election to the House District 84 seat.

“Sheriff Fries has a unique background as a law enforcement officer, businessman and inventor,” said Patrick J. Kiely, president of the Indiana Manufacturers Association.

In 1989, Fries invented the Hat-Trap, which he designed to protect the hats of law enforcement officers from accidental crushing, fading and warping. He later sold the business.

Kiely also noted, “Sheriff Fries expressed to us his support for the recent reduction in the state corporate tax rate, personal property tax reform, Right to Work and other pro-manufacturing positions on energy and environmental issues.”

Jean Ann Harcourt, president of Harcourt Industries and chairwoman of the IMPAC Board, said, “Sheriff Fries knows Allen County very well as a two-term county sheriff. Additionally, with his prior experience as an inventor and businessman, Sheriff Fries will be a great representative for Allen County manufacturers in the Indiana Senate.”

Senate District 15 is in Allen County, and the office is being vacated by the retiring Sen. Tom Wyss, R-Fort Wayne, who has represented the district since 1985.

Others seeking the Republican nomination are Liz Brown, Darren Vogt and Jeff Snyder.

Morris is facing Republican attorney Michael Barranda in the primary.

“Representative Morris is a strong advocate in the Indiana General Assembly for manufacturers in Allen County,” Kiely said.

He also said variations on two provisions offered by Morris were included in recent legislation regarding personal property tax and corporate tax reform.

House District 84 is in Allen County and includes most of St. Joseph Township and a portion of Perry Township along with a section of the city of Fort Wayne. Morris was first elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 2010.

Last chance to register

Secretary of State Connie Lawson is reminding Hoosiers that Monday is the deadline to register to vote in the May 6 primary election.

Lawson asks Hoosiers to visit i ndianavoters.com to verify, update or start a voter registration.

“Hoosiers who fail to register will not be able to vote on May 6,” Lawson said. “The voter registration deadline is right around the corner. I encourage everyone who is not registered to register today to make your vote count.”

She also reminds Hoosiers who will turn 18 before the general election that they may register to vote and vote in the primary election. Voters who choose to mail their registration must have a postmarked date of April 7 or before. Registrations postmarked after this date will not be accepted. Voter registration forms and submitting instructions are available on indianavoters.com.

Military families are encouraged to remind those serving overseas to register and request an absentee ballot. Active-duty military members and their spouses should register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot by completing the Federal Post Card Application to ensure they receive their absentee ballot on time. The application can be completed online at fvap.gov.

“Many military members are serving far away from home on Election Day,” Lawson said. “We are calling on those here at home to remind their loved ones serving overseas to register to vote and to apply for an absentee ballot.”

Hoosiers who are not sure if they are registered can confirm their registration online at indianavoters.com. Voters may also request an absentee ballot and verify their polling location on indianavoters.com. Voters may also visit their local county clerk’s office or any branch of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to register to vote.

Communications director for Coats

Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., has appointed Matt Lahr as his communications director.

Lahr, formerly Coats’ press secretary, replaces Tara DiJulio, who became communications director for Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February.

Lahr has worked for Coats since 2011, when Coats rejoined the Senate after a 12-year absence.

Lahr previously worked for Gov. Mike Pence when Pence was a member of the U.S. House.

Lahr grew up in Columbus, Ind., is a graduate of Indiana University and worked for the Republic newspaper in Columbus.

He earned a master’s degree in business administration from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

Take the shirt off his back please

After it was suggested that the Fort Wayne City Council’s ad hoc Snow Removal Task Force meetings seemed to coincide with the continuation of winter, Russ Jehl, R-2nd, wasn’t taking any chances.

“Let there be no doubt,” Jehl told the panel at its last meeting, “that I am thinking spring.”

And with that, he took off his blue pullover to reveal a wildly colored Hawaiian shirt, complete with palm trees and surfing scenes.

When someone said they thought the rain falling might turn to snow, Jehl pounced.

“Not with this shirt!”

Journal Gazette writer Dan Stockman contributed to this story.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.