Political Notebook


Chamber releases state voting records

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has handed out scores to state legislators for their voting records on pro-economy, pro-jobs legislation during the 2014 General Assembly session.

The numbers, released in the organization’s annual Legislative Vote Analysis, also include a two-year total for each legislator.

The 2014 scores ranged from 44 percent to 100 percent. There were a total of 10 perfect marks – all in the Senate.

Meanwhile, 22 legislators (16 in the House, six in the Senate) were awarded the star designation for demonstrating “conspicuous leadership on specific business issues of critical importance and/or for overall leadership.”

Nearly all of the bills included for examination can be traced back to the four driver areas and goals in the Indiana Chamber’s economic development plan.

“There’s competition for employment – both for workers and companies competing for projects – and for business location and expansion,” chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar said.

“That’s why it’s important that we accelerate the pace of legislation that will have real and positive impact on the Hoosier workforce. And this report holds legislators accountable to that. It makes it clear which legislators support pro-job growth and pro-economy issues, and which legislators do not.”

Legislators who score 70 percent or greater for the most recent two-year voting period are eligible for endorsement by the Indiana Chamber’s political action committee, Indiana Business for Responsive Government.

Here is how area legislators fared:

Rep. Martin Carbaugh, R-Fort Wayne – 2014 voting: 82 percent; two-year average: 83 percent

Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne – 2014 voting: 64 percent; two-year average: 61 percent

Rep. Kathy Heuer, R-Columbia City – 2014 voting: 94 percent; two-year average: 91 percent

Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, R-Syracuse – 2014 voting: 88 percent; two-year average: 91 percent

Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne – 2014 voting: 94 percent; two-year average: 88 percent

Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington – 2014 voting: 91 percent; two-year average: 88 percent

Rep. Robert Morris, R-Fort Wayne – 2014 voting: 88 percent; two-year average: 87 percent

Rep. David Ober, R-Albion – 2014 voting: 85 percent; two-year average: 81 percent

Rep. Casey Cox, R-Fort Wayne – 2014 voting: 91 percent; two-year average: 91 percent

Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn – 2014 voting: 88 percent; two-year average: 87 percent

Rep. David Wolkins, R-Warsaw – 2014 voting: 87 percent; two-year average: 80 percent

Rep. Dennis Zent, R-Angola – 2014 voting: 94 percent; two-year average: 90 percent

Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City – 2014 voting: 100 percent; two-year average 83 percent

Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange – 2014 voting: 93 percent; two-year average: 84 percent

Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle – 2014 voting: 100 percent; two-year average: 92 percent

Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn – 2014 voting: 97 percent; two-year average: 89 percent

Sen. David Long, R-Fort Wayne – 2014 voting: 100 percent; two-year average: 92 percent

Sen. Thomas Wyss, R-Fort Wayne – 2014 voting: 100 percent; two-year average: 92 percent

Family endorsement

The American Family Association of Indiana PAC announced last week that it has endorsed Don Bates for the Republican nomination for the office of state treasurer.

“Don Bates has a history of consistently standing for conservative and Republican principles,” said PAC President Micah Clark. “Don is an articulate spokesman for Hoosier values, and he has a professional financial background that lends itself to his being an excellent state treasurer.”

Bates is running to be the party’s candidate for state treasurer on the November ballot. Republican delegates will select the nominee at the June 6-7 GOP Convention.

Two other candidates also are running, promising what could be an entertaining floor fight for the nomination. They are Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold and Kelly Mitchell, who works in the treasurer’s office.

Spokesman leaving

The communications director for Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, is resigning to work for a Senate candidate’s campaign.

James Wegmann said Wednesday that he will leave Stutzman’s staff after this week to take a communications job with the campaign of Ben Sasse, the Republican nominee for an open Senate seat in Nebraska.

Wegmann is a Woodburn native who joined Stutzman’s staff after the LaGrange County farmer went to Capitol Hill in November 2010. Wegmann became communications director in 2011.

“It has been an honor working for Mr. Stutzman and a privilege working with such a talented staff,” Wegmann said in a statement.

He is the second high-profile staffer to depart Stutzman’s Capitol Hill office this month. Matt Lloyd resigned as chief of staff in early May to pursue other career interests and was replaced by John Hammond IV, who had been deputy chief of staff and legislative director.

Sasse seeks to replace Republican Sen. Mike Johanns, who does not seek re-election.

‘Around the barn’

There was a lot of criticism Tuesday of the proposal by Fort Wayne City Councilman John Crawford, R-at large, to eliminate collective bargaining for police and firefighters.

But there was even more criticism for Republicans on the council who voted in favor of eliminating collective bargaining for all the city’s other employees but sparing public safety workers.

Many union supporters speaking during public comment called those councilmen hypocrites for saying the reasons for taking away collective bargaining from some workers apparently doesn’t apply to others. Some also said it was politics, not principle – noting it would be “political suicide” to have voted in favor of Crawford’s proposal.

Councilman Glynn Hines, D-6th, said it was clear why members would vote to remove collective bargaining for six unions, but not the three others that represent police and firefighters.

“You know doggone well why,” Hines said. “It would be political death to that individual.”

In fact, Hines went even further, saying Crawford’s proposal was a poison pill meant to make the other option seem palatable by comparison.

“When I saw these three proposals, I said, ‘This is bullshit,’ ” Hines said, “because you’re going around the barn to get you in the back door.”

Dan Stockman of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

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