Jim Shella’s Political Blog

Hogsett makes it official

January 21st, 2015 at 4:28 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

Joe Hogsett filed the paperwork Wednesday to get his name on the ballot in the May primary for Mayor of Indianapolis.

The Democratic candidate is running a textbook campaign to this point and that means that he has managed to get six months worth of publicity out of his decision to enter the race while offering little more.

So far, he has done everything possible to avoid controversy.

Hogsett appeared at the City County Building with his wife Stephanie for an event that was planned as a photo opportunity as opposed to a news conference.

He filed his paperwork, obtained a copy from the clerk’s office, and then went on his way, stopping only briefly to answer questions.

When asked, he declined to say anything about the two Republicans who entered the race this week.

“Not here to talk about politics today,” he said. “I filed my candidacy and frankly this is less about who’s running and more about what people expect from their next mayor.”

When asked again, he said, “I really don’t intend to comment on any of my opponents.  I’m going to focus on the vision I have for the future of the city and I hope that it is responded to by the voters.”

Those two Republicans, Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams and businessman Chuck Brewer, begin the race at a disadvantage.

That’s because Hogsett has already raised over a million dollars and this is now considered to be a Democratic county.

Hogsett did make it clear today that he still believes that crime will be the biggest in the issue in the campaign and says he will soon take steps to lay out his vision for the city.

Sen. Coats criticizes the State of the Union

January 21st, 2015 at 11:20 am by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

Indiana Senator Dan Coats said the State of the Union speech left him and his GOP colleagues scratching their heads.

Coats said he questions whether the President wants to work with Congress and whether he understood the message from the 2014 Election when Republicans won control of the Senate.

He said it’s sort of like the President and Congress are on different planets.

“His agenda has no chance of getting approved in this Congress,” said Coats. “There are even Democrats, take Keystone Pipeline, 10 Democrats supported Republicans and the President said, send me that and I’m going to veto it. So, it’s even affecting his own party and they are saying, wait a minute Mr. President, I thought we were going to work together.”

Coats compared the State of the Union to a campaign speech.

Chuck Brewer explains his plan to run for mayor

January 20th, 2015 at 11:03 am by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

Businessman Chuck Brewer is running for mayor of Indianapolis and Republican party leaders want him to be the GOP nominee.

Brewer, who owns two downtown restaurants, was planning to run for the City County Council until recently. He has never run for office before but has a resumé that includes 23 years of military service.

He is a Marine who served two tours in Iraq and continues to serve as an officer in the Marine Reserves.

Brewer immediately becomes the favorite to take on leading Democrat Joe Hogsett in the November election.

“About a week ago when, you know, it occurred to me that the party didn’t have the right candidate,” he said, “I stepped forward and said, I wanna do this.  I want this job and I can prove myself.”

On Monday Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams announced that he will also run as a Republican.

That sets the stage for a contested GOP primary.

Brewer said he plans to finance a portion of his campaign using his own money but he wouldn’t say how much he plans to spend.

“Mystery candidate” revealed

January 19th, 2015 at 6:20 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

Indianapolis businessman Chuck Brewer is the “mystery candidate” mentioned by GOP party leaders in the their search for a credible candidate for mayor.

Brewer owns two downtown restaurants, Potbelly Sandwiches and Soupremacy.  He has experience working in a Fortune 500 corporation and is an Iraq war veteran.  He currently serves as Lt. Colonel in the Marine Reserves.

Brewer was planning a Wednesday campaign announcement until news of his candidacy leaked out.

Olgen Williams for mayor

January 19th, 2015 at 10:15 am by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams is planning a run for mayor.

He created a new Twitter account with the address @OlgenforIndy and tweeted, “After much discussion and prayer with my family I’ve decided to run for Mayor of Indianapolis.”

Williams joins Jocelyn Tandy Adande and Terry Michael in the Republican field.  Marion County GOP Chairman Kyle Walker, meantime, says that an unnamed “credible” candidate will announce a bid on Wednesday.

Republican Mayor Greg Ballard is not seeking re-election.  Democrat Joe Hogsett is considered the favorite in the 2015 race.

Republican party leaders will endorse a candidate at the county slating convention on January 31st.

GOP candidate for mayor waiting in the wings

January 16th, 2015 at 5:22 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

A Republican candidate for mayor of Indianapolis will step up next week.

His identity is still a secret and that’s not what you expect in a political campaign.

Marion County Republican Chairman Kyle Walker says the party will have a credible candidate to take on Democrat Joe Hogsett. An announcement is planned for next Wednesday.

When Greg Ballard announced that he was taking a pass on a bid for a third term as mayor he left the GOP with a big void.

Marion County GOP Chairman Kyle Walker says it’s been filled.

“The individual that will announce next week approached us,” said Walker, “and really has a call to serve and we couldn’t be more excited.”

Efforts to recruit state Senator Jim Merritt, former state Chairman Murray Clark, Mike Pence aide Jeff Cardwell, and Public Safety director Troy Riggs and others were unsuccessful.

The identity of the man who has volunteered to run is still being kept secret at his request.

“The candidate has indicated they want to make an announcement next week,” said Walker, “and roll it out in their own way and so that’s what we’re gonna do.”

Walker says that candidate is not someone who has been mentioned as a potential candidate in any of the reporting that has taken place since Greg Ballard announced his decision.

In that time Democrat Joe Hogsett has raised $1.4 million and put together an organization that makes him a solid favorite at this point.

There are currently 3 Republicans who have filed to run for mayor but none are considered credible.

The party will meet in a slating convention January 31st to endorse a candidate and, coincidentally, the Wednesday announcement will come on the day that is the filing deadline for slating.

Pence conducts Detroit trade mission

January 15th, 2015 at 4:28 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

Governor Mike Pence conducted a trade mission to Detroit Thursday where he visited the 2015 North American International Auto Show.

Pence will tell you that more than 120,000 Hoosiers work in the auto industry and, as a result, he says there was no more important place for him to be than the Detroit Auto Show.

The governor also made two jobs announcements. One with the CEO of Sirmax North America, an auto supplier that will open a plant in Anderson creating 50 jobs in the next five years.

The other with OMR Automotive, another auto supplier that will create 60 jobs in Speedway by next year.

The numbers are not big but the governor said that’s not he’s focused on.

“I think it’s more consequential that here’s two Italian companies, in OMR’s case they’re a billion dollar company,” he siad, “that for the first time are creating an operation in the United States and they’re choosing the Hoosier state.”

He went on to say, “I think that’s a credit to the people of Indiana.  I think that’s a credit to the business environment.”

Also, the governor met with GM CEO Mary Barra at General Motors headquarters.

Scandals lead to ethics reform

January 15th, 2015 at 4:15 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

A series of ethics scandals is prompting action in the General Assembly. New ethics legislation made public Thursday is all about building confidence in state government.

Republicans and Democrats are working together to give voters more information about what goes on behind the scenes.

It’s an effort that began when former state Representative Eric Turner was accused of lobbying fellow lawmakers in private to benefit a family business.

Under legislation authored by House Speaker Brian Bosma lawmakers will now have to disclose not just their business interests but also the interests of family members.

“While attention to matters of the last year may, or may not have had a real impact on the legislative process,” said the Speaker, “it sure didn’t look good.”

The bill creates a new ethics counselor in the Legislative Services Agency. It will also address problems exposed by former lawmaker Troy Woodruff who left state government to work for a state contractor, a move that will be tougher to make if the bill becomes law.

“If we don’t have credibility with the public,” said Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indiana,) “then we’ve failed no matter what else we do, and we’ve made some mistakes and we’ve had some people who are too aggressive in pursuing their own personal interests.”

The bill also closes a loophole that was exposed in the scandal involving former state School Superintendent Tony Bennett.

It will make it a crime to use state resources for political purposes.

“And the goal here is additional transparency,” said Bosma, “additional openness to the public so the public can see exactly what’s going on in their state government.”

And in case you wonder if the Speaker means business, one of the more interesting provisions in the bill requires every lawmaker to receive ethics training.

Failure to do so will be considered disorderly conduct.

Chief Justice wants money for e-filing

January 14th, 2015 at 4:25 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

Chief Justice Loretta Rush delivered her first State of the Judiciary speech to a joint session of the General Assembly Wednesday and she wasn’t timid.

She told lawmakers that Indiana courts need to catch up with the times.

Rush even became the first Chief Justice to use a TelePrompTer to deliver the annual speech that serves as an update on the court system in Indiana.

She told lawmakers that judges and others could be more efficient if they stop shuffling papers and make use of electronic filing, but it takes money.

“Pennies of additional investment now,” said Chief Justice Rush, “will reap dollars of savings in future records management costs.  And if our Indiana judicial system is to be on the right course, we must act now.”

Lawmakers applauded, indicating they are open to the request for more money.

One key lawmaker, Representative Tim Brown (R-Crawsfordsville,) said Rush has a strong argument.

“I think we have to come into the 21st century,” he said.

But the amount of money required is still in doubt. A statewide conversion to e-filing would cost between $5 million and $9 million but some of it will likely come from filing fees and there could be a gradual roll out.

Justice Rush, in the meantime, wants e-filing to start this year.

GOP state Senators propose crackdown on crime

January 14th, 2015 at 10:40 am by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

A group of Republican state Senators is proposing a package of bills designed to crack down on violent crime.

They gathered Wednesday in front of the memorial to fallen police officers to propose bills to lengthen prison sentences for some violent criminals and to extend the 5 year statute of limitations on rape.

They also want to increase law enforcement funding by in the state’s three most populace counties: Marion, Allen, and Lake.

“And we hope this additional funding, $200,000 per county for the next biennium, will be able to help cut crime down,” said Sen. Brent Waltz (R-Greenwood,) “persuade criminals to not do the things they are doing, and make sure that those who do do those things are brought to justice.”

Committee hearings on those bills will begin next week.