Hello and welcome to what we hope will become a Saturday tradition here at InkFreeNews.
This column is all about politics, government, the people who help (or hinder) our local governance and a dash of other tidbits I hope you will find worthwhile.
Much of my time with InkFreeNews will be spent covering Warsaw city government and elections, so this column fits right in.
I’ve followed politics since the days of Watergate when my pet mice were named Nixon and Rodino (Peter, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which oversaw the impeachment effort against Nixon). That interest was part of the reason I delved into journalism and studied political science (“poli sci”) at Ball State University in the early 1980s.
While I enjoy national politics – as maddening as it can be these days – I find the local variety just as important. Politics on any level can be frustrating, annoying, sometimes mundane, but it remains – even at the grassroots level – a key part of our democratic process. I know that sounds groovy, but it’s true.
If you’re still reading this, I’m guessing you might recognize this theme from another publication. And yes, this is a repurposed version of Potpourri. I’m excited to continue the column under a new name and with a different news outlet.
That alone might be worth an audible sigh.
* * *
MORE OPTIONS – It looks as if the lengthy cakewalk might be over for Republicans on Warsaw City Council. Unlike recent election cycles, Republicans will face three challenges from Democrats in the fall election.
As many know, Republicans have held every seat on city council for upward of three decades, possibly more. In fact, Dems have only fielded one city council candidate in the past five election cycles, according to Kosciusko County Democrat Chairman Brian Smith.
But Smith senses a change in Warsaw.
“I’m ecstatic to have three candidates this year when we only had one the previous 19 years,” Smith said.
The Democrat hopefuls include Jack Brunetto, who will challenge Council President Diane Quance in District 5; Sara McNeal Strahan will challenge incumbent Jeff Grose in District 1; and Roxanne Coffelt, who serves as treasurer for the county Dems, will challenge incumbent Michael Klondaris in District 3.
Smith said he’s especially hopeful about Brunetto, who has been able to raise some campaign cash and is part of a district that includes areas where Shari Benyousky did well in her campaign for Wayne Township Trustee last year.
* * *
WALL VOTES – Five lawmakers from Indiana were among those who voted against a compromise that ended the stalemate over border security this week.
Indiana’s newest Senator, Mike Braun, was one of only 16 senators to vote against a federal budget proposal that would fund a small portion of President Donald Trump’s border security bill and keep the government open.
Braun, who seems to strongly align himself with Trump, shared Trump’s frustration over this week’s compromise.
“This legislation did not sufficiently address the humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border and left President Trump with no other option than to declare a national emergency, which I support,” Braun said in a quote published by the Indy Star.
Rep. Jim Banks, of the 3rd District, was one of four House members from Indiana who voted against the bill.
In a statement, Banks says that while he supports Trump’s agenda on border security, he could not support the bill because it falls short on delivering on promised commitments and adds to the United States’ $22-trillion debt.
* * *
ABORTION DEBATE – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, of Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District, is posturing herself as a leader in the newest abortion battle after the issue resurfaced recently over late-term abortions on several fronts.
According to Walorski’s website, she led 21 of her colleagues in a one-hour series of speeches on the House floor this week on the need to pass the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act aimed at protecting the lives of infants born alive after failed abortions.
“I have long fought to defend the unborn, but I am shocked that I now have to defend the right to life of newborn infants,” Walorski posted on her Facebook page. “These precious children are in peril. Their rights are under attack Their lives are at stake. And this House has a responsibility to act.”
Her work this week attracted more than 1,100 reactions in a single post on her Facebook page.