President Donald Trump is now supporting the $19 billion disaster relief bill, but he’s not getting much support from Congressional lawmakers who represent folks in Kosciusko County.
The bill provides money to support rebuilding and infrastructure improvements in areas affected by natural disasters, including hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes and wildfires. Trump initially resisted supporting the bill, saying it provided too much for Puerto Rico, while not including any support for construction of the southern wall.
Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-2nd) and Jim Banks (R-3rd) both opposed the legislation. Indiana Sen. Mike Braun was one of eight to vote against it when the Senate passed the bill 85-8. Sen. Todd Young supported the measure. The only House members from Indiana who supported the plan were Peter Visclosky and Andre Carson.
Final passage of the bill was held by a Texas lawmaker on Friday who wanted wall funding. Lawmakers had hoped to pass the legislation before the Memorial Day weekend. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the move “sabotage.”
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SMOKING AGE — Indiana Republican U.S. Senator Todd Young is joining Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) in introducing a bill that would change the legal smoking age from 18 to 21, a move that’s designed to target teenage use of vape products. “Particularly among our younger Hoosiers and younger Americans, there’s a crisis we’re facing. And that’s a crisis of smoking and more importantly of vaping,” Young told an Indianapolis TV station. See more in this video clip.
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DEMS CONVERGING — Kosciusko County Democrats will be participating in the Tri-State Cornfield Conference, a three-day regional event at the end of June. The main conference will be Saturday, June 29, but discussions on 10 different topics will be featured for three days.
The event runs from June 28 to June 30 and is hosted by Democrats from Noble, Dekalb, Kosciusko, Lagrange and Whitley counties. Discussion topics will range from climate change, digital training and voter registration, the last of which will be overseen by Syracuse resident Jama Brown, of the League of Women Voters.
Kosciusko County Dem Chairman Brian Smith said organizers had reached out to the presidential candidates with the slight hope that they could land one. To learn more, check out the event’s Facebook page.
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ABORTION POLL — The InkfreeNews poll this week looked at support for abortion, coming on the heels of Alamaba’s highly restrictive law that was recently signed into law by its governor. While the IFN poll is certainly unscientific, it is worth pointing out that the percent of those who said they believe abortion should be illegal in all cases (19 percent as of Friday) lines up closely with a Morning Consult Poll (taken last weekend, May 17-19) in which 20 percent of Republicans said they believed the same. To a degree, that’s another example of how conservative readers of InkfreeNews — and the county in general — tend to be.
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UNIMPEDED WORKLOAD — Kudos to the Kosciusko County Drainage Board, which chose to conduct its monthly board meeting in the courthouse Thursday morning despite the lack of electricity during a power outage. County offices were closed Thursday as a result of the outage. But County Commissioner Cary Groninger, who serves as chairman of the drainage board, said they had more than half a dozen items on the agenda, including a bid opening for a project in Claypool, and needed to get some work done.
“Some of these things people are waiting to do a project,” Groninger said. “You kick the can down the road and all the sudden, it frustrates the public that they are not getting the answers they need … and we wanted to make sure we were doing all we could to keep them moving on task.”
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SMALL IRONY — Warsaw City Council President Diane Quance often leads the council in a moment of prayer before council meetings. With Memorial Day just around the corner, Quance on Monday wanted to theme her words around veterans and wanted to acknowledge any veterans in the crowd (there are no veterans on city council). As it turns out, the only veteran in council chambers was Democrat Jack Brunetto, who Quance faces in the fall election.
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EXTENDED LEASE — It looks as if the Republican headquarters will be taking on a somewhat permanent residence in downtown Warsaw. K-County GOP Chair Mike Ragan said the party has extended its lease for its offices at the corner of Lake and Center streets through the 2020 election. “We love the location,” Ragan said.
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WARSAW FB PAGE — I recently mentioned Kosciusko County’s Sheriff’s office has greatly improved its Facebook presence, so it’s only fair to point out that the city of Warsaw has broadened its scope on its Facebook page as well. In addition to lots of information, the city is now profiling some of its employees.
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FISCAL RATING — As you might suspect, Indiana fares well compared to other states in a new ranking by U.S. News & World Report on the topic of fiscal responsibility, but not so well in other areas. The magazine looked at numerous categories and ranked Indiana sixth in fiscal responsibility. However, Indiana ranked 40th in healthcare, 22nd in education and 48th in what it termed “natural environment.”
On the bright side, Indiana’s overall ranking (36th) was better than Texas (38), Ohio (39) and Kentucky (40).
Dan Spalding covers city government and politics for InkFreeNews.
He can be reached at [email protected] or at (574) 855-7612.