By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – US Rep. Jim Banks is working to carry on the agenda of out-going President Donald Trump.
A recent change in Republican leadership is making that more possible.
The Columbia City Republican who represents Indiana’s Third District was chosen by Republicans to serve as chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC). He said recently that he wants the conservative group to drive the conversation on what the future of the party looks like in the post-Trump era.
“If we’re learning the lessons that President Trump taught us, to appeal to the populace base and bring new voters in the Republican Party, we need to tackle a new subset of issues to the conservative movement,” he said in a recent news release.
Specifically, he wants the party to consider working-class issues connected to manufacturing, trade and immigration.
In an op-ed in the Washington Examiner, Banks said he wants to reconcile differences within the party and maintain the unity the party has enjoyed in the last two years under Trump. “To be successful, we must learn two lessons Trump taught us. No. 1: Integrate Trump’s policy agenda into the existing Republican platform. No. 2: Emulate Trump’s posture as a man of action who is not afraid to fight.”
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ELKHART POLITICS – Can a mask mandate make a difference if the county sheriff says he won’t enforce it? That’s what leaders in Elkhart County are facing.
The county commissioners on Monday passed an ordinance to add fines for violations of the county’s orders regarding the wearing of masks, social distancing and unauthorized gatherings. The ordinance and the fines apply to the actions of both customers and employees, with businesses fined for violations by either.
Elkhart County has been a hotspot for the coronavirus and has seen 249 deaths (five times more than Kosciusko County).
The ordinance, which goes into effect Dec. 17, calls for a written warning for first-time violators and fines ranging from $25 to $250.
On Monday, the city councils in Elkhart, Goshen and Nappanee will be asked to approve ”enforcement teams” to ensure compliance, according to a post by Allan Kauffman, former Democrat Mayor of Goshen.
But Elkhart County Sheriff Jeff Siegel has already announced (via Facebook) that his officers would not take part in the direct enforcement of the ordinance. In addition, he’s telling his officers “to use extreme caution when responding to any potential disturbances related to the enforcement of this ordinance and actions they may need to take.”
Siegel said he will continue to monitor the issue and expects “everyone’s rights will be respected.”
Kauffman said on Facebook that he was disappointed in Siegel’s announcement.
Kauffman argues that businesses support the ordinance and would prefer enforcement come from the government. He compared it to when Elkhart County established some smoking bans.
“Without the Elkhart County Sheriff’s support, business owners outside the cities are left to fend for themselves. Their employees and customers will be at greater risk than those in the cities. Most customers are now smart and considerate of others and wearing masks. They will prefer to do business inside the cities,” Kauffman wrote. “I implore Sheriff Siegel to think further about the issue, and by doing so, see the wisdom of changing course.”
POST OF THE WEEK – The following is my favorite post of the week on social media:
“Please. Stop sending me the whackadoodle vaccine movie. It’s untrue. It’s not scientific. The vaccine RNA cannot enter your DNA and change your genomes. It will not morph you into a slave of Bill Gates. It cannot cause you to be tracked. It is not implanting microchips. You will not become zombies. However, the vaccine may cause brain damage, because I’m beating my head on a wall right now in response to the 7th vaccine movie I’ve been forwarded.”
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MOST POPULAR? – Twenty years from now, when an old friend reminds you of that InkFreeNews weekly poll question – who has been the best Republican President (with the choices of Lincoln, Reagan, Eisenhower and Trump), we will all smile with wonderment.
Yes, local poll participants put Trump ahead of Lincoln AND Reagan. As of Saturday morning, the vote percentages with 38% for Trump, 35% for Lincoln, 21% for Reagan and 6% for Eisenhower.
I’ll venture a guess and suggest that some of that is due to Trump supporters who are still smarting from the election loss and enamored with his work. And I suspect maybe some Dems voted for Trump just to make it interesting. Or maybe the conservative base has changed.
I wonder what the same poll would say five years from now?
Next week, we’ll have a similar poll on the best president who happened to be a Democrat.
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Dan Spalding is the editor at InkFreeNews.com.
He covers city government and politics and always welcomes your input.
He can be reached at [email protected] or at (574) 855-7612.