Political Notebook

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Governor’s residence awaits Pence, pets

– you aren’t the only first dog anymore.

Indiana Gov.-elect Mike Pence told reporters Wednesday that he and his family would be moving into the governor’s residence in Indianapolis – along with a dog and two cats.

“It’s a welcoming place in every sense of the word,” he said.

Pence joked that he was still negotiating a doghouse for Maverick the beagle.

The two cats – Oreo and Pickle – already have their accommodations sorted out.

Incoming first lady Karen Pence visited the residence for the first time in the last week and said all five members of the Pence family are excited about living there.

The 1928 home underwent a $1.2 million renovation and redecoration during Gov. Mitch Daniels’ term though he and his family never lived there. The house has a public area for events as well as private space for the family on the upper floors.

All three Pence children – ages 21, 19 and 18 – made a bid to stay in the separate and cozy three-bedroom Carriage House on the property, but Karen Pence has other plans.

One son and one daughter are away at college and will be home only at breaks, with their youngest daughter living full time at the residence as a senior in high school.

Karen Pence wants everyone under one roof during college breaks for more family time. That means converting an office in the residence into another bedroom.

But she has promised her youngest daughter that her friends can come over for a prom dinner and that the Carriage House is available for guests.

Daniels’ concession

On the last pages of a new book out last week containing selected speeches by Gov. Mitch Daniels is a fascinating look at what he would have said had he been defeated in 2008.

Aiming Higher – the governor’s personal nonprofit – published the book, titled “Words that Changed a State.”

It includes inaugural addresses, his State of the State speeches, commencement talks, campaign events and national speeches to boot.

In the book, Daniels notes that he attended all but one of the 21 funerals for the Hoosier military personnel lost from 2005 to ’12 (he was out of the country for the one he missed). And he almost always choked up and had to compose himself during his speech.

But the speech he never gave is probably the most interesting. If he had lost to Democrat Jill Long Thompson in 2008, here is a snippet of what he would have said:

“Better four years of action and accomplishment than eight years of sitting timidly on our hands. Better to lose an election because we dared and did, than to win one because we talked a good game while doing nothing of consequence.”

Then, later: “Ours is a far, far better state because we came along. John Adams wrote, ‘Duty is ours. The results are God’s.’ I trust that tonight’s result is the best one for the people of the state we love, but I believe that the results of the last four years will prove to be, as well. Good night, and goodbye.”

Committees

Northeast Indiana has gained a committee chairman in the Indiana House.

Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, R-Syracuse, will head the Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee. Issues this committee has dealt with in the past include child support, family law and child protection.

Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne, will be back as chairman of the Insurance Committee and Rep. Dave Wolkins, R-Winona Lake, continues to chair the Environmental Affairs Committee.

Several area House members – including a few newcomers – have been tapped as vice chairmen of committees as well. They are:

•Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn – Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development.

•Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne – Environmental Affairs.

•Rep. Dave Ober, R-Albion – Employment, Labor and Pensions.

•Rep. Martin Carbaugh, R-Fort Wayne – Insurance.

•Rep. Kathy Heuer, R-Columbia City – Local Government.

•Wolkins – Select Committee on Government Reduction.

Donnelly staffers

U.S. Sen.-elect Joe Donnelly recently made two appointments to his staff.

Donnelly chose Elizabeth Shappell as his communications director and Ben Ray as his press secretary.

Shappell has been communications director for Donnelly’s House office, his 2010 re-election campaign and his Senate campaign. Donnelly, a Democrat, has represented Indiana’s 2nd District since 2007.

Shappell has worked for Donnelly since 2008. She is a native of Mishawaka and a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.

In her new post, Shappell will be in charge of Donnelly’s communications and oversee the press office team.

Ray has been press secretary of the Indiana Democratic Party since July 2011. He previously worked for a Senate campaign in Kentucky, for the South Carolina Democratic Party and in the nonprofit community. He is a graduate of Centre College in Danville, Ky.

He just wants to eat

You would think that the guy buying you lunch would at least get to eat.

But that was not the case – at least not right away – for Gov.-elect Mike Pence on Thursday when he visited Hall’s Original Drive-In in Fort Wayne.

“They didn’t feed me at the last stop, and I’ve heard this place has fabulous food, so I’d kinda really like to eat,” Pence told the crowd.

That was at about 11:45 a.m. Forty-five minutes later, and after buying lunch for more than two dozen people, Pence was still shaking hands and posing for photos as his staff – carrying carry-out meals – was trying to herd him out the door.

Pence got so desperate he stole a french fry from one diner, who said he was happy to share as long as he liked the fries extra crispy.

As if being hungry amid a crowd of people eating weren’t bad enough, they even made him tour the kitchen and meet the restaurant staff.

At least he got to eat in the car, but the situation raises the question: After that kind of a wait, would even Hall’s famous Big Buster burger be enough to eat?

Dan Stockman of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by e-mail, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.

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