State Democrats issued a message from former U.S. Rep. and State Rep. Baron Hill last weekend proclaiming, Yes, Democrats Won in Indiana. While Hill set the record straight on some issues related to the Nov. 6 election, other statements were a stretch.
First, Hill was correct about the significance of Glenda Ritz’ victory over Tony Bennett for Indiana superintendent of public instruction and Republican attempts to downplay Bennett’s loss.
Glenda Ritz is the first Democrat to win this office in forty (40) years, Hill wrote. Anyone who doesn’t believe that this was not a rejection of Governor Daniels’ and Tony Bennett’s education reforms is insulting the voters. The legislature and Governor-elect (Mike) Pence should take note.
And Hill rightly notes that Joe Donnelly scored a significant win over Richard Mourdock for U.S. Senate and that his victory can be attributed to his moderate policy positions and a rejection of extreme conservatism, stances that reflect the common-sense Hoosier way.
But Hill doesn’t mention that Republicans now hold more than two-thirds of the seats in both the Indiana House and Senate, providing the GOP with a walkout-proof hold. And he takes pride that Democrats won two congressional races, with voters choosing Pete Visclosky and Andre Carson as the senior members of our Congressional delegation. True, but Republicans won the other seven seats, and both Visclosky and Carson represent heavily Democratic districts.
Public records fight
Today, the Indiana Court of Appeals has the opportunity to put some teeth in Indiana’s public records law, but history is not on the side of the public.
Seth Anderson, a Huntington County resident who finished last among eight candidates for county council in this year’s GOP primary, is attempting to get government emails containing public information of four Huntington County employees, including Commissioners Tom Wall, Karl Hurlburt and Kathy Branham, from Sept. 1, 2011, to Jan. 15, 2012.
State law is clear that such records maintained by the county are public.
Yet the Indiana public access counselor, an appointee of the governor who has tended to side with government officials over the public, has deemed the request vague, saying it does not identify the records sought with reasonable particularity. To meet that requirement, the access counselor believes, a person making the request must identify both the sender and the receiver. In other words, someone wishing to peruse the public record of a government agency has to already know what records exist before asking for them.
One last ride
It’s hard to believe now, but in 2003, while Republican insiders knew of Mitch Daniels, many Hoosiers voters did not. In a brilliant campaign, Daniels’ travels across the state in a recreational vehicle were a major step in building name recognition prior to his 2004 election.
On Wednesday, Daniels is planning a final trip in RV-1, traveling from the Statehouse to Elkhart, where the RV will be displayed at a museum.