Political Notebook

  • Daniels' near-presidential run dissected
    In the end, it was the lure of playing the hallowed grounds of Augusta National Golf Club that brought then-Gov. Mitch Daniels and a tight-knit group of friends and supporters together in the fall of 2009 to discuss whether he should run for
  • 2 Hoosiers named to U.S. House Energy Committee
    Reps. Susan Brooks, R-5th, and Larry Bucshon, R-8th, have been named to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee for the 114th Congress.
  • Indiana House sets leaders for session
    The Indiana House has tapped leadership and committee chairs for the 2015 General Assembly.

Long-term tenant vacates Hart 306

The next senator to occupy 306 Hart Senate Office Building will be just the second.

It has been the office of Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., whose Senate career ended with Thursday’s swearing-in ceremony for new senators. Lugar lost the GOP primary election to state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who was defeated in the general election by Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd.

Lugar “is the only senator to have occupied Hart 306,” spokesman Andy Fisher said this week in an email. “He was forced to move from his Dirksen (building) office when the Hart building opened in January 1983 – 30 years ago.”

At the time, Lugar was starting the second of what would be six six-year terms, by far the longest career of any senator from Indiana. The Hart building was named for Sen. Philip Hart, D-Mich., who died in office in December 1976, not long after Lugar was first elected to the Senate.

Lugar’s final vote in the chamber Tuesday – in favor of the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which extended income-tax cuts for most Americans – was the 13,067th of his career, Fisher said, ranking him 10th in the history of the Senate, which dates to 1789.

Fisher noted that Lugar has served with all nine senators ahead of him in the number of votes cast.

The late Robert Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat, leads the list with 18,689 votes. With Lugar’s departure and the recent death of Hawaii Democrat Daniel Inouye, the only current senator in the top 10 is Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, who ranks seventh with 14,066 votes cast.

Fisher said Lugar compiled a 98.27 percent voting attendance record.

Shine gets gig

With a background in radio and a voice as smooth as polyester, he was the natural choice.

Allen County Republican Party Chairman Steve Shine will be the Master of Ceremonies for the Inaugural Ball Jan. 12 celebrating the inauguration of incoming Gov. Mike Pence.

The sold-out event at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis is expected to draw about 3,000 people.

Shine said he’s not certain what exactly his duties will be, but he was humbled and honored to be asked by Pence to take the position.

The ball is just one item on three days’ worth of activities culminating with the inauguration ceremony itself outside at the Statehouse on Jan. 14.

Wrapped in Carmel

An Indiana company supplied the full-size image of the U.S. Supreme Court building that has been used as a facade wrap during renovations at the Washington, D.C., landmark.

Inside Indiana Business and the Indiana Law Blog each reported this week that Top Value Fabrics of Carmel made the “mesh banner media” that replicates and covers the front of the high court. The image is wrapped over scaffolding.

The Supreme Court wrap “allows this iconic building to remain recognizable throughout the restoration for tourists and local residents alike,” company President Chris Fredericks said in a news release.

Top Value Fabrics also produces banner media used for stadium wraps, event banners and murals.

How authentic is the Supreme Court banner? Judge for yourself: We have reposted a photo that shows Allen Superior Judge John Surbeck standing in front of the court on Nov. 15. The Journal Gazette noted at the time that Surbeck was in front of an image of the court.

Surbeck returned to the building that evening to receive the annual William H. Rehnquist Award, presented by the National Center for State Courts to recognize judicial excellence.

Surbeck was honored for his work in starting and promoting the Allen County Re-Entry Court, which allows for the early release of prison inmates in exchange for closer court supervision.


Sculptor Jon Hair has been selected to create bronze busts of James Sidney Hinton and Julia Carson for the Indiana Statehouse permanent historic sculpture collection.

Sidney Hinton was the first black elected to the Indiana General Assembly in 1880.

Carson had a long career of public service, which culminated with her tenure as a U.S. congresswoman for Indiana from 1997 to 2007.

“I very much admire these two individuals who accomplished so much. It is an honor for me to capture their likenesses, which I hope will inspire people to make their own contributions to Indiana history,” Hair said in accepting the commissions.

The Indiana General Assembly has mandated a black history display in the Indiana Statehouse. The Indiana Department of Administration and its partners, with the concurrence of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus, determined that this public art legacy project should be created and installed in the building.

The Indiana Arts Commission, the Indiana Historical Bureau, and the Indiana Department of Administration coordinated the artist selection process.

Hair, whose studio is located in North Carolina, was selected from 19 artists who competed for the job. No information on payment was released.

Dan Stockman of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, 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.