Political Notebook

Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Katrina Newman, marketing manager for Jefferson Pointe, guides Mayor Tom Henry around the mall Thursday during the mayor’s “business walk.”

Shine hopes GOP change lands convention

– Fort Wayne could be in line to host the next state Republican convention.

The Indiana Republican Party is seeking to change a longtime rule that requires conventions be held in Indianapolis.

Democrats altered a similar rule and held the state Democratic convention in Fort Wayne in 2012.

There are no state conventions – or elections – this year.

Allen County GOP Chairman Steve Shine said he approached state party officials several months ago after seeing the Democratic convention in Fort Wayne last year.

If Fort Wayne is awarded the convention, “We will make every effort to set the gold standard for what conventions will be like in the future,” he said, noting it would be held at Grand Wayne Center.

“We will build it if they come,” Shine said.

Pete Seat, spokesman for the Indiana Republican Party, said when approached Chairman Eric Holcomb “thought it was a great idea to try to spread the wealth.”

The rules committee is expected to approve the change soon, and then discussion will start on what city.

Seat said he expects other cities might also make a bid when they realize the possibility.

Ultimately, Holcomb will decide in the coming months where the convention will be held, in consultation with the Indiana Republican State Committee.

Phillip Stoller, the 3rd District vice chairman from Wells County, said it’s always good to move around and incorporate new people in the party.

“If everyone gets their turn maybe some new people could enter into the discussion,” he said. “I am excited about it.”

Seat said he isn’t worried about losing attendance, noting it could move around to other areas of the state and also be held in Indianapolis.

“It all evens out. I think the incentive to expand the reach and take it elsewhere outweighs the small grumbling over the distance for some folks,” he said.

The 2014 convention is about a year away.

New stress relief

You won’t make it long as a mayor if you don’t have the gift of gab. Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry definitely has it.

During a “business walk” Thursday at Jefferson Pointe, where the mayor gets feedback from businesses and residents, one of the first stops was Mainstream Boutique, a women’s clothing shop. Standing near a table of pastel-colored bras, Henry bantered with the store’s Becky Glaser.

“Before you were mayor, we went to one of your, uh … ” Glaser began.

“Fundraisers, I hope,” the mayor finished for her.

“Yes, a fundraiser,” Glaser said.

“Good! Now I like you even more,” Henry quipped.

But even Henry was caught speechless at hair and skin care shop Aveda, where the staff wrapped his hands in steaming, aromatic towels and then rubbed them with lavender-infused stress-relieving cream.

He recovered quickly, though.

“So this relieves stress?” Henry asked. “I thought just getting rid of City Council would do that.”

New deputy director

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, announced Thursday he has named Allison McSherry as his deputy district director.

She will work with Stutzman’s district director, Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, on strategic planning, community outreach and other constituent services.

McSherry had been southwest district director, working out of Stutzman’s Winona Lake office in Kosciusko County. That will remain her home office, but she will travel throughout the district, Stutzman’s office said.

The deputy district director is a new position on Stutzman’s staff.

“She brings a wealth of institutional knowledge to her role that will serve her well as we seek to meet the needs of Hoosiers in northeast Indiana,” Stutzman said in a written statement.

McSherry is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame and earned a master’s of business administration from Indiana Tech.

Stutzman’s office said she is a graduate of the Hoosier Congressional Policy Leadership Series and a board member of the Kosciusko County Community Foundation, Kids Market Inc. and Sacred Heart Home and School Association. She is a member of the Transportation and Logistics Initiative for OrthoWorx and is a member of committees with the Kosciusko Economic Development Corp.

Wisconsin governor

The Indiana Republican Party announced Monday that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will be the keynote speaker at the organization’s July 9 summer dinner.

Details on the dinner will be released in coming weeks, the GOP said in a statement.

State Republican Chairman Eric Holcomb said in a statement that Walker “is a nationally recognized reformer, a respected voice within our party and the only governor in U.S. history to defeat a recall.”

A year ago, Walker easily won a recall election forced by organized labor and Democrats upset with the governor after he and Republican-majority lawmakers ended collective bargaining rights for most public employees. In 2011, the Wisconsin Statehouse was the site of massive demonstrations by Walker’s opponents and supporters.

Walker, 45, was elected Wisconsin governor in 2010 after eight years as Milwaukee County executive.

Dan Stockman of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

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