Political Notebook

  • Donnelly stumping for Democratic candidates
    Sen. Joe Donnelly in recent days endorsed David Kolbe in Indiana House District 22, traveled to Iowa to stump for U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley and joined state House District 81 candidate Thad Gerardot for a campaign appearance in downtown
  • Coats, Donnelly donate to campaigns
    Neither of Indiana’s U.S. senators is on the election ballot this year, but that hasn’t stopped them from dipping into their campaign war chests.
  • Boland pledges to donate salary to community
    If elected, Democratic State Treasurer candidate Mike Boland would donate his salary to the community.

State’s online efforts praised

Indiana was recently recognized by the Center for Digital Government with two Digital Government Achievement Awards and one honorable mention for improving service with citizens and businesses.

Winners included the Bureau of Motor Vehicles website and mobile application; INSPECT, a prescription drug monitoring program; and Indiana Project Information Management, a program used by the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

The national awards are presented to state and local governments that demonstrate outstanding service or innovation and are highly competitive.

The BMV and INSPECT, both award winners, were recognized in the government-to-citizen category. The BMV mobile application allows users to renew vehicle and watercraft registration, driver’s licenses and ID cards and find the nearest license branch.

INSPECT, Indiana’s prescription monitoring program, collects all controlled substance prescription records dispensed to residents from every licensed pharmacy in the state, including retail, nonresident and hospital pharmacies. Information on controlled substances is available to registered health care practitioners through an online database to assist in health care treatment.

The PIMS program received an honorable mention in the government-to-business category. PIMS streamlined the process of tracking new economic development opportunities by creating a repository for documents to be housed in one location for county, business and IEDC employees to access.

“We are proud that our accomplishments, that help Hoosiers, are being recognized nationally,” said Paul Baltzell, Indiana’s chief information officer.

Indiana’s two awards and one honorable mention make it the second-most decorated state, behind California.

The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory organization providing information technology policies and best-practices guidelines for state and local governments. This is the 18th year for the awards program.

Marriage moves

The group fighting a constitutional ban on gay marriage in Indiana announced Monday that Democratic campaign professional Peter Hanscom has been named deputy campaign manager.

He will serve as campaign liaison for Democratic elected officials and leaders across Indiana and work with the Freedom Indiana team to manage constituent outreach and organizing efforts.

In 2012, Hanscom oversaw a data-driven statewide coordinated campaign for the Indiana Democratic Party. He began his career in statewide politics in the 2010 election cycle and has managed statewide voter outreach for the party since then. He is a graduate of the University of Evansville.

“My background is in field organizing and voter outreach, and I’ll be putting those skills to use as we build a strong coalition to support freedom and liberty in Indiana,” Hanscom said.

“This truly is a bipartisan effort that wouldn’t be possible without all of our supporters, and I’m proud to be part of the team that’s working across the aisle to do the right thing for the future of our state.”

Freedom Indiana launched last month with the announcement of a coalition of partners opposed to permanently amending the Indiana Constitution to define marriage.

That coalition includes Indiana businesses such as Eli Lilly and Cummins, community and faith leaders, advocates for fairness, former and current lawmakers and Hoosiers who believe they must take a strong stand for freedom if they want our state and its residents to prosper.

In the coming weeks, Hanscom and campaign manager Megan Robertson, an experienced Republican campaign operative, will be traveling the state to meet with existing coalition partners and establish new relationships with Hoosier families, businesses, faith leaders and elected officials who oppose the amendment.

“We’re working together to build an alliance of Hoosiers who will let lawmakers know they have a responsibility to protect our Constitution and freedom for all Hoosiers,” Hanscom said.

Coats at Bean dinner

U.S. Sen. Dan Coats will make a return appearance as the keynote speaker at this year’s Allen County Republican Party Bean Dinner.

Coats also was the keynote speaker at the 2009 Bean Dinner.

Tim Berry, chairman of the Indiana GOP, also will appear at this year’s fundraising dinner, which will be at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15 in the Diamond Room of Ceruti’s Summit Park, 6601 Innovation Blvd.

Coats, R-Ind., was elected to the Senate in 2010 and is a member of the Appropriations, Intelligence, Commerce and Joint Economic committees.

He was a senator from 1989 through 1998 and a member of the House for most of the 1980s after working for a Fort Wayne insurance company and on the staff of then-Sen. Dan Quayle. Coats also is a former U.S. ambassador to Germany.

Fort Wayne native Berry has been state GOP chairman since July. He has been state auditor, state treasurer and Allen County treasurer.

Dinner admission is $60 a person. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and a cash bar will be available. Reservations are due Oct. 8.

A VIP reception will be from 5:30 to 6:30 in the Summit Room. Admission is $120 a person and includes dinner.

Bean Dinner speakers in recent years have included Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

GOP polls for Pence

Hoosiers gave Gov. Mike Pence a 60 percent approval rating for his first eight months on the job in a newly released poll.

Voters from different beliefs and backgrounds agree, as Pence’s majority approval spanned demographic and socioeconomic subgroups. This includes 42 percent of Democrats and 32 percent of Hoosiers who did not vote for him in the 2012 election.

“Hoosiers continue to support our efforts to make Indiana the State that Works,” said Indiana Republican Party State Chairman Tim Berry.

“This poll confirms what I have been hearing on the ground, all around the state, that Indiana Republicans represent the right track and Hoosiers recognize we are keeping our promise to fight for more jobs, less debt, lower taxes and better schools each and every day.”

The poll was commissioned by the Indiana Republican Party and surveyed 800 registered Indiana voters Sept. 12-15.

A news release said voters supported key Republican policies such as the A-F school accountability system and prioritizing career and technical education in Indiana high schools.

To reach Political Notebook, email 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.