Political Notebook

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    A staff assistant for Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., is among the 50 “most beautiful” people on Capitol Hill, according to the Hill, a Washington government and politics publication.
  • GOP treasurer candidate leaving state post
    Republican State Treasurer candidate Kelly Mitchell is leaving her position Friday as director of TrustINdiana in order to focus more time on her campaign.
  • GOP finds Bayh, Hogsett, unrecognizable
    Indiana Republicans recently sent their intern out to have a little fun with the possible candidacies of Democrats Joe Hogsett for Indianapolis mayor and Evan Bayh for governor.
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Associated Press
Gov. Mike Pence heads out Friday from the Statehouse during his first Ride with the Governor event that was started in 2005 by Mitch Daniels.

Pence hits road with fellow motorcyclists

Gov. Mike Pence led a sea of motorcyclists out of the Statehouse on Friday morning for a 100-mile ride benefiting the National Guard Relief Fund.

It was the ninth annual Ride with the Governor, which was begun by Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2005. Hundreds of bikers participate every year.

Pence, wearing a blue polo and worn cowboy boots, said he grew up riding motorcycles as a kid but hadn’t been on one since his college days. As a result, he went through the ABATE of Indiana’s motorcycle safety program in recent weeks.

Pence joked about “keeping it between the lines” and praised the exceptional training he received.

“I hope that’s in evidence today,” he said.

Three lawmakers also joined the group, along with State Treasurer Richard Mourdock. There were three stops on the tour, including one for an economic development announcement in Connersville.

Working for free

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, is among at least 91 members of Congress who have said they will either donate their pay to charity or have it withheld during the partial federal government shutdown, according to the Washington Post.

Stutzman’s staff said Tuesday that he had asked the House administrative office to withhold his salary after Congress failed to extend appropriations into fiscal year 2014, which began Tuesday.

The Post has identified 46 Republicans and 45 Democrats who have indicated they will forgo pay or donate it during the shutdown. The only Indiana congressman other than Stutzman to do so was Rep. Todd Young of the Bloomington-based 9th District. Young has said he wants his pay withheld.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has announced he will donate his congressional compensation to the Springfield, Ohio-based Honor Flight Network, a nonprofit group that transports military veterans to Washington, D.C., so they can visit war memorials.

Most members of Congress earn $174,000 a year.

Core opinion

A poll released last week shows that a solid majority of Hoosiers support the Common Core State Standards for school curriculum that are being re-evaluated by the legislature.

The poll came as the last legislative study committee on the subject finished its work, making no recommendations.

Public Opinion Strategies, a firm that has polled for the Indiana Republican Party, surveyed 500 likely voters on behalf of Stand for Children. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.38 percent.

Fewer than one in five voters said they had seen, read or heard “a lot” about Common Core standards. That led the pollster to read a brief description – which does not include any criticism being leveled at the standards and doesn’t point out that a number of states have pulled out or are reconsidering the standards:

“The Common Core State Standards have been adopted by forty-five states, including Indiana, which participated in their development with state governors, state school chiefs, and teachers involved in writing and reviewing them.

“The goal of the standards is to help all students have the knowledge and skills they need in English and math and that students would be held to consistent standards so that they will be prepared for their next steps after high school, whether they choose a college or career path.”

After hearing that description, 68 percent of those polled favored them, with 24 percent opposed.

The vast majority of Hoosiers – 89 percent – say the public education system in Indiana needs change.

Common Core was adopted in 2010 under the leadership of former Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett. The General Assembly placed it under review this year after concerns were raised by parents and other groups about the standards.

The Indiana State Board of Education has the final say on whether to adopt the standards.

To reach Political Notebook, email Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/political notebook.

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