Political Notebook

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    A Bishop Dwenger High School graduate was one of four deputy chiefs of staff tapped by Gov. Mike Pence last week. Sean Keefer will serve as deputy chief of staff of executive branch agencies.
  • Messer wants GOP leadership position
    Another Hoosier seeks a leadership post with the U.S. House Republican caucus.
  • Lugar Series taking applications
    The Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series, a political leadership development course for Republican women, is taking applications for its next class until Aug. 1.
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Shutdown keeps Coats from local GOP festivities

The government shutdown has quashed U.S. Sen. Dan Coats’ return appearance as the keynote speaker at this year’s Allen County Republican Party Bean Dinner.

“The way it looks right now he won’t be attending because of what is going on in Washington, D.C.,” Allen County GOP Chairman Steve Shine said. Indiana Republican Party Chairman Tim Berry already was scheduled to appear at this year’s fundraising dinner and still will speak to the crowd.

Shine also said Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma has been added to the list of speakers, and Marsha Coats will attend as well. “The show will go on full strength with a cavalcade of speakers,” he said, noting there are already 400 reservations for the event.

The dinner will be 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Diamond Room of Ceruiti’s Summit Park, 6601 Innovation Blvd. Dinner admission is $60 a person. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and a cash bar will be available.

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

Cost guidance

State agencies recently received a memo on cost-saving measures from the Indiana Office of Management and Budget that included guidance on spending federal funds first and not buying food or drinks for office gatherings.

The Sept. 30 directive said tax collections have lagged during the first quarter of the fiscal year, making it more important than ever for agencies to hit a reversion target of 3 percent.

Agencies must return 3 percent of their budgets to the general fund at the end of the fiscal year in June to help maintain an annual surplus of $150 million, the memo said.

To help meet that goal, OMB has issued a number of policies:

•Spend dedicated and federal funds before state dollars.

•Don’t send mail to other agencies; use interoffice mail or email.

•If paper copies are required, print double-sided. Also, no color copies for internal meetings.

•Agencies should analyze the number of subscriptions to periodicals or journals, and have employees share one copy when possible.

•No furniture purchases.

•Agencies should not provide refreshments or light meals for the office, on-campus meetings with only state employees present or birthday, holiday, going-away or retirement parties.

“This list should not be taken as an exhaustive list of cost savings measures,” the memo said. “As always, agencies should conserve all tax dollars as if expense was coming out of their own pocket. After all, we are all taxpayers!”

Not the only one

Political Notebook was asked whether Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, is the first Hoosier to receive the “Worst Week in Washington” designation from Chris Cillizza, who writes The Fix, a column on government and politics, for the Washington Post.

Cillizza gave Stutzman the dubious distinction for the lawmaker’s comment recently on the Republican Party’s stance in the impasse about federal spending, raising the country’s debt limit and implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The stalemate has shut down parts of the government since Oct. 1.

“We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is,” Stutzman told the Washington Examiner.

Cillizza wrote, “Democrats, believing that Stutzman had encapsulated everything wrong with the Republican logic regarding the shutdown, pounced on the remark.” President Barack Obama “went on a lengthy riff on Stutzman’s comments during a speech in Maryland,” Cillizza noted.

Stutzman is not the only Indiana politician to have gotten the “Worst Week” treatment since Cillizza started it in May 2010. On May 10, 2012, Cillizza bestowed it on 36-year incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., who had just been clobbered by challenger Richard Mourdock in Indiana’s GOP primary election.

“What Lugar misunderstood was that legislating and campaigning are very different things. Although bipartisanship is an asset when legislating, it can be a killer in campaigns,” Cillizza wrote at the time.

So Lugar had his “Worst Week in Washington” for being too bipartisan and Stutzman had his for being too partisan.

Kicks

When Fort Wayne City Council attorney Joe Bonahoom described the process for removing the property tax phase-ins for companies that did not live up to their job creation or investment promises, he outlined the appeal process, saying, “They get a second kick at the cat.”

That brought a lot of chuckles from council members and the audience.

But just in case anyone was wondering, Councilman Tom Smith, R-1st, wanted to be clear that Bonahoom was kidding.

“I do want to say that we don’t kick cats,” Smith said. “We love all animals.”

But don’t expect a tax break for cat owners.

Exploring

Warsaw lawyer David Kolbe has formed an exploratory committee for a possible run in November 2014 for the House District 22 seat currently held by Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, R-Syracuse.

Kolbe, a Democrat, has practiced law in Warsaw since 1981, serving as Kosciusko County prosecutor from 1995 to 1998. He also has taught American politics at IPFW for many years.

He has served on numerous community organizations, including the Kosciusko Juvenile Task Force, Kosciusko County Bar Association and Kosciusko County Right to Life. He is married with seven children.

Kubacki has served in the House since 2010. In the 2012 election cycle she easily won re-election.

The district serves parts of Kosciusko and Elkhart counties.

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.

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