Political Notebook

  • Shepard to receive democracy award
    The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site has announced Randall T. Shepard of Evansville as the recipient of the 2014 Advancing American Democracy Award.
  • Stutzman ready for a real recess
    Congress is off the month of August for a "district work period," but its members and the media still refer to such breaks as "recess."
  • Liz Brown gets 4 endorsements
    Liz Brown, the Republican running for the Senate District 15 seat, announced four endorsements Thursday.
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Associated Press
Gov. Mike Pence, shown last week at the Republican Governors Association conference, avoided quelling rumors about a possible 2016 presidential bid.

Pence still coy on 2016 political plans

Gov. Mike Pence ducked an opportunity last week to quash rumors that he might be interested in running for president – not governor – in 2016.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Pence was coy about his future political plans at the Republican Governors Association’s annual meeting in Phoenix.

An Indiana political blogger recently quoted an unnamed Pence adviser as saying the governor will seek a second term and isn’t fundraising for a presidential race.

Pence’s response?

“I don’t believe I was quoted in that story,” he said, according to the Post article. “What I can tell you on the record is I haven’t spent one second thinking about any other job than the one I got elected to do in 2012.”

Pence is a former congressman and conservative favorite who briefly considered running for president in 2012 before ultimately deciding to run for governor.

He focused on the work that states are doing to solve the problems the country is facing.

“When I look at 2016, and I don’t have a candidate that I’m backing, I’m going to be looking not for somebody that says I want to go to Washington, D.C., and run it like I ran where I came from,” Pence is quoted in the Washington Post.

“I want somebody that says I’m going to go to Washington, D.C., and make it more possible for the next person running where I came from to do it with more freedom and flexibility.”

Feeding food banks

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., announced Wednesday that he donated to Indiana food banks the net pay he received during the partial federal government shutdown in October.

His after-taxes compensation from the Senate amounted to $5,000 during the 16 days the government suspended some operations until Congress reached a deal to extend appropriations into fiscal year 2014 and raise the national debt ceiling.

Donnelly said he was giving the money to 10 food banks that benefit needy Hoosiers, including Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana.

The shutdown “was irresponsible and shameful – Congress creating problems for our economy instead of solving them – so I thought it was inappropriate for me to take my paycheck for this time,” Donnelly said.

Dermody appointed

House Speaker Brian Bosma last week appointed Rep. Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte, to chair the House Public Policy Committee during the 2014 legislative session.

“Tom is a man of integrity and I am confident that he is the right person for this job,” Bosma said. “Tom has exhibited strength in leadership. … As the chairman of Public Policy, he will deal with tough issues. I have total confidence that Tom will carry out the duties of his new responsibility with honor and fairness.”

The Public Policy Committee hears bills on a variety of tough topics, including gambling, alcohol, abortion and guns.

It will not take up the gay marriage amendment this year. That – if filed – will go through the House Judiciary Committee.

“I am honored by this appointment by the speaker, and I look forward to leading the Public Policy Committee,” Dermody said. “I will work to find common ground on important public policy issues affecting our state. I am eager to serve in this new capacity in order to affect policies that will impact and significantly benefit the lives of all Hoosiers.”

Dermody is replacing Rep. Bill Davis, who resigned his seat to join Gov. Mike Pence’s administration.

Dermody was elected to the legislature in 2006 and is the assistant majority floor leader. In addition to his leadership role, Dermody formerly was on the Ways and Means Committee and continues to serve on the Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee.

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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