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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, July 01, 2018 1:00 am

Group seeks Democratic women

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

An initiative focused on propelling Democratic women into leadership roles in Indiana wants you.

Applications are available through July 13 for the Hoosier Women Forward leadership development program.

“Want to see more women in the Indiana legislature and Congress? Interested in continuing to raise awareness of sexual assault, abuse and discrimination? Believe that equal pay and women heading up major businesses should be the norm? Democratic women across the state who care about these kinds of issues – and many others – are encouraged to apply now,” a news release stated.

The initiative was launched this year, and the group has extended the application deadline by 10 days.

“Too often, women feel like their voices aren't valued, whether it's in the workplace or when the male-dominated Indiana General Assembly is deliberating women's issues,” board Chair Liane Hulka said. “We want to harness the energy and talent that's out there, all across Indiana, and create a powerful, diverse network of engaged Democratic women.”

Hoosier Women Forward will select a group of 20 to 25 Democratic women each year through competitive applications to participate in its nine-month leadership training program. Participants in the inaugural class will be announced in August.

Although women represent more than 50 percent of the voting public in Indiana, only two of the state's 11-member congressional delegation are women, and neither is a Democrat. Women make up just 20 percent of the 150 seats in the Indiana legislature.

Women selected for the training program must demonstrate an interest in public policy, political advocacy and advancing Indiana forward with progressive policies and ideas. The nonprofit will strive to ensure each class has a diverse background of personal and professional life experiences reflecting the economic, geographical, ethnic and cultural diversity in Indiana.

Indiana race called1 to watch by NBC

The political mood of the country will be found in Indiana this fall, according to NBC News journalists.

Chuck Todd, host of “Meet the Press,” and correspondents Mark Murray and Carrie Dann wrote Monday morning on their “First Read” blog that Indiana's U.S. Senate race might be “the best bet” to become “a true bellwether contest about the state of the country in 2018.”

They wrote that Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., lacks “the strong personal and political brand” of other Democratic senators up for re-election in November, while Republican challenger Mike Braun “doesn't have the political baggage of being a 'D.C. insider.' ”

As a result, the Hoosier State's midterm election is “more of a generic Democrat v. Republican ballot than most of the other marquee Senate races elsewhere in the country,” they wrote.

“So, while other races may get more attention because of the larger-than-life national profiles of the candidates or the familiar battleground terrain, look to Indiana for what might be the most instructive contest to show us how the overall political climate is shaping up – and who will control the chamber after voters head to the polls,” the NBC team wrote.

Indiana is among seven states whose Senate races are considered toss-ups by political analysts and will determine which party controls the Senate, where Republicans have a 51-49 advantage.

Summer study assignments listed

State lawmakers will be busy starting this month with summer study committees analyzing a host of topics.

Following is a list of local legislators and their assignments.

Rep. Martin Carbaugh, R-Fort Wayne: Will chair the Interim Study Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance; serve on the Interim Study Committee on Pension Management Oversight.

Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne: Interim Study Committee on Public Policy; Alcohol Code Revision Commission; NCSL 2020 Legislative Summit Host Committee.

Rep. Dave Heine, R-New Haven: Simplified State Sales Tax Administration Delegates.

Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne: Interim Study Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance; Alcohol Code Revision Commission; Oral History Project Advisory Committee.

Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn: Will chair the Interim Study Committee on Public Policy; serve on the Alcohol Code Revision Commission.

Rep. Chris Judy, R-Fort Wayne: Interim Study Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs.

Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington: Native American Indian Affairs Commission.

Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne: Will chair the Interim Study Committee on Commerce and Economic Development; serve on the Interim Study Committee on Employment and Labor; Environmental Adjudication Director Selection Panel.

Rep. Curt Nisly, R-Goshen: Interstate Rail Passenger Advisory Council.

Rep. Dave Wolkins, R-Warsaw: Will chair the Interim Study Committee on Environmental Affairs; serve on the Compliance Advisory Panel.

Rep. Dennis Zent, R-Angola: Interim Study Committee on Government; Interim Study Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health, and Human Services; Indiana Veterans' Affairs Commission.

Rep. Dave Abbott, R-Rome City: Interim Study Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs.

Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn: Interim Study Committee on Education.

Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange: Interim Study Committee on Elections; Interim Study Committee on Government; Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations; Legislative Council.

Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle: Interim Study Committee on Courts and the Judiciary; Interim Study Committee on Fiscal Policy; Simplified State Sales Tax Administration Delegate.

Sen. Andy Zay, R-Huntington: Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code; Midwestern Higher Education Commission; Advisory Board for Principal Institute.

Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne: State Budget Committee; Medicaid Advisory Committee; Interim Study Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health and Human Services; Interim Study Committee on Roads and Transportation; Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

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/politicalnotebook.