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Sunday, September 23, 2018 1:00 am

Long receives Indiana State honor

BRIAN FRANCISCO and NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

Indiana State University honored Senate President Pro Tem David Long for his decades of leadership and service during a reception at Grand Wayne Center in Fort Wayne.

University President Deborah Curtis on Monday presented Long, R-Fort Wayne, the President's Award for Distinguished Public Service and Outstanding Achievement.

A member of the Senate since 1996, Long has been president pro tempore of the Senate since 2006.

“We appreciate Sen. Long's distinguished tenure of legislative leadership and support for public higher education across the state of Indiana,” Curtis said. “Sen. Long's interest in and support for Indiana State University goes back a long way, and we are so grateful.”

Among other duties, Long is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Senate, appointing all committee chairs and assigning legislation to the various Senate committees. He is set to retire Nov. 6.

A news release said Long has supported higher education, transportation, infrastructure and economic development.

“He was especially helpful with the creation of the Indiana Principal Leadership Institute (IPLI) located on the Indiana State campus,” the release said. “A dozen Allen County educators have participated in the two-year professional development program.”

Before his Senate tenure, Long spent eight years on the Fort Wayne City Council. He continues to practice law and is now a partner at Ice Miller.

Better late than never

A Republican Fort Wayne mayoral candidate questioned Wednesday why city officials did not sooner opt to go with one local health care provider rather than two.

“I'd like to congratulate the Mayor on bringing Fort Wayne into standard business practices that the private sector has been doing for a decade,” Tim Smith, who is running for the Republican nomination next year, said in a statement. “Given that most successful private businesses were doing the same thing 10+ years ago, my question is why did it take the city of Fort Wayne so long to make a small but substantial change that could've been made 10 years ago and saved us $45 million by now?”

City officials announced Monday that employees' insurance options will change starting Jan. 1 to reflect that Parkview Health is the city's exclusive provider. Previously, employees could choose between Lutheran Health Network and Parkview for health care services. The change is expected to save the city $4.5 million annually.

Smith, a businessman, said Monday's announcement is “the tip of the iceberg – just one example of career politicians failing to manage out of control budgets.”

“Forty-five million dollars would go a long way towards paying down our growing debt, improving public safety or strengthening our infrastructure,” Smith wrote in his statement.

Smith is running against City Councilman John Crawford, R-at large, in the May 2019 primary election for the Republican mayoral nomination.

Going to Washington

Fort Wayne resident Dana Georges will be among nearly 700 people who will lobby members of Congress this week on behalf of the American Cancer Society.

The activists, who include cancer patients and survivors, seek an increase in federal funding for cancer research and lawmakers' support for legislation that would enhance patients' quality of life and change a provision of Medicare pertaining to colonoscopy coverage.

Georges' husband, Jean, died in 2015 from colon cancer at age 43. Dana Georges has been advocating since then for a cure of colorectal cancer.

The yearly American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Leadership Summit and Lobby Day is today through Tuesday in Washington. Georges will meet with Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, and Sens. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Todd Young, R-Ind., according to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

FOP endorses Zoucha for Senate

Democratic state Senate candidate Kathy Zoucha recently received the endorsement of the Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police.

Zoucha is running in Senate District 15 against incumbent Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne.

The letter to Zoucha from the order said support for her was overwhelming.

“Seldom do we find a candidate of your caliber who has the leadership and integrity to carry out the duties as State Senator. Your support and commitment to Indiana Law Enforcement has not gone unnoticed.”

Other candidate endorsements announced recently include:

• The United Steelworkers union endorsed Courtney Tritch, Democratic challenger to Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Banks in northeast Indiana's 3rd Congressional District.

• The Jewish Democratic Council of America endorsed U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., who is being challenged by Republican Mike Braun and Libertarian Lucy Brenton. 

Dave Gong of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at or Niki Kelly at An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at