The Journal Gazette
 
 
Sunday, June 28, 2020 1:00 am

Hill's endorser linked to scandal

BRIAN FRANCISCO and NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

One recent endorsement of Attorney General Curtis Hill didn't surprise anyone.

Lobbyist Tony Samuel is a Republican state delegate in Marion County who was vice chairman of the 2016 Indiana Trump campaign. Hill notes that Samuel has been involved in Indiana Republican politics since 1992 in a wide variety of roles on campaigns and in state government. Samuel also appears regularly as a panelist for “IN Focus,” a political issues program broadcast by Indianapolis TV stations.

But what Hill doesn't mention is that Samuel is the lobbyist who invited Hill to the now infamous Sine Die party in March 2018, after paying for Hill's food and drinks at two other downtown Indianapolis restaurants.

The party is where Hill groped four women, according to the Indiana Supreme Court, which suspended Hill's law license for 30 days. Samuel testified in support of Hill during his disciplinary hearing.

Now Samuel is behind Hill's reelection effort, saying: “We cannot now afford to lose a proven, principled champion of conservative causes, so I will be voting for Curtis Hill and am proud to endorse him for another four-year term as Indiana's attorney general. Curtis Hill is the type of leader that will stand up and fight for what is right.”

Hill is being challenged for the GOP nomination for attorney general by Decatur County Prosecutor Nate Harper; former congressman and former Indiana secretary of state Todd Rokita; and John Westercamp, a Zionsville attorney. Republican delegates have until July 9 to submit their completed ballots to tabulators.

Delegates chosen

The Indiana Democratic Party has released the names of the party's 109 delegates who will attend the Democratic National Convention, scheduled Aug. 17-20 in Milwaukee.

They include 55 congressional district-level delegates who were elected by Democratic state delegates. In northeast Indiana's 3rd Congressional District, the delegates are Patti Hays of Fort Wayne, Melissa Cook of Warsaw, Indiana House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta of Fort Wayne, Michael Fuller of Fort Wayne and Xeryus Johnson of Fort Wayne.

“We are excited and pleased to have a diverse representation for CD3. We're sure they will represent us well from their different perspectives and experiences,” Misti Meehan, chairwoman of the party's 3rd District organization, said in an email.

Cindy Henry, wife of Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, is among seven automatic and unpledged delegates. She is a member of the Democratic National Committee.

State Democratic Chairman John Zody said in a statement that the entire delegation is “the most diverse delegation” the Hoosier party has sent to a national convention.

“Our party draws its strength from its diversity of perspectives. We make progress when every voice has a seat at the table,” Zody said.

Water for Andrews

Democratic congressional nominee Chip Coldiron joined volunteers who distributed water Thursday to residents of the Huntington County town of Andrews.

County officials recently told residents to stop using the municipal water supply after it tested well above federal standards for vinyl chloride, an industrial gas associated with increased risks of liver, brain, lung and blood cancers.

Coldiron's campaign on Friday said that in just over 24 hours, it was able to coordinate the donation of more than 175 cases of water bottles and 20 one-gallon jugs of water for residents of the town west of Huntington.

Friday's statement also said the campaign is committing to coordinating additional donations on at least a monthly basis “until elected officials step up and address the issue.”

“We are organizing a volunteer effort to ensure anyone in the community, even those hesitant to engage with a political campaign, feel empowered to join our efforts to help our neighbors in Andrews.”

Contact information for volunteers who sign up to help Andrews will remain separate unless they specifically indicate they would like to be included on future communications. Anyone interested in helping can sign up at coldiron.link/donate.

Coldiron, a high school science teacher from Ossian, is challenging Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Columbia City in northeast Indiana's 3rd Congressional District.

Andrews' government has sued Raytheon Technologies Corp., Lear Corporation EEDS and Interiors, and CP Product Group, accusing them of contaminating the groundwater aquifer that supplies water to municipal wells “by dumping and spilling hazardous chemicals” at the factory formerly operated by United Technologies, which merged this year with Raytheon.

The suit requests that the defendants provide bottled water to town residents, install new municipal wells and upgrade equipment that removes contamination in the factory.

Summer school

Indiana lawmakers have gotten their summer homework assignments.

Every year, the General Assembly assigns topics to summer study committees for further review. They typically wrap up in the fall, sometimes – but rarely – making specific recommendations for the regular legislative session starting in January.

House Speaker Todd Huston recently announced the committees that northeast Indiana lawmakers will serve on:

Rep. Dave Abbott, R-Rome City – Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs; Board of Trustees of the State Museum and Historic Sites Corporation

Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne – Chairman of Committee on Commerce and Economic Development; Committee on Employment and Labor; Environmental Adjudication Director Selection Panel

Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne – Governor's Security Council; Legislative Council

Rep. Chris Judy, R-Fort Wayne – Committee on Elections; Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs

Rep. Martin Carbaugh, R-Fort Wayne – Chairman of Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance; Committee on Pension Management Oversight

Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne – Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance; Legislative Council; Chairman Oral History Project Advisory Committee

Rep. Dennis Zent, R-Angola – Chairman of Committee on Government; Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health and Human Services

Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn – Chairman of Committee on Public Policy

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

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

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

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 be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.


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