The Journal Gazette
Sunday, July 26, 2020 1:00 am

Chamber's DC Fly-in going virtual this year

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is bringing the state's congressional delegation to Hoosier businesses in an upcoming event.

The 2020 D.C. Fly-in will be held virtually from 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 12 and 13. Indiana's 11 delegation members – led by Sens. Todd Young and Mike Braun – have confirmed their participation for at least one of the two moderated sessions. Attendees can submit questions in real time.

“We've put together a program that prioritizes the unprecedented situation we are still in, while also acknowledging that other key matters still need to be addressed,” says Greg Ellis, the Indiana Chamber's vice president of energy, environment and federal affairs.

“With the convenience and safety of the webinar format, we hope to engage a record number of Hoosier business leaders in the Fly-in discussion,” Ellis said.

The first day will center on what else can aid in emerging from the coronavirus pandemic and the longer-term economic recovery. Also on tap will be security concerns and international relations.

Traditional domestic issues such as infrastructure, health care, broadband and fiscal matters will highlight the agenda on day two.

The event is free for Indiana Chamber members and $29.95 for non-members. Register to attend at

Nuns write Braun

More than 150 Hoosier nuns – including 10 from northeast Indiana – are urging U.S. Sen. Mike Braun to support legislation that would help fund health safeguards for voting in the Nov. 3 general election.

The Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice has sent Braun, R-Ind., a letter requesting that he vote in favor of spending $3.6 billion for expanding mail voting, adjusting polling sites for social distancing, recruiting poll workers and providing online options for voter registration. The money is part of coronavirus relief proposed by House Democrats.

“We depend on lawmakers like you to provide our elderly and most vulnerable voters with an assurance that they will at least be able to make their voices heard by safely casting a ballot,” the July 17 letter states.

Signing the letter were 157 Hoosier nuns, including nine from Huntington and one from Fort Wayne. The Huntington nuns are with Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters, and the Fort Wayne nun is with the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis.

“They chose to send to Sen. Braun because he's an influential member of the Joint Committee on Aging and he's Catholic,” Network Lobby spokesman Lee Morrow said in an email. He said the letter was forwarded to Gov. Eric Holcomb and Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson.

Good timing

Shortly before Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday that he was ordering Hoosiers to wear masks outside their homes, Purdue University released the results of a national survey on the perceived role of face coverings in slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Researchers from the agricultural economics departments at Purdue and Oklahoma State University conducted the survey of 1,198 people in June. Their findings included:

• 83% of respondents said masks should play a role in the coronavirus response, and they rated public transportation, grocery stores and schools as the most important places to wear masks.

• 70% said masks help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, with 64% saying masks help prevent wearers from transmitting the virus and 53% saying masks help prevent wearers from catching COVID-19.

• Less than half – 47% – believe the use of masks will help prevent virus-related lockdowns in their communities.

• Residents of states with high numbers of cases before the poll was conducted were more likely to agree that masks would prevent the spread of the virus, while residents of states spiking in case counts in June were more likely to disagree with the importance of masks in preventing transmission.

Shifting views

Two nonpartisan political analysts are calling an Indiana congressional race a toss-up ahead of the Nov. 3 general election.

The Cook Financial Report and Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics have shifted central Indiana's 5th District from leaning Republican to a toss-up in recent weeks. 

Republican Rep. Susan Brooks, a Fort Wayne native, is not seeking re-election in the 5th District. The election matches Christina Hale, a former Democratic state lawmaker from Indianapolis and her party's candidate for lieutenant governor in 2016, and Republican state Sen. Victoria Spartz of Noblesville.

The increasingly suburban district has been represented continuously by Republicans since 1983 – first by Dan Burton, who served 30 years in the House, and then by Brooks, who is in her eighth year. 

The Cook Financial Report and Sabato's Crystal Ball sees no competitive races in Indiana's eight other congressional contests.

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

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