The Journal Gazette
Sunday, March 14, 2021 1:00 am

Pence working locally? 'Employer' coy

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

Late night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel recently mentioned local retailer Mattress Warehouse in a joke about former Vice President Mike Pence.

“Poor Mike Pence,” Kimmel said. “You know Mike Pence works at a mattress store now? It's true. He's selling Sealy Posturepedics at a Mattress Warehouse in Fort Wayne, Indiana.”

Francine Good, owner of the local Fort Wayne Mattress Warehouse locations, had this to say: “I can neither confirm nor deny that the former vice president of the United States is an employee at one of our Mattress Warehouse locations ... but I can tell you that we have very high standards for employment at Mattress Warehouse.”

Good went on to say, “In all seriousness, everyone, regardless of political affiliation, deserves a good night's sleep. And I can confirm that we do have a pretty incredible selection of Sealy Posturepedics, so come see for yourself. Never know who you might run into.”

New party leaders

New officers were selected for the Allen County Republican and Democratic parties.

During the Allen County Democratic Party's reorganization meeting last weekend, Derek Camp was elected chairman. He replaces outgoing chairwoman Misti Meehan, who told The Journal Gazette in late January she planned to step down. Allen County Councilwoman Sheila Curry-Campbell was selected vice chairwoman. She replaces former vice chairman Brandon Blumenherst. MaryClare Akers and Michael Fuller will serve as party secretary and treasurer, respectively.

Akers replaces former secretary Karen Eller. Fuller replaces former treasurer Jennifer Thompson.

For the GOP, as Political Notebook reported Feb. 28, longtime Chairman Steve Shine will retain his position as head of the county party. Fort Wayne City Clerk Lana Keesling was elected vice chair and Fort Wayne Police Department spokeswoman Sofia Rosales-Scatena will serve as the party's new secretary. Robert Lee was reelected as party treasurer.

In late February, Shine noted all of the candidates were running unopposed.

“I'm very grateful to the Allen County Republican precinct committeemen and women for allowing me to serve yet another four years as chairman of Indiana's premier political organization,” Shine said in a March 6 video message posted to the party's Facebook page.

Teachers, you're up

After weeks of Fort Wayne Community Schools board members urging parents to contact their legislators about public school funding, President Anne Duff is encouraging teachers to do the same.

Duff last week said educators can shed light on the importance of complexity funding – the state dollars schools get to better support students whose families receive welfare and food stamps.

She relayed stories from teachers describing the needs of students living in poverty compared to those living in middle-class and affluent families.

One teacher taught twin sisters who attended school on alternate days because they had only one pair of shoes to share.

The teacher bought them shoes.

Another set of siblings planned to walk home after an event at school ended at 11 p.m., but a teacher offered them a ride. Once at their house, the teacher asked the students to turn on a light to indicate they got inside safely, but they said they couldn't because they didn't have electricity. The family couldn't pay their bill. It was December.

Teachers also told Duff about students affected by violence, including children who saw family members get shot and killed and children who survived wounds.

“Obviously, complexity funding isn't going to change these issues, but this is just tip of the iceberg of what children in these situations deal with daily and why it is more challenging and more costly to educate children living in poverty,” Duff said. “Teachers, remember to share your stories. They're important.”

March Gladness

Two Fort Wayne City Council members will trade political points for 3-pointers this month for a fundraiser to support Lighthouse Biblical Recovery Center.

City Councilmen Jason Arp, R-4th, and Tom Didier, R-3rd, are participating in March Gladness to raise money for the faith-based drug addiction treatment center. The councilmen are two of nine people who will compete in a basketball shootout March 31 at Spies Field House.

“We'll be shooting some hoops. I'll be competing against my fellow council member there. I need to get to the gym and make sure I can still shoot a jump shot,” Arp said, laughing.

Chuckling, Didier replied that he needs “to get myself in gear, because you're probably way ahead of me.”

Those who wish to donate may do so online at

Dave Gong of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Niki Kelly at Political Notebook can be found at

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Top headlines are sent daily