Thursday, June 4, 2015


Indiana Talks Poll:  John Gregg, Glenda Ritz or Karen Tallian?

Who will rise to the top as the cream of the crop? 

As the Democratic party sets the stage for a true Democratic Primary to lead up to the Governor's race against the likely battle scarred, Mike Pence, it is time to address some questions and issues the eventual Democratic nominee must answer for Hoosiers.  Currently, three Democrats (John Gregg, Karen Tallian, and Glenda Ritz) will seek the nod from the Democratic Party.  Each one has been battle tested in their own way, each has more experience in their little finger than Pence has in his entire political career.  All three will bring something to Hoosiers that the GOP has not been able to deliver in years, economic stability and basic equal rights for ALL.  Let us first discuss each potential candidate and their strongest probable platform item.  Then let us look at what a Democratic platform must include going forward in order to impact the most Hoosier voters in a general election against the the probable GOP candidate and wounded incumbent, Pence.
The Democratic Primary Candidates

John Gregg, 2012 Democratic candidate, is a supporter of the now repealed common construction wage law.  The "man with the mustache" had been a champion of labor unions and a strong proponent of maintaining state recognition of labor unions as a means of supporting the middle class worker.  This is a strong base, but proved not enough to get past Pence in 2012.  How will he increase his voter base, answer questions truthfully about his ties to ALEC and Wall Street, and address the issues below?

Karen Tallian, the Democratic Party's "Marijuana Princess" of the Indiana Senate, supports legalization of medical Marijuana and possibly farther reaching expansion of legalization in the future, as well as a perspective on women's issues regarding healthcare access and abortion rights.  Senator Tallian has also come out as a strong supporter of Democratic Superintendent Glenda Ritz due to the constant attacks on public education during the recent legislative session, but one may wonder if that support was her setting up possible voters for a potential primary run.

Glenda Ritz, Superintendent of Public Instruction, was elected in 2012 as the only Democrat voted into State office.  Ritz garnered more votes than Pence with 1.3M plus supporters on election day over incumbent Superintendent Tony Bennett.  Superintendent Ritz has been a strong proponent of public schools, has cleaned up the messes and mistakes of the Bennett administration,  and weathered many attacks from the appointed State Board of Education and the GOP supermajority.  She has proven time and again to be a steadfast supporter of children and families when it comes to Indiana's Public schools, has displayed a welcoming acceptance of the Hoosier LGBT community, and has a focus on jobs and economic growth, but is her platform multifaceted enough to tackle the issues a Governor will need to address?

Issues they MUST tackle

1 - The number one issue all candidates will need to address is RFRA and LGBT protections statewide.  The disaster created by this unnecessary and discriminatory law stirred up many Hoosiers who call the supposed "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" nothing more than bigoted discrimination against the LGBT community.  The public outrage and business push forced a "fix" to the law, but that fix was a mere bandaid over a wound much larger than recognized, and the bleeding still has not stopped.  A Democratic platform, MUST contain a true goal and push for securing equal rights and protections for all LGBT Hoosiers in State law.

2 - Transparency and true ethics reform are issues facing elected officials across the country, and Indiana is not immune.  There must be clear laws calling for transparency in dealings of elected officials and reforms calling for stiff punishments for ethics violations that go beyond a simple "slap on the wrist".  It is time our elected officials are held accountable as normal citizens are for violating the laws of the state.

3 - Education related issues are always a must to be addressed, and 2016 is no exception.  After the onslaught of attacks on Indiana's Public schools over the past 12 years it is time to stop the destruction of public schools to the benefit of private and charter schools, and put appropriate financial support back in the hands of our public schools more equitibly and with more focus on teaching and less emphasis on testing and privatization.

4 - Reforms of the BMV, Department of Transportation, and infrastructure of highways and interstates is another major issue facing all candidates.  The BMV has faced questionable financial issues of late, the Department of transportation faces much scrutiny over leased toll roads and questionable response times to snow removal, and wasted time on upgrades and improvements to existing roads as well as financing new highways like the nearly $3 billion dollar I-69 project.

5 - Balancing a budget that will meet Hoosier needs and not the pet projects of select legislators.  The budget needs to be one that is less of a spending burden on tax payers yet puts needed resources back into public schools, public housing, welfare assistance, and healthcare expansion as well as cutting frivolous spending on pork barrel projects proposed by ALEC and Wall Street CEOs.

6 - Job growth and economic stability are important factors in maintaining the Hoosier population, as many young families move away to find more economic stability securing better incomes.  A strong and knowledgeable candidate must have a clear cut plan for growing jobs and increasing economic growth across the state to keep Hoosier families in Indiana and avoid more relocation out of state.

Other issues will need to be addressed to secure the nomination of either party, like stopping attacks on employee unions, women's rights to healthcare choices, and affordable education for all, but the main issues above are MUST agenda items for the Democratic Party to secure a win over the stagnant, bigoted, and discriminatory GOP in 2016.