Lynching memorial, vacant Sandlin seat, teacher of the year, romance scams

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On Saturday, Rep. Gregory W. Porter, D-Indianapolis, joined representatives from the Indiana Historical Bureau and the Indiana Remembrance Coalition at the northwest corner of Washington and Illinois Streets to dedicate an historic marker at the site where John Tucker, a Black man, was lynched by a group of white men in 1845.

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Rep. Gregory Porter, D-Indianapolis.

Porter: “We can never forget America’s tragic history of anti-Black violence and racism. Despite common perceptions, these tragedies were not just contained to the American southern states. Indiana had over a dozen reported lynchings throughout our state’s history—including the murder of John Tucker right here in downtown Indianapolis. Today, sadly, efforts are being made to censor and erase these dark chapters from our history books. Pretending that lynchings and other racially motivated acts of violence did not happen in our state and our city does not undo the pain that African Americans have felt for generations. We can no longer tolerate African Americans being forced to keep silent about our history to keep others comfortable. To create a better future, we must learn from our past and acknowledge the traumas we have endured, as well as the hurdles many have had to jump through to achieve a semblance of their own American Dream.

“While this ceremony to remember Mr. Tucker will not undo the gross injustice that was done to him over a century ago—nor will it erase the horrific history of lynchings and race-based violence in our country—this is a way for us to say that Mr. Tucker lived here, he was murdered here, and his life mattered. I’d like to thank the Indiana Historical Bureau and the Indiana Remembrance Coalition for their work to honor the memory of Mr. Tucker and giving all of us an opportunity to reflect on the history of the place we live—for better or worse—and giving us hope for a better, more peaceful future.”

On Tuesday, Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Indiana, issued the following statement: 

Spartz leads in 5th District race with thousands of votes to be counted

In this file photo, Republican Victoria Spartz declares victory in the race for the 5th Congressional District over Democrat Christina Hale even though thousands of votes had yet to be counted. 

“I’ve done many very difficult things being one woman standing many times with many very long hours and personal sacrifices, but there is a limitation to human capacity. If Congress does not pass a debt commission this year to move the needle on the crushing national debt and inflation, at least at the next debt ceiling increase at the end of 2024, I will not continue sacrificing my children for this circus with a complete absence of leadership, vision, and spine. I cannot save this Republic alone.”

Indiana Republican Party Chairwoman Anne Hathaway has officially called a caucus of eligible precinct committee members to fill the vacancy in the office of Indiana state senator, District 36. The seat was held by State Sen. Jack Sandlin, whose passing has created an office vacancy.

Anne Hathaway, Indiana Republican Party chair

Anne Hathaway, Indiana Republican Party chair.

From the press release: “The caucus will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023, at 7pm., at the Atrium Banquet and Conference Center, 3143 E. Thompson Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46227. The winner will fill the remainder of the office’s 2020-2024 term. Individuals interested in running in the caucus should contact the Secretary of the Indiana Republican Party to ensure they file the proper forms prior to the deadline, which is 72 hours prior to the vote. 

The Indiana Department of Education on Monday announced that Eric Jenkins, an English teacher at Franklin Community High School, has been named the 2024 Indiana Teacher of the Year.

Katie Jenner, Indiana secretary of education

Katie Jenner, Indiana secretary of education. 

Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana secretary of education: “Part of what makes teachers so impactful is their ability to help students develop the knowledge and skills they need to find their voice and make positive change in the world around them. This is something Mr. Jenkins takes very seriously. Not only does he help students strengthen their essential reading, writing and speaking skills, but he also prioritizes learning opportunities that help students grow their confidence, work as a team and form their own opinions … helping them to become the best versions of themselves. Mr. Jenkins is leaving his mark on this world, from Nigeria to Alabama to New York, and we are grateful that he chose to share his passion and talents right here in Indiana.” 

Franklin Community High School Principal Steven Ahaus: “Eric is a selfless educator and a consummate professional. He is constantly looking for ways to grow in order to impact student learning. He values his colleagues and the power of collaboration in education. The great ones make the challenging tasks look easy, and Eric makes creating an amazing classroom environment look simple.”

Franklin Community Schools Superintendent Dr. David Clendening: “Eric is the epitome of a great teacher. He is passionate about growing students and allowing them to reach their full potential. This passion drives him to find instructional practices that will engage students and make the wonder of learning come alive. The students at Franklin Community High School are blessed to have a rockstar in this profession to help increase their knowledge and understanding.”

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-Indiana, released the following statement: 

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-Indiana

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-Indiana.

“House Republicans must reset and then unify. We need a fresh face who is committed to the America First agenda and who can guide our conference into a new era of conservative leadership. New Republican leadership must prioritize securing our border, standing up to radical transgender ideology, and taking on the Chinese Communist Party. I will support the candidate with the most conservative and principled record, whoever that may be.”

Sen. Randy Maxwell, R-Guilford, was recently sworn in as senator of Indiana Senate District 43 by Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush in the Senate Chamber. Maxwell succeeds Sen. Chip Perfect, R-Lawrenceburg, who resigned from his position effective Sept. 26. Maxwell will finish the remainder of Perfect’s term through November 2026, serving Dearborn, Jefferson, Ohio, Scott and Switzerland counties and southern Jennings County.

Sen. Randy Maxwell

Sen. Randy Maxwell, R-Guilford, center, swears in as state senator of Senate District 43 by Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush, right, at the Statehouse Sept. 28.

Maxwell: “I am honored to have been chosen to represent Senate District 43. I am ready to give more time and commitment back to our communities and look forward to proudly serving Hoosiers at the Statehouse.

“With decades of community involvement and service to speak for, my roots run deep in Southeast Indiana. This is why I stand ready to represent our communities’ values at the Statehouse and see what more can be done to help our communities continue to grow.”

Mayor Joe Hogsett recently announced that he will bring more than 300 city employees back to downtown Indianapolis, consolidating government services within the City-County Building (CCB). According to a press release, the plan will improve access to services and save taxpayers an estimated $450,000 on an annual basis beginning in 2024, all while providing an economic boost to the city’s central business district as part of Mayor Hogsett’s Downtown Resiliency Strategy.

Hogsett mugshot

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.

Hogsett: “This announcement matches our commitment to saving taxpayer dollars with our commitment to a vibrant downtown. We’re proud to lead by example in maintaining a robust downtown workforce. And in the process, we’re making local government as accessible as ever.”

The City of Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development is accepting applications for the People’s Planning Academy through Oct. 9. 

Mayor Joe Hogsett: “The People’s Planning Academy is a great way for residents of every background to better understand how city planning works and how it can be used to shape our communities. This year, we are putting extra emphasis on the ways city planning can impact and benefit our local arts and culture.” 

For his efforts in driving the strategic direction of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, operating Indiana’s largest airport system in the Indianapolis metropolitan area and realizing record growth and elevation in stature of the Indianapolis International Airport, IAA Executive Director Mario Rodriguez was been named the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s 2023 Dynamic Leader of the Year.

Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar: “Mario is the epitome of a visionary leader and really one of the most influential minds in our state. He understands an airport is more than a public transportation facility, it’s a vital economic hub and key strategic partner for attracting and sustaining all kinds of commerce.”

Rodriguez: “People have a boundless capacity to improve our collective experience if given the guidance and opportunity to do so. You can do amazing things by providing an overarching vision and strategy and charting a clear course.”

Attorney General Todd Rokita urges Indiana consumers to be on the lookout for romance scams approaching the holiday season. In romance scams, perpetrators prey on unsuspecting matches by creating fake profiles to take advantage of victims online. They go to great lengths to pose as prospective romantic partners with similar interests to lure people into providing gifts, money, or personal information. Beware if the person’s picture doesn’t look realistic, the relationship is moving fast, they attempt to isolate you from family and friends, or they can’t meet you in person.

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Headshot of Attorney General Todd Rokita.

Rokita: “Online dating is a popular route for a lot of people these days in their search for true love. In some cases, innocent people are connecting with scammers who lie and cheat them out of their hard-earned money instead. Protecting Hoosiers from fraudsters is one of my office’s top priorities.”  

U.S. Sens. Mike Braun, R-Indiana, and Tom Carper, D-Delaware, recently introduced the bipartisan Safeguarding the Transparency and Efficiency of Payments (STEP) Act. This new bill would designate all new federal programs making more than $100 million in payments in any one fiscal year as “susceptible to significant improper payments” for their initial years of operation. It would also expand reporting requirements in an effort to combat and deter improper payments.

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana.

Braun: “For decades, Washington has wasted billions of dollars in payments that never should have been made. More transparency and accountability should be required to prevent endless government waste that is bankrupting our country.” 

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation secured $300,000 in competitive grant funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration to support the export activities of Hoosier small businesses through the Indiana State Trade and Export Promotion (IN-STEP) grant program. IN-STEP, which launched in 2020, helps Indiana small businesses develop and expand export-related activities, opening up new international markets for Hoosier-made goods around the world. 

Indiana Secretary of Commerce David Rosenberg: “In Indiana, we’re focused on building a global economy of the future, and our Hoosier entrepreneurs and small businesses will be critical to advancing future-focused innovations and solutions. Indiana ranks in the top 15 states for exporting, and the IN-STEP program aims to build on this momentum, helping more Hoosier small businesses reach customers in international markets and find success in the global economy.” 

Indiana State Comptroller Tera Klutz has announced she will step down.

Eric Holcomb Pic

Governor Eric Holcomb smiles in front of the American and Indiana state flags. 

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb: “I’m grateful for Tera’s service and partnership as Indiana’s State Auditor, now State Comptroller, since I appointed her in 2017. As the first CPA to serve in the position, Tera has been a faithful fiscal steward with a keen focus on transparency and accountability, most notably by modernizing technology. Throughout her tenure, Indiana has been recognized nationally for its responsible financial reporting. I wish her the absolute best in this next chapter.”

Indiana Republican Party Chairwoman Anne Hathaway: “Since her very first day in office, Tera Klutz has been an exemplary public servant. As the first ever CPA to hold the office, Tera worked tirelessly to increase transparency to the office of Indiana State Auditor, now State Comptroller. Tera built and led a team who was always focused on delivering great government service at a great value to taxpayers. Please join us in thanking Tera for her many years of local and state public service.” 

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb today broke ground on the new Westville Correctional Facility, a 1.4 million square foot facility for both incarcerated individuals and Indiana Department of Correction staff. Holcomb announced the new correctional facility as part of his 2021 NextLevel Agenda and recommitted to the $1.2 billion project in his 2023 agenda.

Holcomb: “Now more than ever it is crucial that we upgrade, modernize and expand our facilities that provide essential government services. We are consolidating and building the largest correctional facility in the state with much-needed security upgrades, expanded health care and education services and an enhanced recidivism program for incarcerated individuals. The upgrades will ensure that this facility is a safe space for the incarcerated as well as correctional staff members.”

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