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Thursday, September 03, 2015
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Thursday, September 03, 2015 2:01 PM

By BRIAN A. HOWEY

HAMMOND - Pay now, or pay more later. This is a lesson chronically lost on Hoosier politicians. Let’s take Scott County, home of the nation’s largest rural outbreak in HIV, as a searing example. Planned Parenthood of Indiana received $3.3 million in government funding in 2005, but by 2014, it was down to $1.9 million, so health centers were closed in Scottsburg, Bedford, Warsaw, Richmond and Madison.

There was a political dimension to this. The funding cuts occurred because Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky provides abortion services, though it is less than 5 percent of what it does. Republicans in Congress and the Indiana General Assembly say that the funding is “fungible,” and they resist tax dollars paying for abortion.

There are now at least 180 cases of HIV in Scott County, and the Indiana Department of Health announced last week that it is investigating even more. “This is one of the biggest challenges we’re going to have as a state,” U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly explained. “If you look at the town of Austin, 4,200 people, right now we have 180 HIV cases. The expected medical costs for each one of those individuals will be $750,000 at a minimum. In one town, the health care cost will be $150 million.” And there are other Austins and Scott Counties out there. As of late August some 20 Indiana counties are now seeking or exploring needle exchange programs to deal with the Triple H hydra of HIV, hepatitis C and heroin.

According to a Pew Charitable Trust report released in April, the number of people with insurance coverage for alcohol and drug abuse disorders is about to explode at a time there’s already a severe shortage of trained behavioral health professionals in many states. Nationally, the average is 32 behavioral health specialists for every 1,000 people afflicted with the disorder. In Indiana, it stands at 20.
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  • By MORTON J. MARCUS
    INDIANAPOLIS - Frequently I get e-mails saying if I don’t like what’s happening in Indiana, I should move, preferably to Illinois. So I was delighted last week when the U.S. Census Bureau released estimated migration data for 2013 to see what’s actually happening. In 2013, 15,800 persons lived in Illinois who were residents of Indiana a year earlier. That’s 12 percent of the 135,500 Hoosiers who left the state in that period. Fewer people from other states (133,500) became Indiana residents and 23 percent of them (30,600) came from Illinois. Thus, for every person leaving the Hoosier Holyland for Illinois, nearly two were coming to this Pensive State.  Indiana gained population from 25 states and the District of Columbia while losing to 24 states. After Illinois, the states receiving 10,000  or more Hoosiers were Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Texas. 
  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    FRENCH LICK –- Along State Road 150 near the tiny hamlet of Prospect, the signs were conspicuous: “Fire Mike Pence.” And “Hire John Gregg.” With 2012 Democratic gubernatorial nominee John Gregg consolidating his hold on a rare second nomination (that last losing nominee to get another chance occurred in 1936), he began pressing Gov. Mike Pence on the jobs front when he addressed the Orange County Democratic Jefferson-Jackson Dinner last Friday night. Gregg said he watched Pence on television about three months ago with a Western Indiana jobs announcement. “He was bragging there were going to be jobs in Terre Haute,” Gregg said. “There would be 180 jobs that would pay $11.80 an hour. Now I’m watching with my mother, who is 84. My mother said, ‘Wow, that’s a lot of money.’ Now I said, ‘Mom, let’s make that $12 and multiply it by 40.’ She said, ‘$480.’ I said round it to $500, now multiply that by 52, and she said, ‘That’s only a little more than $25,000. How do you raise a family on that?’” It was an interesting day to draw the contrast. Earlier, Gov. Pence heralded the news of “record high private sector jobs.” The jobless rate had come down to 4.7 percent, its lowest point since November 2007. Some 59,000 jobs have been created so far this year, adding up to 2,614,800 private sector jobs, or as Pence put it, “More Hoosiers are employed in the private sector than at any other time in the state’s history, breaking the record last set in March 2000.” 
  • BY: MARK SOUDER
    FORT WAYNE – Donald Trump is no conservative in philosophy or temperament. He is no populist either. Like the equally pompous bully, William Randolph Hearst, Trump is a rich phony who loves power. True populists rise up from among groups of similar people with grievances, ranging from railroad rates to whiskey taxes, alcohol abuse to anger at eastern bankers. Trump is a billionaire who bilks gullible people out of their money, builds residential towers for millionaires, and represents a lifestyle true grassroots populists have hated since America’s founding. Andrew Jackson probably would have challenged him to a duel, in which he was proficient.  Trump is no Ross Perot either. Perot had his inconsistencies (his company was heavily dependent upon government contracts) but he used charts, graphs and detailed presentations. He treated things seriously. He often was wrong but at least he tried to understand and knew it was complicated. About the only thing Trump has in common with Perot is that if he runs for president as an independent, he likely will elect another Clinton and possibly spoil another potential Bush presidency. Trump is a variation of Huey Long. The Kingfisher, as Long was called, was basically dictator of Louisiana for many years. He wanted to be president.  
  • By LEE HAMILTON
    BLOOMINGTON – The vigor of our system depends on the vote of each citizen. We have to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. The campaigning for next year’s elections is starting to draw more attention, and with it comes a focus on voters and their mood. Which is all well and good, but it leaves out of the equation one large bloc of citizens, people who are eligible to vote, but don’t. Over the years, a fair number of people I’ve encountered have confessed that they do not vote, and I often surprise them by pressing them on why they don’t. We need to modernize the system. Democracies like Australia and Canada invest serious money in their election infrastructure and conduct widely acclaimed elections. Ours, by contrast, is fragile and uneven. We’ve already had one presidential election decided by courts on a question of failed infrastructure. More embarrassing cases will certainly occur. 
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Hogsett street light ad
Indianapolis Democratic mayoral nominee Joe Hogsett says he will install more street lights.
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  • Ambitious Mayor McDermott eyes a U.S. Senate bid
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    HAMMOND – Mayor Thomas McDermott’s big Chevy Tahoe slowed and moved down the bike and running trails that coursed through the city park at Wolf Lake. Many Hoosiers cruise across this lake on an Indiana Toll Road bridge and have the notion that the waters and fish are toxic and the scene would be a good place to dump a corpse. But in the three terms of Mayor McDermott, he has transformed this into a park where people run and bike, fish and kayak. There is a new performance pavilion that draws thousands of people to concerts and festivals. To the south is the golf course the Republican he defeated in 2003 built on a slag heap, and under McDermott’s leadership is now topped off with a beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright prairie style clubhouse.
     
     
  • Nunn & Lugar: Deal best chance to stop Iran bomb, avoid war

    By SAM NUNN and RICHARD LUGAR

    WASHINGTON - At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union had thousands of nuclear warheads aimed at American cities, and the Soviets were subject to numerous arms controls agreements. But progress was hard-fought and incremental at best. In an ideal world, the Soviet Union would have agreed to more severe constraints than those agreed by Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush, for example. It would have dismantled all of its nuclear weapons, stopped its human rights abuses and halted its meddling around the world.
    But, as all of these presidents – Democratic and Republican – understood, holding out for the impossible is a recipe for no progress at all. Congress should take the same approach today to the Iran nuclear deal.


     
  • HPI Analysis: Democrats unite as Pence, Gregg spar on jobs
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    FRENCH LICK –- For the first time in half a decade, the stars seem to be aligning for the super minority Indiana Democrats. In John Gregg, they have a pending standard bearer who has learned the lessons from what is now seen as a heart-breaking loss to Gov. Mike Pence in 2012. His early gubernatorial rivals in Supt. Glenda Ritz and State Sen. Karen Tallian fell by the wayside in a span of two weeks, and have coalesced around the former speaker. There is some talk of an alternative, but other than Tom Sugar, no other credible candidate is emerging. Judge Lorenzo Arredondo gives the party a conspicuous Latino presence in the attorney general race as Republican presidential contenders Donald Trump, Scott Walker and Ted Cruz have launched broadsides at the most potent emerging demographic. As for a possible Gregg-Tallian unity ticket, Gregg told Howey Politics Indiana on Saturday morning, “We’ve talked,” without going into any further detail.
     
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  • Pence promises multi-prong approach to heroin crisis
    "If you're dealing drugs to our kids, we're coming for you. We simply cannot arrest our way out of this problem. We have to address the root causes that are driving abuse and addiction." - Gov. Mike Pence, speaking to Lake County officials in Crown Point on Wednesday after announcing a task force to study and find solutions for Indiana’s growing heroin epidemic. He made similar comments in Fort Wayne. 



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