|Fri, Sep 19, 2014 05:52 AM
|Issue of September 17, 2014
August 20, 2014 | 09:23 AM
The Harrison County Democrat Party hosted the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Saturday night at Lanesville Junior-Senior High School with more than 160 gathered to hear from local and state candidates, elected officials and keynote speaker Glenda Ritz, Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Harrison County Democrat Party Chairman Alva (Jim) Kincaid Jr., who took offense to a few things that were said at the Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner in April, called out Indiana Ninth District Congressman Todd Young for his statement about the Obamacare website taking longer to build than it did to win World War II.
"Well, maybe if you'd try to work with your fellow congressmen and women, it would be fixed," Kincaid said. "It's easy to sit on the sidelines and cast stones."
Kincaid said government is about working together and solving problems.
"We're not seeing that at the federal or state level," he said.
Kincaid also criticized Gov. Mike Pence for creating more oversight for Ritz and the board with which she has to deal with to get anything done.
"Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan would roll in their graves if they saw what the Tea Party has done," Kincaid said.
And of Indiana Speaker of the House Brian Bosma, Kincaid said he only listens to his contributors, not his constituents.
"These (Democrat) candidates tonight are going to represent everybody ..." he said. "Democrats have always been there for the underdog. If you carry a lunch box to work, you're a Democrat. We look out for the people that fall between the cracks. It's what Democrats do."
Kincaid said Republicans in the county need to run on their own records instead of President Obama's.
The theme of the night was teaching Harrison County, and a number of educators from the county were in attendance.
Kincaid called the educators "our future" and said, if things aren't turned around at the state level, "we're headed down the toilet."
Heidi Sellers, candidate for District 70 House of Representatives, made a couple of jokes about her height (she's 4-foot-9) before Ritz took to the podium. Sellers said she can ride most of the rides at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari.
However, "I am tall enough to be the state representative for District 70," she said to roaring applause.
Sellers, who was clad in purple, said she wears the color because it's a mix of red and blue.
"I want to represent everyone," she said.
Ritz called her position a very good fit for her, she said, and despite the politics, they're getting quite a bit done.
She said one thing that must change is the grade system for labeling schools.
"A 3.7 (GPA) in an 'F' school will never look the same as a 3.7 in an 'A' school," she said.
She also said the mandatory age for a child to attend school in Indiana needs to change. As it stands, a child isn't required to attend school until age 7, putting them a year or two behind. Ritz encouraged candidates to use Facebook to help reach constituents, especially those on the other side of the political aisle.
"Never be afraid of it; it's another way to communicate," she said.
Michael Claytor, candidate for state auditor, also briefly spoke and called for Pence to dip into the surplus to pay money owed to parents who adopted special-needs children. Claytor also mentioned the push by some Republicans who want to impeach Obama for using his executive power, but said Pence is doing the same thing at the state level.
"So let's impeach him," he said.
Claytor said the corporate income revenue was up this year for the state, as was the number of jobs, but the income tax revenue was down. Put all that in the calculator, he said, and it's clear average wages are down even though new jobs are being brought into the state.
"We lead the nation in the creation of poverty-level jobs," he said. "The math proves the argument we are not getting good jobs."
Claytor said the state is in the process of reducing corporate and individual tax rates, and, with corporations only paying state rates while individuals pay county (and/or city) rates, individuals will soon be paying higher tax rates than corporations.
"That is ridiculous," he said.
Claytor worked as the campaign treasurer for the late Gov. Frank O'Bannon, whom he said he would have "walked over hot coals for."
U.S. District Nine Congressman candidate Bill Bailey, who supports term limits, said it's "gospel" that he is going to win in November.
"I'm not going to say anything bad about Congressman Young ... we don't have that long tonight," he said.
Rachel Armstrong, candidate for prosecutor, cited statistics that crime in the county is significantly up since 2010: theft, 77 percent; burglaries, 133 percent; child support, 150 percent; child molesting, 200-plus percent; drug dealing, 1,000 percent.
"And what has the prosecutor done?" she asked. "Over 700 cases have been dismissed."
Sheriff candidate Carl Atwood III asked why the county needs five new officers if they are not going to put people in jail.
District 3 Commissioner candidate Terry Miller referenced his Facebook page where he posted a photo with three cars parked side-by-side in the middle of the road. He said the "nice road" sees 16 cars per day.
"Mr. Klinstiver owns property up and down these roads," he said. "It's not right for an elected official to abuse his power like that."
Dennis Byrd, candidate for Superior Court Judge, and two county council candidates — Kyle Nix (District 1) and Danny Stults (District 4) — also briefly addressed the audience.
Byrd distributed a handout comparing his experience with his opponent.
Kincaid said Councilman Gordon Pendleton, who was unable to attend, has been a staple of the Democrat Party for a long time.
"We need to get him re-elected," he said. "Keep him in your prayers."
Donnie Hussung, District 2 county council candidate, did not attend since the dinner took place on Lanesville Community School Corp. property. Hussung is a member of the Lanesville school board and the dinner could have been seen as electioneering on school property, which is illegal for school employees/officials.
The Outstanding Democrat award for 2014 was given to Sharon Franks, and Harrison County Assessor Lorena (Rena) Stepro won the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Democrat Party will have a day of action Sept. 27 at the headquarters in downtown Corydon with Sellers and other candidates on hand.