Hill sounds like a candidate at J-J dinner
Former three-term Ninth District Congressman Baron Hill hasn’t announced whether he’s a candidate in 2006 but he sounded like one Friday night at the annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner at North Harrison High School in Ramsey. Hill was the featured speaker before an unusually large non-election-year crowd of 190.
Other speakers were Indiana Democratic Party Chair Dan Parker, Ninth District Chair Mike Jones of Switzerland County, State Sen. Richard Young of Milltown, State Rep. Paul Robertson of Depauw, and State Rep. Dennis Oxley of Taswell.
New Harrison County Democrat chair Mark Redden was the master of ceremonies.
Hill hinted broadly at a race when he said the man who defeated him last year, Mike Sodrel, and the national Republican Party spent $4 million to beat him, and he needs everyone’s help the next time around.
He said his teammate, Betty, his wife of 32 years, will accompany him as he makes appearances throughout the next year, and his predecessor in Washington, the highly-respected Lee Hamilton, will also campaign for him. Another clue is that the former all-state athlete in three sports is getting ready to run the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon next month. Hill met many constituents and generated much press attention by walking his district in his four previous Congressional campaigns.
Hill said the most important issue is the Republican plan to transform Social Security, the federal government program that ‘has kept millions of senior citizens out of poverty.’ He questioned whether the party that didn’t want Social Security in the first place is the right party to reform it.
‘It is WRONG to privatize Social Security!’ Hill said, noting that it could cost $3 trillion to pay for it. ‘Where will we get that $3 trillion? We already have the worst debt in our history.’
He recalled a few short years ago when the United States had a big surplus.
‘Give Bill Clinton a big hand,’ he said. ‘Give Bill Clinton a big hand!’ he repeated. ‘GIVE BILL CLINTON A BIG HAND!’ The partisan crowd responded with a standing ovation.
State Rep. Paul Robertson gave perhaps his most impassioned Jefferson-Jackson speech. He said the Republican legislative leaders’ plan to take most of the casino revenue away from counties with riverboats has failed thus far because the 48 Democrats in the Republican-controled House of Representatives have refused to go along. Combined with a few Republicans who object to the state taking away the major source of revenue from several rural counties, the Democrats have blocked the plan. And now it appears Gov. Mitch Daniels doesn’t want to take the boat money, either.
‘They want our boat money, but they didn’t want the boats’ in the first place, Robertson said.
Robertson said the Republican-crafted two-year state budget, now being examined by the Senate, is ‘the worst budget I’ve ever seen’ in his 26 years in the legislature, a comment echoed by Oxley.
Robertson said the GOP budget will lead to teacher layoffs, school closings, and increased property taxes. Even programs like President Bush’s ‘No Child Left Behind’ will be hurt.
‘It will be a disaster if it (the budget) goes through.’
Oxley, a Crawford County educator, said the Republican education spending plan whereby ‘the money follows the child’ is a bad philosophy because it means most of the money will go to the larger and more affluent school districts and away from rural school systems.
Oxley said he never dreamed he’d be part of a legislature in which Republicans favor big tax increases on alcohol, cigarettes, property, income and gambling. It’s all the more complicated because some GOP legislators have promised publicly to never vote for a tax increase.
‘We will fight these tax increases and remain strong,’ Oxley said.
Sen. Young said the House is going in one direction and the Senate in the another. He said it’s the governor’s responsibility to make sure both houses, especially when they’re controlled by his party, work together. ‘He needs to take care of business, not just turn it over to business,’ Young said.
Chairman Parker credited Young with defeating a Republican sponsored measure that would have eliminated Democrats from the Indiana Election Division, the agency that runs elections in the state.
Local party chair Mark Redden announced that David M. Allor and Sara M. Allen are creating a Democratic Web site with a chat room, forum and announcement board.
Joan Schickel remembered the lives of five people active in the Democratic Party:
‘ Anna L. Haas, 79, died July 5, 2004. She was a West Harrison precinct committeeperson for more than 30 years. Her first husband was the late county commissioner Eldon Kintner, and her second husband, Lyle Haas, served on the county council.
‘ Elaine T. Young, wife of State Sen. Richard Young of Milltown. She died Jan. 14 at age 60. She was a deputy auditor in Crawford County and payroll clerk for 22 years.
‘ Buddy William Bosler, 72, Depauw, worked at General Electric for 35 years and farmed in the Depauw area. He died July 21, 2004. He was on the Blue River Township Advisory Board for 12 years and was vice chair of South Blue River precinct for 20 years. His son, Buddy Lynn Bosler, is on the North Harrison school board, and his daughter-in-law, Jackie Bosler, is the former Blue River Township trustee.
‘ Roger Royse, 69, died on Sept. 9, 2004. He was a faithful supporter for the Democratic Party, reminding people to vote on Election Day, even when they were visiting his funeral home. He was Harrison County coroner for 16 years and assistant coroner for many more years.
‘ Earl Saulman died at age 79 on the same day as Royse, Schickel pointed out. He was an industrial arts teacher in Kentucky, high school and grade school principal and school board member in the South Harrison school system. He was a precinct chairman in South West Harrison, chairman of the Harrison County Plan Commission, and a strong county council chair. He was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries he sustained during an Japanese attack on an aircraft carrier in World War II.