The Journal Gazette
Sunday, January 19, 2020 1:00 am

FWCS cautious with legislative wish list

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Leaders of the state's largest school system are developing their wish list for Indiana lawmakers.

Fort Wayne Community Schools board member Steve Corona kicked off the discussion Monday by saying legislators at the recent forum at Carroll High School seemed open to rolling back education legislation.

“Clearly, we need to be very intentional about what we'd like to see go away,” Corona said, “and we need to be unified on that.”

Any advocacy should be done with caution, FWCS Superintendent Wendy Robinson said.

“Careful what you ask for – you might end up with something worse,” Robinson said, prompting laughter.

With a short legislative session, she recommended keeping the wish list short. Her priorities address complexity funding, which is designed to help students in poverty, and accountability. She wants an accountability system that every stakeholder, including students and parents, can understand.

“Those legislators who come to those sessions will tell you what they think you want to hear,” Robinson said, referring to the recent public forum, “but they vote the same way every time, so we've got to have a very strong message. 'Stop doing this, but then don't do that, either.'”

Agriculture official to speak at Grace

Ted McKinney, undersecretary of agriculture for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, will keynote Grace College's second annual Ag Night this week.

The event will take place at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center, 610 Wooster Road, Winona Lake. Ag Night is hosted by Grace's agribusiness program.

“We are excited to have Undersecretary McKinney back to our campus,” said Tobe Forshtay, instructor of agribusiness. “He's a Hoosier in one of the highest positions in agriculture over our nation. We are excited to have him share with us about our nation's trade policy,” he added.

McKinney will discuss China, the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement and the outlook for agricultural producers.

For McKinney, his arrival in Indiana will feel like coming home. He grew up in Tipton, where he was an active member of 4-H and FFA. He was director of the Indiana Department of Agriculture from 2014 to 2017. McKinney worked 19 years with Dow AgroSciences and 14 years with Elanco, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Co.

Young, Braun making history

Republican U.S. Sens. Todd Young and Mike Braun on Thursday became the fifth and sixth Hoosiers sworn in as Senate jurors for a president's impeachment trial.

Asked about the historic importance of their roles, Braun's staff referred Political Notebook to a comment he made to NBC News.

“For me, personally, it was a somber feeling, when you listen to the articles (of impeachment) and you know how important this is from the historical context. And I think most of us wonder how we've gotten into this twice in 20 years,” Braun said.

Young's staff did not respond to an email asking about the significance of his being an impeachment juror.

President Donald Trump is accused of abusing his power and obstructing Congress for allegedly pressuring Ukraine's government to investigate a political rival.

In 1999, President Bill Clinton stood accused of perjury and obstructing justice regarding his affair with a White House intern. Clinton was acquitted by a 55-45 “not guilty” vote on one article and a 50-50 vote on the other, each time well short of the 67 required for the Republican-controlled Senate to find him guilty and remove him from office.

Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., voted against both articles of impeachment against Clinton, and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., voted in favor of both.

In 1868, President Andrew Johnson was tried for violating a law by firing his secretary of war without the consent of Congress. The vote in the Republican-controlled Senate was 35-19 on each of the three impeachment articles, one shy of the two-thirds needed to remove Johnson from office.

Sen. Thomas Hendricks, D-Ind., voted against all three articles, and Sen. Oliver Morton, R-Ind., voted in favor of all three. 

Council plans MLK resolution

At the end of the first regular session of Fort Wayne City Council, two members announced plans to bring forward a resolution honoring a visit Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. paid to Fort Wayne in 1963.

The resolution will be sponsored by Councilwoman Michelle Chambers, D-At large, and Councilman Russ Jehl, R-2nd.

“As we move into 2020, the year of perfect vision, we can't forget our past,” Chambers said. “It was such an instrumental time that we would like to bring forward a resolution, probably the first of February – and hopefully everyone will sign on – establishing a public display commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s words and visit to Fort Wayne, which took place in 1963.”

Jehl said it's important to remember “one of the most landmark events that took place in Fort Wayne over the last two generations, especially because those words are literally fading into history, despite all of the technology, all of the information we have through the internet today.”

Journal Gazette writers Ashley Sloboda and Dave Gong contributed to this report.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at or Niki Kelly at An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at 

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