The Journal Gazette
Sunday, March 01, 2020 1:00 am

'12 years are up': Fries weighing run for sheriff

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Is Allen County Councilman Ken Fries up for another round as county sheriff?

“It's always an option,” he said last week.

During an interview on another topic, Fries brought up being sheriff again multiple times. When asked whether he is considering a run, he said Indiana law says a person can't serve more than eight years in a 12-year period.

“The 12 years are up,” Fries said. “If we didn't have term limits, I would have never left.”

Fries was the county's sheriff from 2007 to 2015.

Venue switch comes with cost

Admission to the April 23 Lincoln Day Dinner – where Donald Trump Jr. will speak – is $125 a person, the Allen County Republican Party announced Tuesday.

Tickets to Lincoln Day Dinners in recent years have run $75 a person. Those events featured Gov. Eric Holcomb, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and a debate among three candidates for the GOP nomination for a U.S. Senate seat from Indiana.

Party Chairman Steve Shine said tickets cost $50 more this year because the dinner is moving from Ramada Plaza Fort Wayne Hotel & Conference Center to the larger and more expensive Grand Wayne Center. The shift will double the size of the audience that can be accommodated, to 1,200 people.

“The increased ticket price was necessitated by the difference in pricing structures between the two venues,” Shine said in an interview.

Trump, son of President Donald Trump, is not charging a speaking fee. Trump's scheduled appearance was announced Feb. 3.

Shine on Tuesday released other details on the fundraising dinner. Doors will open at 5 p.m., with a cash bar available. Dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tables for 10 people are available for $1,250.

Depending on Trump's travel itinerary, a VIP reception might be arranged.

No reservations will be honored without prepayment. Reservations will close April 10 if the dinner is not sold out before then. Reservation forms are available at

Daniels, Bayh combine forces

Former U.S. Sens. Evan Bayh and Joe Lieberman will join Purdue University President Mitch Daniels on Tuesday at the West Lafayette campus for an armchair discussion titled “Beyond Labels: Addressing the Grand Challenge of Democracy Together.” The event is part of Purdue's “Democracy, Civility, and Freedom of Expression” series aimed at engaging people on important societal topics.

The talk will start at 6 p.m. in Stewart Center's Loeb Playhouse. Daniels will serve as moderator. The event is free and open to the public, but general admission tickets are required. Tickets are available at Purdue box offices in Stewart Center and Yue-Kong Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts on campus, and online.

Bayh represented Indiana as a U.S. senator (1998-2011) and, before that, as governor (1989-97). Lieberman was in the Senate from 1988 to 2012, serving his last term representing Connecticut as an independent. He was the Democratic candidate for vice president in 2000.

Donnelly, others chastise Congress

Joe Donnelly of Indiana was among 70 former U.S. senators to sign a letter contending that Congress “is not fulfilling its constitutional duties.”

The letter, published Tuesday by the Washington Post, said that Congress over the years has ceded to the executive branch its own powers for spending, regulating international trade and authorizing the use of military force.

“The Senate's abdication of its legislative and oversight responsibilities erodes the checks and balances of the separate powers that are designed to protect the liberties on which our democracy depends,” the letter stated.

Donnelly, a Democrat who served one term from 2013 through 2018, was the only former Hoosier senator who put his name on the letter. Other former senators from Indiana are Republicans Dan Quayle and Dan Coats and Democrat Evan Bayh.

Among ex-senators who did sign the letter were Democrats Bill Bradley of New Jersey, Tom Daschle of South Dakota and John Kerry of Massachusetts; Republicans Alan Simpson of Wyoming, Olympia Snowe of Maine and John Warner of Virginia; and independent Dean Barkley of Minnesota.

“Our concern is that the legislative process is no longer working in the Senate,” the former senators wrote.

They complained that Senate committees “have lost responsibility for writing legislation” and that rules restricting debate “have shut down action on the Senate floor.”

The ex-senators urged the formation of a bipartisan caucus of current members “who would be committed to making the Senate function as the Framers of the Constitution intended.”

The letter concluded, “The Senate – and the proper functioning of our Republic – are simply too important to be allowed to continue on their present course.”

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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