The Journal Gazette
Sunday, August 01, 2021 1:00 am

GOP honors new leaders on diversity

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

Hundreds of friends and supporters celebrated the graduation of the Indiana Republican Party's inaugural Diversity Leadership Series class.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Gov. Eric Holcomb and Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer spoke during the July luncheon.

“Things like this just don't happen. This is intentional. This is a partnership of Gov. Holcomb, Chairman Hupfer, and everyone in this room. Expanding coalitions and growing our party has been a passion of mine since I became chair of the RNC. Not just to win votes, but to build authentic relationships and share our message with all communities,” McDaniel said.

The class of 15 graduates represent varied backgrounds and communities in Indiana. The class includes members of law enforcement, military veterans, faith leaders, entrepreneurs and leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, a release said.

Two of the graduates are from northeast Indiana – Michael Garza in Adams County and Emery McClendon in Allen County.

The series is a seminar and leadership training program that provides the preparation and resources needed to increase the engagement of minority Republican leaders in Indiana. It included monthly classes that covered topics including civic engagement, campaign management, strategic communications, fundraising and state government.

Last but not least

Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Sharon Tucker, D-6th, is known for asking a lot of questions, and last week's council meeting was no exception.

Council members discussed a tax abatement for about an hour for Amazon's Flaugh Road warehouse that is currently under construction. Committee chair Glynn Hines, D-at large, cut the discussion off, suggesting that City Clerk Lana Keesling do a role call vote so members could share any last thoughts.

The last person to speak before the vote was Tucker, who said she wanted to share her comments before members voted. She said she always goes last since votes are taken in alphabetical order.

“The vote will go through before it gets to T, which is fine,” she said before sharing her final thoughts.

Tucker did not end up being the last vote cast, however. Hines, D-at large, asked to vote last as committee chair.

Hines hoped to be the tiebreaking vote, he said, but he decided to abstain since it would not change the council's action.

By the numbers

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch's most recent campaign finance report shows she raised $572,000 the first six months of the year and has $1.2 million cash on hand.

She is a possible contender to run for governor in 2024.

The only declared candidate so far is Fort Wayne businessman Eric Doden, who raised more than $900,000 in only a few months of running.

Gov. Eric Holcomb, who is term limited and can't run again, raised $95,000.

He also spent about $350,000 with about $130,000, going to consulting fees.

Is Holcomb trying to figure out his next political move?

Faux pas

The Fort Wayne Community Schools' recent board meeting began with a laugh when President Anne Duff flubbed a routine introduction.

“To my left is Angela Filler, clerk of the board, and Dr. Robinson, our superintendent,” Duff said.

Wendy Robinson retired more than a year ago, on June 30, 2020, after 17 years in the position.

Mark Daniel has been superintendent since July 1.

Duff corrected her mistake once the laughter quieted.

“I'm sorry,” she said. “I mean Dr. Daniel. And I'm Anne Duff.”

Ashley Sloboda and Devan Filchak of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

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