The Journal Gazette
Sunday, July 11, 2021 1:00 am

Chamber provides higher marks for legislators

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce's annual report scoring state lawmakers on key business legislation saw overall marks – ranging from 42% to 97% – rise from last year.

“The Legislative Vote Analysis is our annual method to quantify for citizens and employers how their lawmakers voted on issues vital to the state's economy,” Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar said. “For many legislators, the scores are higher this year. In fact, the average scores for House Republicans, House Democrats and Senate Republicans all improved.”

Bills included for examination in the analysis can be traced back to the Indiana Chamber's economic development plan. Among the legislation included in the report that became law: civil immunity for businesses related to COVID-19; broadband expansion in underserved areas and populations; and further business personal property tax exemption for small businesses.

In total, the success or failure of 47 key pro-economy, pro-jobs policies – introduced in bills or amendments – was used to determine lawmakers' scores, which are available on the Indiana Chamber's website.

This is the 37th year of the measurement.

Here is how northeast Indiana lawmakers fared:

Rep. Dave Abbott, R-Rome City – 86%

Rep. Martin Carbaugh, R-Fort Wayne – 88%

Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne – 59%

Rep. Dave Heine, R-Fort Wayne – 89%

Rep. Chris Judy, R-Fort Wayne – 86%

Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne – 86%

Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington – 84%

Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne – 89%

Rep. Curt Nisly, R-Goshen – 65%

Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn – 86%

Rep. Craig Snow, R-Warsaw – 86%

Rep. Dennis Zent, R-Angola – 89%

Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne – 89%

Sen. Justin Busch, R-Fort Wayne – 84%

Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange – 80%

Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle – 88%

Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn – 83%

Sen. Andy Zay, R-Huntington – 78%

AG again needs communication

Attorney General Todd Rokita needs a communications director and press secretary and has hired an outside consultant to find candidates.

Bird Dog Recruitment and Consulting LLC was hired in June and will be paid a percentage of the base salary of the jobs with a maximum of $50,000.

Bird Dog doesn't have an address of its web page and its phone number is a Kansas area code.

Rokita has lost several communications staffers during his short tenure.

Molly Deuberry Craft was hired in January and left in April after serving four months as director of communications.

And Lauren Houck left in June. She had been with the office since March 2019 but left six months after Rokita took over. She was assistant deputy director of communications.

There is no media contact on Rokita's website – just a generic email address.

Calling all youth for mayor's group

Mayor Tom Henry is looking for applicants for Mayor's Youth Engagement Council for the upcoming school year.

The council is meant to be a service-learning group composed of youth members.

The class that recently graduated focused on issues such as climate change and environmental sustainability. They also provided volunteer support to local nonprofits.

Members try to provide a voice for city youth to local government by engaging their peers, creating innovative solutions and working on projects. The program includes panel discussions, guest speakers and opportunities to be involved in special events.

Applications, which will be accepted through Aug. 2, can be found at

Applicants must be city residents and enrolled as high school sophomores, juniors or seniors for the school year. Interviews will be done in August and September.

Applications can be mailed to: Mayor's Office, Attn: Karen L. Richards, Mayor's Youth Engagement Council, 200 E. Berry St., 4th Floor, Fort Wayne, IN, 46802. Applicants may also email their applications to

Kosciusko sheriff seeks 2nd term

Kosciusko County Sheriff Kyle Dukes is seeking a second term.

Dukes announced his candidacy Monday. He shared accomplishments from his first term, saying he said he maintained a “community first” mindset.

Dukes created Net43, a multiagency drug task force that has arrested numerous drug dealers and confiscated pounds of heroin and methamphetamine, he said.

“It would be my privilege to continue this important work of putting Community First and emphasizing transparency, accountability, and professionalism as I serve Kosciusko County,” he said.

Dukes, a Republican, defeated three other Republican candidates in the 2018 GOP primary. He was unopposed in the general election that year.

Last month, Kosciusko County Sheriff's Deputy James M. Smith of Warsaw announced he's also running for sheriff as a Republican. 

Devan Filchak of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

Political Notebook wants to hear from you. Send your burning questions or tips about state and local government or politics to and we will attempt to get you answers. 

Subscribe to our newsletters

* indicates required