The Journal Gazette
Sunday, August 22, 2021 1:00 am

GOP rising star Cawthorn to attend Banks' BBQ

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, of Columbia City, is bringing a rising star in the GOP ranks to northeast Indiana.

Congressman Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina will be the special guest at Banks' 6th annual BBQ on Sept. 16 at Joseph Decuis Farm near Columbia City.

Cawthorn, who was home-schooled, received a full-ride ROTC scholarship to North Carolina State and was also nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2014. But his plans to serve in the military were derailed after he was partly paralyzed in a car crash that left him in a wheelchair.

Now the 26-year-old is a small-business man who focuses on faith and freedom. He has been especially vocal against mask mandates – calling them “psychological child abuse.”

An individual ticket is $100; a sponsorship costs $1,000 and a host pays $2,900.

Zay honored

State Sen. Andy Zay, R-Huntington, was named 2021 Legislator of the Year by the Indiana Bankers Association.

He was presented with the award Aug. 15 at the group's annual convention in French Lick.

The award recognizes Zay for his stewardship of a strong banking environment in the Hoosier state. He serves as chair of the state legislature's Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee. Zay has been instrumental in ensuring that Indiana remains conducive to a vibrant banking industry, a news release said.

An example of his leadership was authoring Senate Enrolled Act 370, which clarifies and aligns state law with Indiana case law concerning the statute of limitations for actions upon contracts for the payment of money to include deposit accounts.

“Banks are leaders in our community, and I am happy to support their vision for our communities in the state,” Zay said.

He represents Senate District 17, which includes Wabash County and part of Grant, Huntington and Whitley counties.

Young challenger

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. has started a campaign to challenge Republican Todd Young's reelection bid in Indiana's U.S. Senate election next year.

McDermott, a Democrat, filed with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday to begin fundraising.

He has been mayor of the largest city in northwest Indiana's Lake County since 2004 but isn't well known outside that region.

Despite that, McDermott has been the highest-profile Democrat openly talking about challenging Young, who defeated Democratic former Sen. Evan Bayh in the 2016 election and had $4.5 million in campaign cash at the end of June.

“I'm hoping that the Democratic Party is excited about my candidacy,” McDermott said. “I'm hoping the Democratic Party is willing to try to help me overcome history.”

McDermott unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination last year for an open U.S. House seat in northwestern Indiana, finishing second in the primary to now-Rep. Frank Mrvan.

Young's campaign declined to comment on McDermott's candidacy.

The Associated Press contributed to this column.

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