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Importantville: 19 questions that will shape in Importantville in 2019
What's happening—and what's next—at the intersection of Indiana politics and business?
Days to Mayoral Election: 302
Days to 2020: 666 (!)
19 Importantville Questions for 2019: 1. Will Vice President Mike Pence ascend to the presidency based on political fallout of the Mueller probe? 2. Will the Mueller probe implicate Pence with any wrongdoing—and will Mueller even sit down with Pence? 3. How will South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg fare in the six DNC presidential debates slated for 2019, beginning this June? 4. Who will Indiana Democrats run for governor? 5. What will be the next Indianapolis company to go public? 6. Will Indiana congressional Republicans stand up to Trump in a substantive way? 7. How will Sen. Todd Young’s turn as chair of the National Republican Senate Committee benefit Indiana? 8. Will Republicans mount a credible campaign against Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett? 9. How will Indiana Democrats fare in municipal elections across the state? 10. Will Indiana get a hate crimes law? 11. …And experience a RFRA-like backlash in the process? 12. What will be the year’s banner economic development announcement? 13. How soon will Rep. Jim Banks become the chair of the Republican Study Committee? 14. Is Joe Donnelly done with politics? 15. What office will Democrat Christina Hale seek next? 16. Will Attorney General Curtis Hill primary Gov. Eric Holcomb ahead of 2020? 17. Will Indiana Republicans move to block a possible primary challenge to Trump ahead of 2020? 18. Will Indianapolis stem its record homicide rate? 19. How many presidential and vice presidential visits will Indiana receive?
Good morning, and welcome back to Importantville. This is the first edition of 2019. It’s day 17 of the federal government shutdown. Flags are at half staff today in Floyd County to honor former state Rep. William Cochran.
WHERE’S VEEP: He has lunch with the president at 12:30 p.m.
SHUTDOWN PROVISIONS: Indianapolis restauranteur Neal Brown is giving away free meals at his establishments to federal government workers affected by the shutdown, writes Indy Star’s Sarah Bahr.
DRIVING THE WEEK: Hundreds of members of Indiana Forward, a campaign that includes a cross section of the most influential members of the business and non-profit community, will gather at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in the South Atrium at the Statehouse to lobby legislators to “pass a clear and inclusive hate crimes law in 2019.”
THE PLAYERS: Ann Murtlow, president and CEO, United Way of Central Indiana, which is a lead organizer in the Indiana Forward campaign; Michael Huber, president and CEO of the Indy Chamber, whose Indiana Competes coalition supports the Indiana Forward campaign; State Rep. Tony Cook (R-32), author of House Bill 1020; Scott Fadness, Mayor of Fishers, Indiana, and Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry.
Elsewhere in Importantville
Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott plans to run for re-election, the Democrat writes in the Times of Northwest Indiana.
Congresswoman Susan Brooks lands on the front page of USA Today in a piece examining the influence Republican women will have on the 116th Congress. "There are just some incredibly deep friendships that some of my female colleagues have with others across the aisle,” Brooks told Maureen Groppe. “And I think we’ll still be able to get things done.”
Hiroko Tabuchi, The New York Times: “A Trump County Confronts the Administration Amid a Rash of Child Cancers”
JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. — The children fell ill, one by one, with cancers that few families in this suburban Indianapolis community had ever heard of. An avid swimmer struck down by glioblastoma, which grew a tumor in her brain. Four children with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. Fifteen children with acute lymphocytic leukemia, including three cases diagnosed in the past year.
At first, families put the illnesses down to misfortune. But as cases mounted, parents started to ask: Could it be something in the air or water?
Their questions led them to an old industrial site in Franklin, the Johnson County seat, that the federal government had ordered cleaned up decades ago. Recent tests have identified a carcinogenic plume spreading underground, releasing vapors into homes.
Now, families in a county that voted overwhelmingly for President Trump are making demands of his administration that collide directly with one of his main agendas: the rolling back of health and environmental regulations.
On Wednesday, a group representing dozens of concerned parents called for a federal investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General — the same watchdog that examined the government’s slow response to the water crisis in Flint, Mich. — into why Franklin’s toxic plume of trichloroethylene, or TCE, persists.
Rep. Jim Banks’ former Chief of Staff Matt Lahr will join Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats as a comms staffer this week.
David Keller, of Fort Wayne, becomes Banks’ new chief.
Peg McLeish is the new chief of staff for the Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry.
The Sunday Show
I joined FOX 59's Dan Spehler, IndyStar columnist Tim Swarens, Republican Mike Murphy and communication strategist Lara Beck to talk about the new Congress and this week's winners and losers. You can watch that coverage here and see my winner and loser here.
That’s all for today. If you’re a paid subscriber, I’ll be back in your inbox later this week. Have a good one.
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