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Democrats Emphasize Equality Initiatives At State Convention

The Democratic Party is blaming Republican leaders for failing to take care of the state's middle class.

big dems

Photo: Dee Jaye (Twitter)

Democrats held their state convention this weekend in Indianapolis, calling it the Big Dem Weekend.

At the Democratic state convention this weekend, Indiana’s Democratic legislative leaders emphasized a vision that includes raising the minimum wage, supporting unions and public schools and promoting equality for all Hoosiers.

Republicans hold supermajorities in both the Indiana House and Senate, and House and Senate minority leaders Scott Pelath and Tim Lanane acknowledge that it will take more than one election cycle for Democrats to recapture control in the Statehouse.

But they hope to begin chipping away at those leads this year.

Lanane says Republicans have already made the case that absolute control of the legislature isn’t working:

“All Republicans with their supermajorities could do was pass yet another round of corporate welfare and corporate tax cuts and try to attempt to lock discrimination into our constitution,” he says.

Pelath says Democrats need to show that they’re fighting to save Indiana’s middle class, and pointed to Governor Mike Pence’s recent announcement about healthcare expansion as proof.

“Since the beginning of the great healthcare debate, Indiana Democrats have battled to ensure that the taxes we already send to Washington are used to secure healthcare for all Hoosiers. And after months of nay-saying, this governor finally figured out that Democrats were right,” Pelath says.

The Democratic Party’s statewide candidates also emphasized the need for balance in state government as they make the case for their election this fall.

There are three statewide offices up for election this fall – Secretary of State, Auditor and Treasurer.  Democrats had their three candidates lined up heading into the party convention, avoiding a floor fight.

Marion County Clerk Beth White will lead the nominees as she runs for Secretary of State. White is focusing largely on voting issues – specifically, what she sees as an orchestrated attempt by Republicans to create barriers to voting by enacting burdensome voter ID laws.

“Disabled people and disabled veterans, our seniors, those people who suffer from health challenges – these people are much less able to overcome these barriers and so their voices are being drowned out,” White says.

Michael Claytor is the first certified public accountant to run for State Auditor.  He says Indiana needs to send a professional to that office to be a watchdog for taxpayer dollars.

Claytor says he will bring fiscal responsibility and common sense to state government.

“I have something that will strike terror into the hearts of the governor’s office and into the hearts of the people that currently work in the auditor’s office: I own a calculator and I know how to use it,” he says.

Democrats chose former Illinois lawmaker Mike Boland to run for state Treasurer. His Republican opponent will be chosen at the state GOP convention in Fort Wayne on June 7.

Republican incumbents Connie Lawson and Suzanne Crouch will run for Secretary of State and Auditor.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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