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Kruzan Recommends Mediator for Statehouse

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Photo: Dan Goldblatt (WFIU News)

Kruzan was part of the 1995 walkout.

A Democrat who was part of his party’s 1995 walkout says it may be time to call on a panel of mediators to help bring Democratic House members back from Illinois.

Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan was the Minority Whip when Democrats halted work in the House in 1995, over a dispute regarding political redistricting in the state. Then, former Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Givan was called in to act as a mediator between the two sides, and succeeded in restarting discussions after a two-week stalemate.

Kruzan Wednesday suggested former Lieutenant Governor John Mutz and former Governor Joe Kernan as possible negotiators who might be respected enough by both sides of the aisle to work through the impasse.

“They don’t have anything personally at stake,” he said, “they’re not running for office. It’s a Republican and a Democrat. Come forward and say, ‘We don’t know who’s to blame; doesn’t matter who’s to blame, work’s not getting done. It seems to me you ought to do this.’ And they pick five things that everybody comes back and has to work on.”

Today, House Speaker Brian Bosma said he was cutting off discussions with the missing lawmakers, adding he couldn’t offer any more help.

“We’ve moved as far as we can possible move and it’s time for them to return to the chamber.”

Bosma criticized Democrats Thursday for the length of the walkout, calling it one of the longest in the nation’s history.

Kruzan said Democrats may not have a choice but to stay away at this point, noting that even though some constituents are already displeased, even loyal party backers could drop their support if the party is seen as returning with no concessions and wasting a month’s worth of taxpayer money.

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