Democrats make political history along the mighty Three Rivers

Democratic choice for Indiana
Attorney General Kay Fleming
of Indianapolis.

Photo by Rick Yencer

By Rick Yencer

FORT WAYNE, IN - Indiana Democrats made history Saturday holding their convention in the Summit City and by adding more women to the ballot while opposing a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

 By the end of the Indiana Democratic Party Convention, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful John Gregg, a former speaker of the Indiana House, said the choice in this election was clear.

 "Voters will choose between a candidate whose life is grounded in Indiana and one whose life is out of touch with Indiana and its Hoosier values," said Gregg, referring to Republican opponent Mike Pence, also an Indiana congressman.

 More than 2,000 delegate cheered and stood up with Gregg's message that his first, second and third priorities would be creating jobs and strengthen the economy.

 "Indiana has a lot working in its favor; world-class universities, skilled work force, state o the art hospitals, an emerging life science industry and farms that will fuel the 21st Century," said Gregg, as the crowd waved Gregg-Simpson placards with that walrus sized mustache that has become Gregg"s trademark.

 And Gregg's running mate, state Sen. Vi Simpson, a Democrat from Ellettsville, chimed in with her new slogan, ""Vi partisan" added more party issues including a quality public education for youth, a full day's pay for a full day's work and the right to collectively bargain and organize.

 The Indiana Democratic team was joined by Congressman Joe Donnelly, who wants to be Indiana's next U.S. senator, along with two women, Indianapolis attorney Kay Fleming, who grew up on a farm in Boonville, the Democratic choice for Indiana Attorney General, and Indianapolis teacher Glenda Ritz, an old political hand of State Rep. Ed Delaney, who will be the Democratic candidate for Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction.

 The theme of women and youth prevailed throughout the partisan crowd at the Grand Wayne Convention Center. It is the first time in history that Democrats gathered in Fort Wayne instead of the traditional Indianapolis location.

 And state Sen. Tim Lanane of Anderson, told a group of progressive Democrats caucusing at the convention that it was about time government no longer told people who to sleep with, supporting that platform plank to oppose any Constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage.

"We have to stop the radical agenda of the opposite party," said Lanane, about Republicans.

 In he 6th congressional district caucus, there was was plenty of evidence of women outnumbering men with the new district running from Muncie, Winchester and New Castle to the Ohio River and picking up Madison, Lawrenceburg and Batesville,

Democratic gubernatorial candidate John
Gregg with his sons Hunter and John at the
6th congressional caucus.

Photo By: Rick Yencer

Gone from that  caucus was Democratic congressional candidate Brad Bookout, who was still in China on a trade mission with state and local officials to bring jobs to the community. He was represented by his wife, Lisa, and their three sons, besides his father-in-law Mike Jones, a Delaware County Council member seeking election.

 Lisa Bookout said her husband was out trying to create jobs unlike current congressman Pence who Gregg also blasted as never passing a single piece of legislation during his 12 years in Congress.

 Kathy Carey, who lives in Muncie's Industry neighborhood, listened to every word of many of the candidate's speeches, agreeing that Democrats would do more to improve both employment and educational opportunities. Her father, Tom Carey, runs that barber shop at Willard and Hackley streets, and Carey said she planned to get neighbors organize and register voters to ensure her party prevails in the fall.

 There also was 21-year-old Ryan Davis of Winchester, the youngest candidate at the convention  who wants to be a member of the Randolph County Council. A graduate of Winchester High School, Davis is attending Ivy Tech Community College and wants to make a difference in the community. He is supported by retired auto worker Fred Davis,  the county's Democratic Party chairman, and is a cousin to State Rep. Bill Davis of Portland.

 The new 6th district partisans also selected State Rep. Mike White, D-Muncie, as one of their delegates to the Democratic National Convention, White was honored by the support, pledging to get Democrats elected besides the re-election of Democratic President Barack Obama. Democrats will hold their national convention in Charlotte, N.C. after Labor Day.

 Among Delaware County's delegation was Todd Donati, president of the Delaware County Board of Commissioners; Jerry Dishman, president of Muncie City Council; Mike Quirk, local Democratic Party chairman; his family, parents Jack and Linda, and sister, Anna, along with other community activists.'

 There also were the traditional interests of teachers, labor, Latinos and African-Americans who all held some caucuses to hear the Democratic candidates give their pitch. And there were even some Occupy shirts and chants in the crowd from labor like Indianapolis transit workers and those Occupy Anderson activists fighting the old Killbuck Landfill.


The youngest candidate in Indiana, Ryan Davis of Winchester.

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