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DAVIS: Public sphere needs Hoosier hospitality

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Kathy DavisWe have a disconnect in Indiana that we need to fix.

Ask Hoosiers what makes us special and likely you will hear about Hoosier hospitality. People get a warm welcome, a fair shake and an equal shot at a good future. You’ll hear that hard work, fair play and simple reasonableness are valued more than making waves or scoring points (except in basketball, of course.)

But lately people are moving the welcome mat off the front porch.

Start with House Joint Resolution 6, the leader in inhospitable messages. The constitutional amendment is born of deep religious conviction, but it is unfriendly and unwelcoming and unreal.

Our constitution is about our core rights as citizens and how we organize for the common good. It’s not for writing super laws and making permanent handcuffs.

Compromise is not giving up on conviction, but incorporating a larger view.

If not marriage, what? Access to health care for partners? Inheritance and medical next of kin? Adoption and tax benefits? The second sentence of HJR-6 puts all those at risk.

Let’s be about new rights, not hurdles to family security.

Recently, I was on a panel with former Deputy Mayor Michael Huber, who now heads the Indy Chamber. Much of the discussion was about attracting employers to our city. Huber said the competition for corporations is no longer based on a comparison of incentives and taxes and costs of doing business. Instead, employers locate where their people want to live—is the community welcoming?

The Indy Chamber took a strong and impressive stand against HJR-6, telling us that equality is not an optional amenity.

If the fight over HJR-6 continues, Indiana will be on the national stage for a year looking closed-minded. On network news, cable talk shows and the pages of national publications, people will get an overriding message that in Indiana, non-traditional is not welcome.

That’s not the coverage our business and government leaders need as they work to make us a global city in the competitive world community.

Ask Hoosiers about the discord in D.C. and they’ll shake their heads and say D.C. just needs a little Hoosier common sense and fairness.

But lately we’re not paragons of public service. In fact, a lot of poor-loser antics are under way. Our kids are the losers.

Glenda Ritz soundly defeated Tony Bennett. It made all the papers. It was a surprise to many, but this was not a Bush-Gore nail-biter—Ritz won big.

How have her opponents responded? A hand across the aisle to work on behalf of our kids’ education? Just the opposite.

Gov. Pence and our supermajority Legislature are working their end runs around voters—stripping powers, stacking boards, taking responsibilities away that they aren’t prepared to handle—anything to avoid working with the Democratic state superintendent for whom more than 1.3 million Hoosiers voted. More than who voted for Pence.

We want to attract, keep and grow bright and committed people. We want them to get involved, move our city and state forward, become our next leaders. Who will put themselves out there if we ignore what voters ask for? Who wants to live here if we stand against equal rights?

Hoosier hospitality is not quaint spats and bustles and a butter churn kind of thing. It’s the lifeblood of Indiana’s being great. Let’s hold ourselves to it, even when it’s hard. If we all will, Hoosier hospitality will get easier again.

Everyone is welcome and ingenuity is valued. Hoosier hospitality is rule one.•

__________

Davis is a former Indiana lieutenant governor who owns and operates the Indianapolis technology firm Davis Design Group LLC. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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  1. Great article and post scripts by Mike L (Great addition to IBJ BTW). Bobby's stubborn as a mule, and doubt if he ever comes back to IU. But the love he would receive would be enormous. Hope he shows some time, but not counting on it.

  2. When the Indiana GOP was going around the State selling the Voucher bill they were promising people that the vouchers would only be for public charter schools. They lied. As usual.

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  4. Jim, your "misleading" numbers comment is spot on. This is the spin these posers are putting on it. News flash, fans: these guys lie. They are not publicly traded so no one holds them accountable for anything they say. The TV numbers are so miniscule to begin with any "increase" produces double digit "growth" numbers. It's ridiculous to think that anything these guys have done has awakened the marketplace. What have they done? Consolidate the season so they run more races on consecutive weekends? And this creates "momentum." Is that the same momentum you enjoy when you don't race between August and March? Keep in mind that you are running teams who barely make ends meet ragged over the summer to accomplish this brilliant strategy of avoiding the NFL while you run your season finale at midnight on the East Coast. But I should not obfuscate my own point: any "ratings increase" is exactly what Jim points to - the increased availability of NBC Sports in households. Look fans, I love the sport to but these posers are running it off a cliff. Miles wants to declare victory and then run for Mayor. I could go on and on but bottom line for God's sake don't believe a word they say. Note to Anthony - try doing just a little research instead of reporting what these pretenders say and then offering an "opinion" no more informed than the average fan.

  5. If he's finally planning to do the right thing and resign, why not do it before the election? Waiting until after means what - s special election at tax payer expense? Appointment (by whom?) thus robbing the voters of their chance to choose? Does he accrue some additional financial advantage to waiting, like extra pension payments? What's in it for him? That's the question that needs to be asked.

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