While waiting on the new redistricting maps to be revealed, thoughts turn to election season 2022. As The Herald Bulletin in Anderson reported on Aug. 16: “Just minutes after 2-1/2 hours of testimony criticizing the Republican redistricting process, activists learned that leaders didn’t plan to consider one of citizens’ major demands: public, statewide hearings after the publication of new district lines.”
It is apparent to many who follow the innerworkings of the Statehouse that the Republican supermajority can and will do what it wants with little regard for the voices of all Hoosiers. The evidence is clear: These elected officials don’t work for the people to improve lives; they work for themselves to stay in power. The supermajority has little interest in the views of those with differing ideologies.
Need more evidence? Let’s look at the ever-growing, never-ending pandemic. The focus on corporate profitability over human lives couldn’t have been more evident than with the policies introduced in the 2021 General Assembly.
◗ House Bill 1336: Establishes the business owner compensation fund to pay business owners for losses experienced before July 1, 2021, that were caused by the state as a result of executive orders issued due to COVID-19.
◗ Senate Bill 1: Provides civil tort immunity for damages arising from COVID-19 on the premises owned or operated by a person, at which the person or an employee or agent of the person provided property or services to the individual.
◗ HB 1258: Provides that a person or the person’s agent who conducts business in Indiana is not liable in a civil action claiming an injury from exposure or potential exposure to COVID-19.
◗ Gov. Holcomb’s ending federal pandemic unemployment before the program’s initial end date, forcing people back to work without safety protections.
Where is the legislation by the Indiana GOP focusing on the protections for those we call non-medical essential workers? They don’t exist, and the logical conclusion is: Those workers weren’t important enough for lawmakers to craft legislation to put their lives first.
The persistent demand to free up workers to fill low-wage jobs also included the decision to send unvaccinated children back to school without mask and vaccination mandates. Unnecessarily exposing children, educators, administrators and facility workers to the virus is negligence on behalf of our elected officials, and they should be held accountable.
If a few people contracted COVID, passed it on to loved ones, became hospitalized or died, chalk it up to the cost of doing business in Indiana. How can the supermajority call itself pro-life when it isn’t interested in doing everything possible to protect the most vulnerable humans, the children?
Therefore, it is now time to focus on the 2022 election cycle. Politics is not just about who has the best personality or who can raise the most money. It is about who is going to write the policies that protect Hoosiers, who is going to listen to the concerns of the real economic drivers of our state—the everyday taxpayer. Those who pay the salaries of everyone employed in the state government. The frustrations are real, and we must use that energy to create the change we desperately need.
Republicans scorn the size of government, then work tirelessly to reduce its impact … well, except for women’s bodies; they’re fair game. The question should be, why elect people to government who loathe it? Our lives should never be the price for Republican power.•
Black is former deputy chairwoman for engagement for the Indiana Democratic Party and a former candidate for the Indiana House. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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