• Stu Clampitt

Fishers feels the purple rain

Updated: Jul 13

JULY 1, 2022

By STU CLAMPITT

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Several Democratic and Libertarian candidates attended part of the Indiana Democratic Party’s 2022 Town Hall Series on Tuesday at the Fishers branch of the Hamilton East Public Library, 5 Municipal Drive. With over 150 people in attendance, it was a room packed with local citizens who wanted to hear and speak with candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Indiana Secretary of State, and the state legislature.


Democrats who organized this event told The Reporter they extended the invitation to both Libertarians and Republicans, and said the GOP declined to attend.


Candidates in attendance included:

  • Tom McDermott (D, U.S. Senate)

  • James Sceniak (L, U.S. Senate)

  • Destiny Wells (D, Ind. Secretary of State)

  • Jeff Maurer (L, Ind. Secretary of State)

  • Jeannine Lee Lake (D, U.S. House District 5)

  • Victoria Garcia Wilburn (D, Ind. House District 32)

  • Jocelyn Vare (D, Ind. Senate District 31)

There was no set theme for the town hall. Indiana Democrats told The Reporter they wanted to address the kitchen-table issues important to voters, and from issues like inflation and law enforcement funding to education and broadband, candidates and elected officials answered as many questions as possible during the 90-minute conversation.


“In order to truly represent Hoosiers and restore balance to every level of government in Indiana, it’s imperative for voters from all walks of life to hear from the leaders of our political parties about the important issues of the day – and also ask questions directly to the people who seek to serve us. It’s my hope that through this town hall series, some decency and understanding can be restored in our political conversations – even when we disagree,” Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party Mike Schmuhl said. “This is the seventh time the Indiana Democratic Party has embarked on a statewide tour, and with leaders like Tom McDermott and Destiny Wells headlining this effort, Democrats are eager to share our plans on how we will create a better future for Hoosier families in all 92 counties.”


If you did not attend the Town Hall but would like to hear for yourself what was said, you can watch it at this link.


Destiny Wells

Democrat for Indiana Secretary of State

Democratic candidate for Indiana Secretary of State Destiny Wells told The Reporter she thought the turnout in Fishers was impressive.


“It was a great turnout,” Wells said. “We’ve seen this enthusiasm in some of the more urban, metropolitan areas. I’ve been telling people we are not a red state, we are a purple state with a turnout problem, and that message is landing. It’s getting people excited and now everybody has these issues that feel very personal to them. It’s nice to see people show up and advocate for those issues.”


Wells said she believes being a lawyer and a former military intelligence officer makes her uniquely qualified for this job.


“In 2016, I got to Afghanistan two weeks before the election, and during that presidency and being overseas and feeling the turmoil that was staring to bubble up, I decided when I got home, I wanted to extend my service beyond the uniform,” Wells told The Reporter. “That started a series of events moving forward like taking a job as a deputy AG, even though it was under Curtis Hill, and getting more involved in the party.”


She said part of the reason she is running for Secretary of State is because the Jan. 6 incidents made her want to help protect voters’ rights and the election system.


“When Jan. 6 happened last year, one of my law school classmates stormed the Capitol,” Wells said. “One of the attorneys who has been at the forefront of the lawsuits we have seen trying to overturn the election. All of that just percolated, and when the Secretary of State race came open in Indiana and was coming up, and all this national conversation of subverting elections, I thought, ‘What an office for me to pursue to do the most I can.’ That’s why I’m running for Secretary of State.”


She told The Reporter she sees GOP Candidate Diego Morales as a threat to democracy.


“I know this race it going to be a really big deal,” Wells said. “I have been trying to get people’s attention to the threat. I see Diego as a threat as I would as an intelligence officer. I identify this movement as a threat to democracy. Once we open the can of worms here in Indiana of possibly subverting elections or very intentionally suppressing the vote, that’s hard to undo.”


Tom McDermott

Democrat for U.S. Senate

U.S. Senate Candidate and Hammond, Ind. Mayor Tom McDermott said he was touring the state on Tuesday and was very pleased to cap off his day in Hamilton County.


“When I walked into the library in Fishers with 150-plus people energized and excited it was a great day,” McDermott said. “I was excited to be there. It was a very good showing for Hamilton County and obviously Fishers is a beautiful city.”


McDermott calls himself a frustrated American and a frustrated Hoosier who thinks the country could do better.


“I think it’s become acceptable when we send people to Washington, D.C. for them to just represent a segment of the population,” McDermott said. “My goal as U.S. Senator is to represent all 6.6 million Hoosiers. I realize some of them feel differently about issues than I do, but I still want to represent them and do a good job for them.


He told The Reporter he believes the country is not doing well right now. One of his examples of that was the recent Supreme Court decision on abortion.


“I have always been a supporter of the Supreme Court but seeing that half our population is losing their civil liberties right now with 50 years of precedent being tossed out with Roe v. Wade, is very sad,” McDermott said.


Another issue McDermott said is important to him is gun control, especially in light of the rise of school shootings.


“I have a lifetime permit to carry a gun in Indiana and I do carry my gun often, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pass laws to regulate the Second Amendment,” McDermott said. “If you look at the third word of the Second Amendment, ‘A well regulated Militia,’ regulated means laws. The job of Congress is to pass laws and to deal with the Second Amendment. I don’t want to take people’s guns. But I don’t want bad guys with military-style assault weapons killing a bunch of kids either. Our politicians in Washington, D.C. are afraid to touch this issue.”


McDermott said he is running because he believes Todd Young is not doing a good job representing his constituents.


“Todd Young is talking about what a horrible president Joe Biden is because of inflation and the cost of gas. I take a different approach,” McDermott said.

“Todd Young has been in Washington, D.C. for 12 years. He’s been a U.S. Senator for six years. What the heck as he done to make inflation lower? What’s he done to address the price of gas? Nothing. It has become acceptable for a U.S. Senator, one of the most powerful people in the United States, to point at a guy who just got to Washington, D.C. and say, ‘it’s all your fault.’ I’m not going to let him get away with it.”


McDermott used his time as mayor of Hammond as an example of how he thinks leaders should address issues in their areas of influence.


“You don’t find me complaining about the city of Hammond because I have been in charge of the city of 18 years,” McDermott said. “If I complained about the crime rate in Hammond or the condition of the roads, I’d be complaining about the job I did. But this guy is a U.S. Senator who has been there for 12 years and he’s complaining about problems in Washington, D.C., like immigration and inflation. That’s his job and he’s failed at it. It’s time to fire Todd Young.”


Jocelyn Vare

Democrat for Indiana Senate District 31

Jocelyn Vare, an at-large member of the Fishers City Council and candidate for Indiana Senate District 31, told The Reporter, “The 100-plus Hamilton County residents in attendance were well-informed and very disappointed with how the current statehouse supermajority is running Indiana. They are loudly challenging the supermajority’s out-of-touch priorities. If after this event anyone still believes that Hamilton County and especially Fishers – the host city for this Town Hall – are wholly and contentedly red, they are simply not listening to what voters are saying.”