With less than four months to go before the November general election, Democratic Party faithful, state and local candidates
gathered at Saturday’s John F. Kennedy Dinner. The annual gathering was at The Jackson Estate and featured guest speakers U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly and U.S. Congressional Dist. 2 candidate Mel Hall. Also there were state representative hopefuls Michelle Livinghouse, running for the Dist. 17 seat currently held by Republican Jack Jordan, and Terry Doran, running for the Dist. 23 seat currently held by retiring Rep. Bill Friend, R-Macy.
Current officeholders and precinct committeemen also were recognized and introduced by Democratic Party Chairwoman and
host Phyllis Biddinger.
The overarching message of the evening was established by Donnelly, who encouraged Democrats to get out the vote. “I know how hard everybody is pushing to try and get the maximum amount of votes. What we’re working on is a team across the state to turn out as many voters as we can to make sure Indiana’s voice is heard,” he said, noting Indiana had the lowest voter turnout of all the states in 2014, with 28 percent of registered voters casting ballots. “We’re working nonstop to make sure we dramatically increase that number so that everybody’s voice is heard here in Fulton County.”
Donnelly is in a closely watched race this year to retain his U.S. Senate seat. He faces Republican challenger Mike Braun in the Nov. 6 general election.
Speaking briefly, Donnelly condemned the GOP tax bill, was critical of calls for cuts to Medicare and Social Security and re-affirmed his commitment to fight for affordable health care coverage for Hoosiers.
“At the end of the day, it’s about our children, and that we hand off to them a strong, better country than we were given,” he said.
“That’s what you’re all working on today, and that’s what we’re all going to be working nonstop to accomplish as we head to November.”
Mel Hall, who has been a Methodist minister, community organizer and corporate CEO, told Democrats: “We need to get
out the vote and not just our own.” “I believe our future is at stake,” he said. “I think it’s a difference between whether we’re going to have the politics of fear or the politics of hope, the politics of business as usual or the politics of
getting something done.”
He faces Republican incumbent Jackie Walorski, who has held Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District seat since 2012.
“I have never run for political office before,” Hall said. “It’s something to which I have never aspired, but I am convinced we
can do better.” He said he doesn’t believe in “career politicians” but citizen government.
“We have a representative from this district in Washington who has 20 years been running for office. On the farm, we would say that’s been feeding at the trough way too long,” he said.
He noted he’s not beholden to special interests, doesn’t accept PAC money and will not take money from lobbyists. He supports affordable and accessible health care and jobs that pay a living wage.
“I believe most people in the 2nd District are tired of politics as usual,” he said. “There’s no doubt that Congress is broken … In
the interest of brutal honesty, sometimes both parties are responsible for that.”
He vowed to work across the aisle if elected.