Pelath Hopes For Focus on Jobs, Education

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House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath (D-9) believes the pending debate on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage will likely overshadow issues including education and job creation during the 2014 session of the Indiana General Assembly. In outlining Democrat goals, Pelath says, instead of focusing on those matters, the session will "inflame emotions of people" across the state by voting on the issue of marriage equality. November 19, 2013

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House Democratic leaders said today that lawmakers should devote the 2014 legislative session to issues that benefit Hoosiers – middle class economic empowerment and income growth – rather than divide them – debating and voting on a proposal to include a ban on marriage equality in the state constitution.

House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath from Michigan City issued the following statement:

"To date, the goals that the Governor and the legislative super-majorities have for the coming legislative session remain murky.

“The House Democratic agenda is clear. We will fight for Hoosier prosperity by empowering consumers, workers, and other profit creators.

“First of all, we must do what we can to lift up Indiana’s middle class families. For too long, this Assembly has lavished its attention only on the people with all the power and all the money. The results have yielded one economic failure after another, including an unemployment rate that remains stuck around 8 percent.

“It is time to face up to the fact that what we have been doing is not working. We need to stop numbing ourselves to the obvious by talking incessantly about rankings in magazines and studies that prove nothing. We need to start building a state where parents can earn a decent living and where their kids want to stay.

“We must address some of our state’s core problems – our crumbling infrastructure and the costs of health care, for instance – and find solutions that put good wages into the pockets of struggling Hoosiers.

"We must make our state’s public schools – the backbone of our educational system – whole again. We can begin by letting our Superintendent of Public Instruction do the job that the people of Indiana hired her to do. Hoosiers didn’t elect the state Board of Education, and they certainly didn’t ask for another layer of bureaucracy to stand in our way.

“We have seen positive, bipartisan steps to reform the A to F debacle that the former school superintendent inflicted upon us. That is a good start toward helping all kids, not just those who go to schools that get to pick and choose who they want to teach.

“And while we’re at it, let’s take a few steps to make it easier on middle class families to pay for their kids’ schooling. Parents of kids in private schools and charters get tax breaks to pay for textbooks and other supplies. Why can’t parents of kids in public schools? It’s the fair thing to do.

“These are things we should be doing in the 2014 session, but we won’t.

“Instead, we will inflame the emotions of people across Indiana by making them vote on a marriage equality ban.

“The Republican leaders of this state have determined that this matter must be handled, so we can look forward to many hours of angry debate regarding a group of our fellow citizens. At the same time, it won’t address a single serious economic issue facing Hoosiers. In fact, it may drive some of our nation's best and brightest away from Indiana.

“Indiana House Democrats will choose to focus on those issues in 2014: prosperity through education and empowering the middle class. We encourage the majorities to join us in that effort.”Source: Indiana House Democrats