Goodin: House Democratic priorities for 2018 include helping families, investigating DCS, reforming elections
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House Democratic Leader Terry Goodin from Austin announced today that the caucus will focus in the 2018 Indiana General Assembly on initiatives to improve the lives of Hoosier families, bring needed election reform to our state, and find answers to the troubled state Department of Child Services (DCS).
In his opening remarks to House members, Goodin said the 30 House Democrats would strive to help Hoosiers have “the opportunity to get a good job so they can raise their families with dignity and their children can have hope for a brighter tomorrow.”
In that light, Goodin said the caucus would stand up for working families by seeking increases in the state minimum wage, “asking corporations that beg for handouts from our state’s taxpayers to pay a living wage for the workers they hire,” supporting the concept of equal pay for equal work, and protecting communities from the disaster of opioid abuse.
“We will stand firm in our belief that no one—NO ONE—should work a full-time job in Indiana and still live in poverty,” Goodin said.
To change a growing belief that Indiana has turned into “a state where the lawmakers select their constituents, rather than the other way around,” Goodin said House Democrats will strive to establish an independent commission to oversee the drawing of legislative and Congressional districts.
Goodin said House Democrats will press their Republican counterparts and Gov. Eric Holcomb to take a more active role in investigating the problems affecting DCS that caused its previous director, Mary Beth Bonaventura, to resign because she felt the current administration was pursuing policies that will, in her words, “all but ensure children will die.”
Holcomb already has announced the agency will be assessed by a private organization, but the governor chose not to include the Legislature in that assessment.
“If we as lawmakers simply stand by and let this mess fester without doing something…anything…then we have failed our mission,” Goodin said.
“I am demanding these bodies do something,” he continued. “We have oversight powers. Let us reach out to Gov. Holcomb and let him know that our equal branch of government will conduct hearings right now about how to repair DCS. If legislation is needed, then we can pass it.
“It doesn’t matter that this is a short session. As I recall, the purpose of a short session is to address emergency matters. What could be more dire than protecting at-risk children?” Goodin asked.
Finally, Goodin encouraged lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to begin to re-think the educational experience in Indiana, with an eye toward developing a new model that stresses rigor and achievement and a system that allows students to earn advanced degrees and specialized training before they leave high school.
“It is time to start listening to the demands of our local schools and funding them properly,” Goodin said. “Let’s give the education system back to the world’s best students, the world’s best parents, and the world’s best educators. That work should begin by inspiring debate on what we haven’t been doing.”