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March 30, 2011

03/31/11 March—it rains, it snows, the wind blows and spring begins. What a month of opposites!  We tolerate the weather. I have always called March God’s dirty trick to get us from February to April. But at this point, March is almost gone and we are ready for April and spring work.

Another staple of March is basketball. Both high school and college tournaments dominate conversations and television. In the district I represent (House District 23), Triton High School in Bourbon, Indiana played for the state championship in the smallest class. Triton might have become the peoples’ choice, except for one thing: they were playing Metropolitan, a charter school in Indianapolis that had only been eligible for IHSAA play for three years. They are truly an underdog story and one that deserves much credit and recognition.

I congratulate Metropolitan on their win, but also send my congratulations to Triton High School. Progressing to the championship game is a really big deal, and I wish to congratulate Triton and encourage their program to advance again next season.

I would be remiss if I did not throw some “atta boys” to Butler University for their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Final Four. First, this is a tremendous accomplishment and second, this does so much for Indianapolis and Indiana. The publicity and favorable press that comes with a Final Four team is difficult to measure, but one thing is for sure: Butler has had an unbelievable run for two consecutive years. It is nearly impossible for a college of 4,200 students to get to the Final Four two years in a row. Las Vegas doesn’t pay attention to odds that long and ob

scure. Best wishes and good luck to Butler! Oh, did I mention that our daughter graduated from the Butler School of Pharmacy? OK, I’m just promoting our investment.

Two Peru students received an academic honor and award from Comcast this past week. Corey Minard and Leanne Jamison were named the recipients of a scholarship award of $5,000. I am always supportive of students and their efforts to excel. I understand that Corey has even greater awards to announce. Stay tuned for more good news.

Republicans held a total of nine redistricting meetings around the state. The message that we continue to hear from constituents was fair and consistent, “please make the maps reasonable in shape and size, and include communities of interest so the public can understand and predict their representation.” Who can argue with that? We are listening.

Buddy, our three-legged golden retriever, thought I was grumpy this weekend. I told him some of my troubles and some of the troubles with the House runaways. It is obvious that he understood because he later presented me with a dead squirrel. How much more demonstrative could he be? I talked to him about behavior that I thought was “nuts,” and he went out and brought me a squirrel. Buddy just may be the most logical dog in the state.

So, I returned to the Statehouse Monday morning to receive some good news: the Democrats are coming back. They finally decided to end their walkout and return to Indiana to serve Hoosiers and fulfill their elected responsibilities. So I guess after all my discussions and complaining with Buddy, the situation of the General Assembly has turned around.

Now, we have a lot of work to do with limited time. I will be working intensely, with many late nights, during April to conduct the people’s business, pass a balanced budget and avoid a costly special session.

In the meantime, I have legislation to work on and review. Time has become a luxury we don’t have. You will hear more from me next week.

More later,

Bill Friend