---- — One of the programs that our staff participates in every year is for press secretaries and legislative assistants to make a visit to a legislator’s district. The people who assist legislators often are from different areas of the state and many have not seen our community. Leadership has encouraged staff to make visits and better understand the specific traits and highlights of the 100 districts.
On Monday, July 8, my staff traveled to District 23, and we took the time to visit many of the important parts of the district. The first thing we did was take a windshield tour of Cass County, driving them by the U.S. 24, Hoosier Heartland Corridor. We often receive letters, phone calls and emails about the new highway. It is important that the staff understand what this project is all about.
I pointed out the construction of the new highway and its connection to U.S. 24. Of course, on the way is the Waste Management landfill, a facility that generates some public comment. Next is the new Ivy Tech Community College building, which is a major asset to the area. We then did a drive-thru of Tyson Foods, and I explained that it employs almost 2,000 people and processes 15,000 hogs per day. It is a major employer and taxpayer in the community. We also observed the Logansport State Hospital property and its many different functions. It is an important part of the area, both in its function as well as its employment.
We visited with the mayor of Logansport, Ted Franklin, and he explained his goal of a new electricity generating plant. It was enlightening as we learned many details about the concept. The staff will be able to respond more effectively to calls and emails about this project.
After lunch at a nice local restaurant in Peru, Café du Cirque, which was very good, we went to visit the mayor of Peru, Jim Walker. It was a great discussion about city government and taxation. The mayor is concerned about property taxes and the schedule of deductions and exemptions that effect tax collections for the city. He is anxious to present his position to decision-makers so adjustments can be made to help the city.
Our next visit was to the Peru Tribune, and we met the editor, Grace Stamper. Congenialities were exchanged, and it was a good visit. Nick Goodwin, my press secretary, was pleased to have a face-to-face with Grace since their work together had been previously limited to phone calls and emails. We had done the same thing in Logansport with the Pharos-Tribune staff, also with a good result.
Our next stop was a drive-thru of the Bellar deer farm to give some perspective of this business. They were amazed at the deer and the size of the facility. The office receives communications frequently about this place, and it is very important that they have some idea about this deer farm.
Next, we went to Vohne Liche Kennels to speak to Ken Licklider and get some perspective of his business as a dog trainer. The business trains bomb, drug, cadaver and protection dogs. They sell dogs all over the world, and Mr. Licklider is truly an entrepreneur here in Miami County.
The last stop was at my hog business. We took a short tour of the pigs and how we operate to produce a quality product for consumption by the public. It was an eye-opening experience for my city dwelling staff, but they certainly enjoyed the opportunity to see where their bacon comes from.
This is a great program that helps staff to understand and relate to issues in the district. I hope we can do it again. It helps our government to be more efficient and effective.
Bill Friend, is a Republican representing District 23 in the Indiana House of Representatives. You can reach him at 317-232-9831.