Indiana

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Indiana joined the union as the 19th state on December 11, 1816. Indianapolis has been the capital since 1825. Northern Indiana was settled by migrants from New England and northern Europe, especially Germany, while the southern half of the state was settled by migrants from the mountain south.

Unlike virtually every other state, the term people from Indiana use to refer to themselves is not a variation of the state's name (e.g.: Nevadans, New Yorkers). Residents and natives are "Hoosiers" and have been calling themselves that since the 1830s. If anything, this term gave the state its nickname, "The Hoosier State." Constructions like "Indianan" or "Indianian" are a sign of utter unfamiliarity with the state.

Contents

Government

Indiana's Government was modeled after the Federal Government's. The executive is composed of the Governor and Lt. Governor, the Legislative is composed of the General Assembly and the Judicial is composed of the Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and circuit courts.

Indiana is currently operating under its second constitution which replaced the original in 1851.

The Governor of Indiana is elected to a four year term, of which he or she may only serve 8 years total within a 12 year period. The governor has the authority to appoint and dismiss the heads of nearly all state commissions, departments, and institutions. The Governor of Indiana holds tremendous power, much more so than other states.

Other elected officials include: Lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, auditor, and treasurer. The Lieutenant Governor is another powerful office in that it not only is the President of the Senate but also is the executive in charge of the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce.

The Legislature of Indiana, called the General Assembly, consists of a 100 member House of Representatives and a 50 member senate.

The courts of Indiana are headed by the five member supreme court. The justices are selected by the governor for a two year term after which the voters decide to retain the judge for another 10 year term.

Politics

A Republican stronghold since Lincoln, Indiana (described as a southern state that's in the north) has rarely turned Democrat in the general presidential elections. Indiana has voted for a Democrat in the general election - once in 1964 for Lyndon Johnson, in 1936 and 1932 for Franklin Roosevelt, in 1912 for Woodrow Wilson and 1892 for Grover Cleveland.

Recently, however, Indiana has become decidedly more Democratic. Beginning with the two-time election of Evan Bayh and continuing with the two-time election of Bayh's Lieutenant Governor, Frank O'Bannon, the Democratic Party began an uninterrupted term of control of the Governor's office lasting 16 years. Currently however, the Governor is Republican Mitch Daniels, an Indianapolis native that has begun souring many Hoosiers by closing licence branches and cutting education. His approval rating is erroding and many Hoosier Democrats are taking to flag standing, or flying the Indiana state flag upside down, in protest of the current administration's foolishness.

Long-standing history places the steel mill country of Lake and Porter Counties in the Lake Michigan region ("The Region") and the Slavic (Polish, Hungarian, Serbian) neighborhoods of South Bend's West Side as staunchly Democratic areas of Indiana. But recent history has shown that modern GOTV efforts by individual campaigns and more progressive-thinking local Democratic Parties has paid off with Democrats now controlling 7 of Indiana's top 10 cities' mayors offices, including Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend and Evansville. Bloomington, home to Indiana University is a typically progressive college town.

A unique study in local government, Indianapolis has been slow to move past the Republican-engineered "UniGov" city-county merger of the 1960's that forcibly returned suburbanite voters to the City of Indianapolis and kept Republicans in power in the Mayor's office for over 30 years. 1999 was a watershed year for the city, as they finally elected a Democrat Mayor, Bart Peterson, for the first time since Marion County and the City of Indianapolis were consolidated into one civic government. In the 2003 elections, Indianapolis, still considered one of the largest Republican urban centers, elected a Democrat majority to the City-County council.

Indiana's Democratic ideology is largely dictated by the labor movement as expressed by a triumvirate of the Indiana AFL-CIO, the Region 2 (Indiana-Kentucky) UAW, and the Indiana Building and Construction Trades Unions. Black-American issues are especially potent in urban areas, but Hispanic Democratic organization has lagged behind in most of the state.

Indiana has been and remains a socially conservative state, and most elections are won by Democrats when Democrats frame economic issues to their advantage. Socially conservative Democrats like U.S. Senator Evan Bayh and former U.S. Representative Tim Roemer have enjoyed long political careers by employing many of the policy positions of the Democratic Leadership Council, of which both have played a major part at some point in their respective careers.

When in doubt about the mood of the Indiana voter, one should take care to remember the Axiom of Indiana Politics: "Hoosiers hate change."

To date 57 Hoosiers have been killed in the War in Iraq.

Indiana Congressional Delegation

  • House of Representatives

(3 Democrats, 6 Republicans)

State Government

  • State Constitution
    • Indiana State Constitution (State of Indiana)

Cities & Counties

Elections

News, Etc

Fun Facts

  • Indiana is one of only two states with a statutory exeption from seatbelt use laws for pickup trucks. Georgia is the other.

Political Blogs

External Links

  • Howey Political Report - A leading Indiana political publication
  • IN Group - Home page for a number of political sheets, including Indiana Legislative Insight, Indiana Education Insight, and Indiana Gaming Insight

See also

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