John Gregg comes out swinging (against Pence)

Dateline: Fri 22 Apr 2011

and against unplanned parenthood, being demonized and GOP posturing.

I have to say -- I've loved this guy for a long time.  When I was writing columns for the Indianapolis Star about the White River fish kill, back in days of the O'Bannon administration, Gregg and other legislators from out of town would lodge at the Athletic Club.  The concierge at the time told me Gregg would get up every morning and grab a copy of the Star to read my column and  "see what the fish lady was saying." Was that before or after coffee?

He remains as fresh and funny as ever. Although he was sidelined a few years ago (2004) with prostate cancer, he's back in the game now. And up and running. Leaner, too, after a loss of 60 lbs., and ready to take on Mike Pence and any comers in the race for governor.

Thanks to Brian Howey for this report, and thanks to a reader who sent it this way in a timely fashion:


From  The Howey Political Report

By Brian Howey

INDIANAPOLIS - John Gregg was nervous.
Last night he would announce the formal establishment of a gubernatorial campaign committee as he was faced with a different audience. He had been doing Jefferson-Jackson dinners in rural counties. But Wednesday night he was addressing the Washington Township Democratic Club in Indianapolis. This is a mostly educated, professional group.
Would they buy into the emerging campaign of the man from tiny Sandborn?
After 30 minutes, Gregg received a standing ovation.
While he talked about the “opportunities” of clean coal technology, methane gas and 20 to 40 acre agricultural greenhouses all within 500 miles of markets in Atlanta, Detroit and Kansas City, he met many of the festering issues head on.
“What about FSSA?” Gregg asked. “They were going to privatize it. It was another one of their great switches. They tried it. They pulled it back. Now we have a billion dollars of pending lawsuits. Those are misguided opportunities.”
Gregg turned to abortion. “I want to share with you something you may already know,” he began. “I’m in the minority of our party on a social issue dealing with choice. I am one of those pro-life Democrats. The great thing about our party is we invite everybody in regardless of where we are on that issue. We agree on about 85 percent of the issues. But they want to talk about that issue. And now they want to talk about Planned Parenthood. The problem in America isn’t Planned Parenthood, it’s unplanned parenthood.”
The crowd of about 100 laughed and applauded.
“It’s unplanned parenthood,” Gregg repeated, taking aim at U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, his probable opponent. “For those who don’t know, have you ever looked and seen about Planned Parenthood? Have you seen what they do? They do health screenings, birth control, counseling. They do cancer screenings for women and men, a preventative measure. I’m going on seven years of being cancer free due to early detection.”
“Frankly,” Gregg continued, “I’m insulted they want to take away preventative health care from people. That’s just not right. We don’t do that. These are for people who can’t afford to go anywhere else. That’s not an opportunity. We need to be concentrating on jobs. But they don’t want to do that because it’s the same old wedge issue that they’ve had for years. They don’t want a lot of these wedge issues to go away.”
Asked if he would push anti-abortion laws, Gregg said that as speaker he did not hand down a single abortion bill. “The U.S. Supreme Court has made it the law of the land.”
Gregg talked about the GOP “attacks” on unions and public education.  
“They want to make it a Right to Work state,” he said. “They are settling old scores. They were doing the wedge, the fear, the divide, the conquer.”
As for public education, Gregg appeared to evolve.  “We’ve been a little lax at time,” he said of Democrats. “I’ve got to be candid.  Some of our public school systems have some major problems and we’ve probably been a little wrong not to admit that and not to look at ways to solve that. I truly think we have been. But they want to dismantle it with a voucher system and solve it with a charter system. They only serve 2 percent of the students. We need to concetrate on education. We need to take that great teacher and we need to empower them. We need to get them more involved. We’ve got to help the poor teachers. And you know what? If they can’t get better they need to go somewhere else.”
Then Gregg described a culture of fear. “They always do fear, they always do wedge. They demonize us. We’re not going to let them do that anymore. I’m not going to let them define me and I’m not going to let them define you.”
“You want to talk about a social issue? Here in Marion County tonight there are going to be 25,000 kids who go to bed hungry,” Gregg said. “That’s a social issue. You know another social issue? Nine percent unemployment. They aren’t doing anything about it. The next governor needs to be working with all the people in the state. He needs to make jobs No. 1. The second thing is jobs. The third thing is jobs. We’ve got to work together. We need to have a big table.”
“They want to talk about radical. I’ll tell you what, I’m radically reasonable. I really am. That’s what we all need to be. We’ve got to work together. The next governor ought to unite us, not divide us.” He noted that during two of his six years as House Speaker, there was a 50/50 split. “For every bill that passed out of the House, we had to have at least one Republican,” Gregg explained. “How did we get it? We worked together. We worked together and we can work together. We’ve got to find our common ground and be radically reasonable with this.”
“I am convinced I can help people get together. I’ve given it some serious thought and I will announce in May an exploratory committee for governor. I’m excited about it,” Gregg said.
Indianapolis Democrats were, too.


Tell The Truth [Member] said:

He's Abe Martin-meets-2011.

We could do worse. And we have.

A tremendously compassionate man. Practical on the tough issues.

My dream ticket would be Gregg and Vi Simpson.

2011-04-23 05:38:21

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

Good for Gregg.
I don't like anyone running for office on the idea that his "traditional moral values" are somehow superior to yours, or mine.
The 3rd Reich began with the proposition that Herr Hitler's standards and values were better for Germans than anyone else's. The 2nd World War began with the propositon that Germans bought into this nonsense. Thus a nation of scientists, musicians, scholars and philsophers descended into evil because none said "this is bullshit."

2011-04-23 11:47:36

hendy [Member] said:

Gregg's estimation of the fear-based culture hits the nail on the head. I know that the phrase "angry Democrat" has been an oxymoron, but there are other core problems not addressed so far: 1) our bribed legislature and governor's office 2) two old and crusty political parties that both desperately need to get youth involved 3) core infrastructure problems that are the responsibility, constitutionally, of government 4) the inability to manage, hence the need to outsource core government function 5) weak Secretary of State oversight of insurance and corporate malfeasance 6) the Taliban Christian hijacking of ostensibliy moral issues.

Ok. Enough for now. Happy holy days to those that celebrate them.

2011-04-23 18:29:35

Jason [unverified] said:

I'm confused, was he accusing the Republicans of wedge, fear, divide, and conquer? Or was he saying that's what he's going to be doing if he's elected?

I think I read both in there somewhere. It's nice to see some competition out there, though, I was afraid it was going to be a boring election cycle.

He comes across as extremely moderate which is a nice change. I think finding a rigid social progressive Democrat would have been the wrong answer for running against Pence. Sometimes fighting fire with water works better.

2011-04-23 22:08:27

hendy [Member] said:

Sounds like a nice aphorism, but let's take a look at the limp-wristed way that Jill Long lost the last election. Altho she's a family friend, her campaign didn't have teeth. Hell, it didn't have dentures. Lots of people split-their-ticket (probably Ruth, too) to vote for Daniels. And look what they got. Homophobia, decimation of teachers unions and unions in general, more failed outsourcing, deeper debt, tons of high profile bankruptcies, lots of lack of oversight by the Secretary of State, an illegal election of the same, huge unemployment, lots of tax-jiggering for the rich and wealthy, and the RadicRights steering the ship into the rocks. Again.

Whoever runs for governor will need incite riots. Nothing else seems to work in a bad economy.

2011-04-24 09:22:24

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Hendy, once again you nailed it - this time on the job performance of My Multi-Millionaire Mitch.

John Gregg sounds like a viable candidate against Pence.
Hey, anyone but Pence! I have met the man and talked to him at length and he scares me. All persona. Hard to find a human beating heart in there. Calculating. Egomaniacal. Narcissistic.

Encompasses everything disturbing to me about right-wing, fundamentalist (so-called) "Christianity."

I can't imagine a worse governor that Rich Mitch, but Pence may qualify if - heaven forbid! - he gets elected.

2011-04-24 14:07:48

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Hendy, I love ya when you're right, but the erstwhile Secretary of State doe snot oversee the Insurance regulations.

That's the exclusive domain of the Department of Insurance, whose commissioner is appointed by the governor.. And this governor has appointed some doozies.

Jason: re-read.There's no confusion there. Clear as a bell. John Gregg has the country-doctor charm and common sense that we need, without the God-awful Otis Bowen tax plan. He'll win if he stays on-message like this.

2011-04-24 16:21:59

whosear [Member] said:

Frankly, we were heading into the iceberg with each side pulling their way and the electorate not trusting either party completely due to idiotology, and hence, we crashed up on the rocks. And what do we do?

Deciding what color to paint the ship.

2011-04-25 00:39:57

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Who, the same damned thing has been said about state government since Matt Welsh was governor.

Somehow, it survives.

2011-04-25 05:59:37

hendy [Member] said:

TTT- you're right... save that my actual target was WellPoint/Anthem in the criticism.

2011-04-25 09:36:09

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

I was talking to Who.

2011-04-25 12:03:21

indykjsharp [unverified] said:

Who's on first.

2011-04-25 14:18:46

B2 [unverified] said:

John Gregg: Professional lobbyist in pocket of unions and special interests. Yeah, he'll make a great governor. He's Pat Bauer, only with a sense of humor and without the muskrat on top of his head.

2011-04-26 07:50:21

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

OK, B2. Go ahead and tell yourself that. LMAO.

2011-04-26 12:02:29

B2 [unverified] said:

T3, the voters will decide, just as they have in the last two elections for governor.

2011-04-26 14:41:17

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

"the voters will decide, just as they have in the last two elections for governor."

Yeah, and Donald Trump's hair is currently garnering support in its run for president.

My Multi-Millionaire Mitch was elected because he perfected a pseudo-Southern drawl; traveled in his RV into rural areas to talk about all kinds of folksy Hoos-i-yer things; and drove a 'cycle right in front of the TV news cameras for all good bikers to see.

If you think I don't have much faith in the Indiana electorate, you are right. If you think I don't have much faith in the American electorate, you are also correct.
Two words: Trump, Palin.

2011-04-26 23:04:34

B2 [unverified] said:

WB, you obviously consider yourself wiser than the electorate. Congrats on your intellect.
I'll give you a third word: Obama.

2011-04-27 07:34:25

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

"WB, you obviously consider yourself wiser than the electorate."

Well, B2, can't argue with you on that one. But I also consider my 14-year-old dachshund to be "wiser than the electorate." And he barks at his own reflection in a window and growls at garbage bags.

By the way, you should change your "handle" to B12. It's the Vitamin B that is most deficient in old folks like me.

I'll give you a fourth word: Bush.

2011-04-27 13:27:52

cranky [unverified] said:

Is John Gregg really in the pocket of the unions? Except for that, I'd definitely choose him over Pence, and I am somebody who draws the curtain and pulls down the "R" lever.
I really do not like all these divisive social issues and maybe according to Gregg, this term has been re-framed.
Jason, I don't think you know much about John Gregg. I think he has a lot going for him!

2011-04-27 15:39:54

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