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scott pelathIn a week that saw the aftermath of violence in Indiana kill two police officers in Gary and Indianapolis, a slap on the wrist to former schools chief Dr. Tony Bennett for ethics violations and the Indiana State Board of Education and Gov. Mike Pence education agency publicly manhandled the elected Democratic Superintendent of Public Instruction, the leader of Democrats in Indiana’s House of Representatives came out swinging publicly.  In an exclusive in depth Afternoons with Amos interview, State Representative Scott Pelath blasted the lack of ethics enforcement in Indiana, especially and not just in the case of Bennett who was fined only $5,000 for using state computers and equipment and state time for political purposes.  Rep. Pelath also criticized the actions of Indiana’s Inspector General Dave Thomas. Pelath said that Thomas hit hard at low level state employees who committed minor infractions while letting major ethics sins like Bennett and Department of Transportation Chief of Staff Troy Woodruff get off with slaps on the wrist.  Amos reminded Pelath that the only state official forced from office by the Inspector General was an African-American female, Heather Bolejack, who formerly headed the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.   Pelath also bitterly criticized the State Board of Education and the Center for Education and Career Innovation (CECI) which Gov. Pence set up for trying to publicly hamstring Supt. Glenda Ritz.  Pelath said this was part of the attacks on Ritz that have been non stop since she beat Bennett two years ago.  Asked about the deaths of a Gary policeman who was murdered while sitting in his patrol car and the tragic death of IMPD Officer Perry Renn killed by a “legal” assault weapon, Pelath expressed sympathy and saluted the officers service.  But Pelath also said that Indiana has to have “a very serious conversation” about guns.  He lamented that the Legislature changed the law to allow guns to be brought onto school parking lots (though supposedly locked in vehicles).  Pelath said we have to look at some common sense approaches to guns while preserving Second Amendment rights. Asked about voter attitudes towards Democratic legislative candidates this election year, Pelath said that voters are angry. But not just at Washington. Said Pelath, “Voters are concerned that one party controls everything in Indiana”. He was cautiously optimistic that Democrats could make some legislative gains this November.  Click the Media Player to Hear Amos’ Exclusive Interview with Democratic House Leader Rep. Scott Pelath. Runs 15 Minutes ©2014 WTLC/Radio One.

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