@kwellscomm @1067WTLC TLCNaptown.com Local News —
Indiana’s Republicans spent time at the statehouse on Thursday rolling back the policies of former-Governor Mike Pence, according to The Indianapolis Star. Many of the reversals affect African-American Hoosiers directly—from a critical pardon-to-giving an assist to a Northwest Indiana community poisoned through no fault of their own—a new administration and GOP-controlled legislature were busy.
First, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced to the press that he was canceling contract negotiations to lease state-owned cellphone towers to an Ohio company—a tentative deal struck by the Pence administration, where Pence promised the deal would cover the cost of more than $50 million in Indiana bicentennial construction projects he initiated.
Later, Holcomb gave help to an East Chicago neighborhood occupied largely by economically depressed African-American residents who have been forced to relocate because of lead contamination. The governor declared the West Calumet Housing Complex and neighborhood a disaster emergency area. This incident was being called, “Indiana’s own Flint Michigan lead crisis” by many observers. You may recall, Pence would not act there leaving assistance up to the feds and the already involved state agencies.
Pence also refused to act on this one—pardoning a man who was behind bars for a crime that new evidence showed he didn’t commit. Holcomb acted, making history. He pardoned Keith Cooper for a 1997 armed robbery conviction. New evidence came to light that made the pardon obvious. Cooper, an African-American man, spent eight years in prison labeled a felon for something he didn’t do. In September, according to The Washington Post, while Pence was busy running for Vice-President, he made the decision not to act on Cooper’s Pardon request—a request that had been submitted three years prior. Regarding history—Cooper now becomes the first person pardoned in the state of Indiana on the basis of innocence.
Read more about these moves, including Gov. Holcomb going the opposite direction from Pence on needle exchanges that should assist in the fight against HIV/AIDS here in the state and legislative votes to override other Pence vetoes, mainly by Pence’s fellow GOP members, by clicking HERE.