The First Encouraging Sign

If reports are correct, later today John Gregg will finally announce a smart decision–one that will actually motivate, rather than depress, his Democratic base. According to Jim Shella, Gregg will announce that Vi Simpson will be his running mate.

One of my Facebook friends posted that she will “gag less” when she votes. Another noted that–while a Simpson/Gregg ticket would be better than a Gregg/Simpson one–the choice meant that he, too, would be a more enthusiastic supporter.

Vi Simpson brings major assets to the campaign. Cynics will attribute the choice to gender; Mike Pence picked a woman running mate, presumably to blunt the impact of the Republican war on women, so they’ll shrug and say Gregg countered with a female running mate of his own.

The cynics couldn’t be more wrong. Vi Simpson brings party legitimacy, legislative savvy and uncommon principle to the ticket. A long-serving, well-liked and effective legislator and party leader, she has also earned a reputation for calling it like it is. She has been a standard-bearer for doing the right thing–and not just for women. Thanks to her years of service, she also has instant name recognition.

Contrast that with Pence’s running mate, a freshman legislator few people have ever heard of, a woman who (among other things) voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood, and is thus unlikely to help him with women voters alienated by the GOPs assault on contraception and reproductive rights.

The November election is now a contest between a team of experienced public servants and a team composed of an ideologue who has never passed a bill and an unknown freshman legislator obviously chosen for her gender. If Hoosiers actually want their government to work–an open question, admittedly–the choice is now clear.

Game on.


  1. I attended the 2003 IDEA convo at French Lick, where unions absolutely savaged Vi in their quest to tap Joe Andrew as the 2004 D governor candidate. Believe me, it was brutal.
    I’m just wondering how that will play out this year.

  2. Unions tend to be male dominated; maybe in hopes of saving themselves they will look at Ms. Simpson in a different light and recognize the importance of voting for her, if not for Gregg. Just last night I again watched the movie, “Norma Rae”; with Republicans trying to destroy all unions nation-wide, the movie took on an entirely new meaning. Being based on a true story from 1978, it is well worth watching to remind us of the importance of unions for employees and businesses alike. I enjoyed it years ago as a movie fan but realized last night what a heavy-duty message it carries.

  3. Since the Pence ticket is composed of two ardent proponents of “Right to Work,” I have to believe the unions will support Gregg Simpson.

  4. One little-notice fact about Sue Ellspermann, Mike Pence’s pick to oppose Vi Simpson for the Lieutenant Governor post: Sue was one of three GOP state representatives to vote to remove the onerous second sentence from HJR-6, the “Marriage Discrimmination Amendment”. Her brave attempt wasn’t successful, but it’s just another sign that a growing number of Republican’s don’t want to close the door on civil unions and domestic partnerships.

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