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Renegade Stemler to appear at town hall

Renegade Stemler to appear at town hall

by Joe Arnold


Posted on March 1, 2011 at 11:09 PM

(JEFFERSONVILLE) Indiana State Representative Steve Stemler (D-Jeffersonville), the lone Democrat not to cooperate with the Democratic walkout from the legislature, will participate in a town hall meeting on Saturday in Jeffersonville.

Stemler and State Senator Ron Grooms (R-Jeffersonville), both former Jeffersonville councilmen, are scheduled to discuss this year’s Indiana General Assembly session from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 5 in Room 101 at Jeffersonville City Hall, 500 Quartermaster Court.

Stemler's plumbing supply business was picketed on Tuesday by Democrats upset with his decision not to participate in the boycott.  The walkout started over proposed "Right to Work" legislation and has expanded to ten other issues that Democrats complain have not involved enough input or negotiations from Democrats.  Governor Mitch Daniels' (R) education reform agenda, including charter schools and vouchers, also hangs in the balance.

The boycott has denied the Republican majority of a quorum in the House, preventing any legislation from moving forward.

While most of his fellow Democrats remain at an Urbana, Illinois hotel to avoid being compelled to report for legislative duty, Stemler continues to buck his party and show up for work.

Stemler said last week that the boycott has "served its purpose" in bringing more attention to the Democratic caucuses' arguments against Republican bills.

Stemler has acted as an intermediary during the stalemate.

"I find myself in that position," Stemler said on Wednesday,  "it's not something that I sought out. By staying here and I guess I’m respected by both sides so it's kind of turned into that and I am willing to help in any way that I can."

Stemler's absence from the Illinois getaway is not lost on the Democratic House leader.

"He's only a.. He's early in his term.  He just doesn't see it," Minority leader Pat Bauer (D-South Bend) said in an interview with WRTV-TV. "some people just don't understand things."

Bauer was asked if Stemler would be "taken to the woodshed" when the Democrats return.

"I’ve known his views," Bauer responded,  "I mean, he is the way he is.  I'll let his constituents deal with him later."

One constituent is the Clark County Republican Party chairman, Jamey Nole, who is defending the democrat, Stemler.

"I’m glad that he stayed on the job to continue the work that he's elected and paid to do," Nole said.