ELECTION 2020-THE LATEST
The Latest: Biden contrite over vote approving Iraq invasion
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden wasted no time in the opening minutes of Democrats’ presidential debate in calling his 2002 vote authorizing an Iraq invasion a mistake. It was an unusually matter-of-fact tone of contrition for Biden, especially as he tries to emphasize his long foreign policy record as a vice president and a six-term U.S. senator. The 77-year-old candidate has throughout his campaign mostly defended portions of his record that have come under criticism from his party’s progressive flank. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called the war the “worst foreign policy blunder in history.”
STATE OF STATE-INDIANA
Indiana governor says again wait a year on teacher pay boost
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s governor has outlined to state legislators how to free up tens of millions of dollars toward boosting teacher pay but he doesn’t want them to act on it until next year. Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb told lawmakers in Tuesday night's State of the State speech that he wanted to tap into the state’s $2.3 billion in cash reserves in the 2021 legislative session to make a $250 million early payment into a state teacher pension fund. Holcomb and Republican legislative leaders have resisted calls from teachers unions and Democrats for immediate action to improve the state’s lagging teacher pay. Holcomb says the new payment will free up $50 million in annual state funding.
INDIANA COUNCILMAN-MUSLIM COMMENTS
Indiana councilman says he regrets remarks about Muslims
KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana city council member who made insulting comments about Muslims on social media in 2015, years before he was elected, says he regrets posting those remarks and no longer holds those views. Greg Jones is a Republican member of the Kokomo Common Council. The Kokomo Tribune reports he posted incendiary remarks about Muslims and their religious beliefs on Facebook in June 2015, four years before he was elected to the council in the city about 40 miles north of Indianapolis. He said Monday he regrets those comments and made them at a time when he “didn’t understand what Islam actually was.”
INDIANA LEGISLATURE-TOWNSHIP ASSESSORS
Indiana House backs abolishing all township assessor offices
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana House has voted to eliminate the last remaining township assessor offices around the state. House members voted 53-44 Tuesday in favor of the bill abolishing the 13 township assessor offices that remain in nine counties. The bill would transfer to county assessor offices those duties for determining the value of buildings and land for property taxes. The 13 township assessor offices remain after voters decided to retain them in 2008 referendums allowed under a law that abolished more than 950 such offices across the state. Supporters say state reports have found that county offices have been more cost effective and fair in property assessments.
Black mayor of racially diverse Iowa city backs Buttigieg
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The black mayor of Iowa's most racially diverse city is endorsing Pete Buttigieg for president. The endorsement by Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart gives the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor a boost as he struggles to attract voters of color. Hart told The Associated Press he was supporting Buttigieg in part for what he called the Democrat's effort to address racial economic disparity in South Bend. The Buttigieg campaign hopes Hart's endorsement revealed Tuesday will help not only inoculate Buttigieg from the stubborn notion he cannot win black support but also potentially resonate beyond majority-white Iowa, as Buttigieg winds his way through the Democratic primary campaign. Hart plans to publicly endorse on Wednesday.
GARY-POLICE OFFICERS WOUNDED
Indiana man killed by police was wanted in woman's death
GARY, Ind. (AP) — Police in northwestern Indiana say a man who shot and wounded two police officers before being fatally shot by police was a suspect in a woman's strangulation death. The Lake County Coroner's office identified the man killed Monday night as 29-year-old Keenan McCain. Merrillville police said Tuesday that McCain was a suspect in the death of 45-year-old Betty Claudio of Gary. Her body was found Sunday in a Merrillville hotel room. Police say the manhunt for McCain led officers to an apartment complex in Gary, where he was killed after shooting two officers. Both are reported in good condition.
Franklin College fires president following Wisconsin arrest
STURGEON BAY, Wis. (AP) — Franklin College in Indiana has fired its president after he was arrested in Wisconsin on suspicion of using a computer to facilitate a sex crime and attempted child enticement. Thomas Minar was arrested by Sturgeon Bay police on Jan. 6 and released on $7,500 cash bond after a hearing. Franklin College says its Board of Trustees Executive Committee “felt it was essential to act immediately and sever his relationship” with the college. The prosecutor says she expects to file charges in the next couple of days. Minar announced last year he planned to step down as president June 30, 2020.
Democrats set to clash in final debate before Iowa caucuses