Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Published: February 8, 2011 3:00 a.m.
Steel Dynamics hailed for exports
Wins certificate from Commerce
Paul Wyche | The Journal Gazette

BusseFORT WAYNE – If others followed the lead of Fort Wayne-based Steel Dynamics Inc., President Obama’s goal of doubling the nation’s exports by 2014 would easily be met, a U.S. Department of Commerce official said.

Ro Khanna, deputy assistant secretary, awarded the Export Achievement Certificate to Steel Dynamics CEO Keith Busse at the company’s headquarters Monday. Figures for 2010 aren’t complete, but through the first nine months of last year the business had $256 million in net export sales, while total annual sales were $6.3 billion.

“We can bring jobs back to this country,” Busse said in front of several employees and government officials assembled for the award announcement. “We’re pleased with our efforts.”

So is the Obama administration. During the president’s State of the Union address last month he stressed the need to help businesses sell more products abroad, “because the more we export, the more jobs we create here at home,” he said.

Because Steel Dynamics’ plants primarily are located in the Midwest – where ocean ports are not easily accessible – the firm’s exports mostly have been to Canada and Mexico. Company spokesman Fred Warner said the 2007 acquisition of OmniSource has boosted exports as copper and aluminum extracts flow.

Warner said there has been increasing interest by other foreign buyers in some of the high-value steel products, including special-bar-quality steel, specialty shapes and special grades of flat-rolled steel. Warner said Khanna plans to tour the company’s structural and rail mill today in Columbia City.

Khanna said Steel Dynamics serves as a template for similar companies in United States. The business added about 100 jobs to its more than 6,000-person workforce in 2010.

“It shows that we can compete with other countries,” he said. “Steel Dynamics is a great model of how we can make jobs here in the U.S.”

Friday, February 4, 2011

Message from Rep. Pat Bauer

Statehouse eUpdate
State Rep. Pat Bauer
Feb. 4, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS - Here is how unemployment insurance "reform" is currently
defined by those in control of the Indiana General Assembly:

If you have lost your job and are trying to support your family
while you're looking for work, your weekly unemployment benefits will be cut
by 25 percent.

If you own a small business, you will see the taxes you are
charged to help finance the state's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund go up

If you run a large corporation, you'll get to wait before you
pay your share of the freight to pay for the fund, which owes more than $2
billion to the federal government. In some cases, you'll even see your taxes
go down.

These unemployment insurance "reforms" authored by the House
majority are contained in House Bill 1450, which passed out of the chamber
this week. They are expected to move quickly through the Indiana Senate, so
there is a good chance these changes will be law before too much longer.

I opposed House Bill 1450 because these "reforms" will be a
disaster for families with members who are out of work. The average weekly
benefit for workers will be cut from $283 to $212, a drop of about 25

That is the money these families rely upon to pay for food,
utilities, rent and other necessities while parents are trying to find jobs.

The cuts are described by advocates of "reform" as the sacrifice
that unemployed Hoosiers must make to solve the problems facing the benefit
system, but I believe the true impact will be forcing many of these folks to
turn to other government assistance programs for help at a time when the
funding for those programs also is being cut.

This "reform" also will hurt small businesses across Indiana,
which will see the taxes they pay for financing the benefit system go up in
the years to come. Compare their burden with that faced by the larger
businesses and corporations in our state, many of which actually will see
cuts in the unemployment taxes they pay.

But it is the people who are supposed to be helped by this
system that will be hurt the most. These folks are not freeloaders. They
lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and they are trying to find
work so they can take care of their families. Now they are told that they
will have to do more with less, while some employers won't have to make any
sacrifices at all. You tell me if that is right.

Let me make one final point. The best way to fix Indiana's
bankrupt unemployment system is to get Hoosiers back to work. We have been
in session for one month, and those in charge of the Legislature and the
governor's office have yet to make one new proposal to create jobs in

There has been action on other issues at the Statehouse. Here
are some measures the House has passed in recent days.

House Bill 1018 calls for a smoking ban in most public places
across Indiana. There are a number of exceptions to this ban: casinos,
racinos, riverboats, bars and taverns, and designated smoking areas in
nursing homes and private service clubs like the VFW, American Legion and

House Bill 1129 prohibits a person from sending an email or text
message while driving a motor vehicle. The penalty for violation would be a
fine of up to $500.

House Bill 1102 would ban the possession and sale of synthetic
marijuana, which is more commonly known by names like spice or K2. Many
counties across the state have acted to prohibit this substance, which has
caused adverse reactions like heart and breathing problems and been blamed
for contributing to some deaths.

If you want to talk to me about any of the issues being debated
in this session--or if your child would be interested in serving as a page
in the House and you would like to get more information about the
program--here are a few ways to stay in touch.

You can call the toll-free Statehouse telephone number of
1-800-382-9842, write to me in care of the Indiana House of Representatives,
200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204, or send a message to my email
address: . While visiting my website at , you also
can sign up to receive regular email updates from the Legislature.

Thank you for your interest in state legislative matters. Please visit my
website at:
If you have received this Statehouse eUpdate by error or wish to be removed
from the distribution list, simply reply to this email, typing "unsubscribe"
in the subject line. Thank you.
Statehouse eUpdate
State Rep. Pat Bauer

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Times have changed

Dear Friend,
The crossroads of America has officially become the crossroads of the GOP.
Yesterday, we watched as U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, long respected for his moderate views and votes, sided with right-wing Republicans in a party-line drive to overturn President Obama’s unprecedented health care package, which will deliver affordable coverage, cheaper prescription drugs and small business tax breaks to almost one million Hoosiers.

This is the same senior Senator who recently stood with President Obama to support a nuclear weapons treaty with Russia and access to citizenship for young immigrants who pledge to their allegiance to this country through education or military service.

Five years ago, I went on the record to say that “Richard Lugar is beloved not only by Republicans, but by Independents and Democrats.”

Times have changed.

Today, with Tea Party activists recruiting a candidate to challenge him, Lugar has been forced to the right – away from the values we cherish as a state of moderate, logical thinkers.

Washington Post political analyst Chris Cillizza said this morning that Lugar is rapidly emerging as the top Tea Party target next year. Taking him down in a primary would give their patchwork movement both credibility and momentum.

There’s only one message we can derive from this assault on a venerable public servant: There’s no room for independents or moderates in the new Republican Party.

Hoosiers have long believed that a political system marked by compromise and rational thinking achieves the best results. That’s why the state has embraced Lugar’s brand – alongside Democrats like Evan Bayh and Frank O’Bannon – for decades.

The growing Republican rift gives us an opportunity to showcase what Indiana Democrats have always believed: We are fiscally conservative, moderate on social issues and wholly committed to policies that improve education and create jobs.

For the sake of our state, I hope Richard Lugar sticks to the principles that have won him so many elections – and a place in the hearts of those in the heartland.

Indiana deserves leadership that reflects hard-working Hoosier values, not pandering to a group of fringe activists who are angry at America.

Our party has always fought for those Hoosier values, and we will continue to do so – united in our efforts – as we work hard this year and next year to elect Democrats across Indiana.

Thank you for your commitment to this state, our values and the Democratic Party.
Democratically yours,
Daniel J. Parker