by Curt Smith for the Indianapolis Business Journal print and online versions on July 15, 2017
The charge we’ve issued to all the participants is to help craft a vision for the conservative movement in our state. In some areas, we have solid successes to build upon. In other areas, the jury is still out. In some cases, conservatives have been largely missing from the debate.
Key topics include how to maintain our distinctiveness when the super-majority Republican Indiana General Assembly passes 45 tax and fee increases in a single session, including a $1 billion annual gasoline tax; how to effectively speak out against marijuana legalization (here the opposition is to our right, from Libertarians, and the left); and the role, if any, of community and faith-based organizations in fighting the scourge of opioid addiction.
Our time together at this first conference will be successful if, first, we better know and can work with like-minded folks across the state; second, we establish a sense of the top two or three key needs for Indiana; and finally, begin to develop something approaching a consensus on how to respond.
To achieve even these preliminary goals, we’ll need to understand the state of modern conservatism. With an unorthodox president who escapes traditional political descriptions of “right” or “left,” “conservative” or “liberal,” the question is by no means confined to Indiana. With Congress largely paralyzed by the nation’s divisions, it, too, is not going to provide thought leadership.
So the opportunity is for a committed group of policy professionals to develop and advance a conservative governing agenda that captures the imagination of our fellow citizens while improving their lives.
IFI will take interested participants deeper into the Family Prosperity Index we are developing with the American Conservative Union. Others will outline better tax policies, the wise use of vouchers and charter schools as a tool for true education reform, and public-private partnerships to create the workforce Indiana needs today to be economically successful tomorrow.
Watch our website (www.hoosierfamily.org) for details and plan now to join us on Aug. 26 for the first-ever ICON conference.