Tallian Launches Campaign for Attorney General

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Tallian Launches Campaign for Attorney General

NW Indiana senator blasts Hill for Affordable Care Act lawsuit, marijuana opposition

(INDIANAPOLIS) - A Democratic state senator plans to take on Attorney General Curtis Hill in next year's election.

Ogden Dunes Senator Karen Tallian made a brief run for governor four years ago, but dropped out soon after John Gregg jumped in. This time, she says she expects to win the backing of unions and other groups who backed Gregg in 2016 and allowed the former House speaker to clear the field.

Talliansays she's been urged to run for attorney general before. She says the groping accusations against Hill played a small part in her decision to run, but says what really pulled her in is Hill's effort to strike down the federal health care law. He's one of 20 Republican attorneys general pursuing a lawsuit arguing it's unconstitutional. Tallian declares Hill "doesn't speak for Hoosiers." She says the lawsuit threatens to eliminate health coverage for more than 100,000 Hoosiers, and cripple the state's own health care program, the Healthy Indiana Plan. Tallian notes HIP was created by one Republican governor, Mitch Daniels, and expanded by another, Mike Pence.

Tallian also blasts Hill for spearheading a fight to keep a "traditional marriage" plank in the state Republican platform last year, blocking a proposed change which would have broadened the wording to encompass same-sex couples. And she criticizes Hill's hard line against marijuana. Tallian's introduced several bills in the Senate trying to loosen or repeal Indiana laws on pot.

Democrats haven't won statewide in Indiana since 2012, when Joe Donnelly won a U-S Senate seat and Glenda Ritz unseated state school superintendent Tony Bennett. Tallian says Ritz's victory offers a template for her to win in 2020. She says Hill, like Bennett, is unpopular within his own party, after Munster Representative Mara Candelaria-Reardon and three legislative staffers accused Hill of unwelcome touching at a post-adjournment party last year. Tallian notes Governor Eric Holcomb, House Speaker Brian Bosma, and former Senate President Pro Tem David Long, all Republicans, have called on Hill to resign.

The four women are suing Hill and the state of Indiana. Their lawsuit charges several legislators made demeaning or dismissive comments after their accusations became public, including Tallian. The suit complains Tallian on one occasion put her hand on the shoulder of one of the women, and asked if she should have asked permission to do so, adding, according to the suit, "that if she were gay, it would not be sexual harassment." Tallian says she fully supports the four women, and that it "makes [her] sick" to think her interactions with them were interpreted otherwise. She says the pending lawsuit limits what she can say beyond that.

The party conventions next summer will choose the nominees for attorney general. Hill faces a challenge within the Republican party from Zionsville attorney John Westercamp.

Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes) (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)

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