Nearly 40 people have already received training in the Neighborhood Leader Program (NLP), designed to increase voter participation in Indiana’s 8th Congressional District, and more than 70 are expected at the next training on April 28. The goal is 400, said Karen Reising, interim president of Indivisible Evansville. Reising spoke to about 30 community members who turned out for the grassroots organization’s monthly meeting March 20 at the Central Branch of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library. In addition to updates on the NLP, attendees also learned about Indiana gun laws and the Sierra Club’s call to halt Vectren’s plan to build a $900 million natural gas plant in Posey County.
- Through the NLP, trained volunteers will knock on the doors of Democrats in their neighborhood and remind them to vote. The Vanderburgh County Democratic Party, which is spearheading the program, will give volunteers the names of people to contact so that they will know which doors to knock on. Key dates to remember include April 9, deadline to register for the primary election on May 8, and Oct. 9, deadline to register for the general election on Nov. 6. Any student who will be 18 by the November election may also register. The easiest way is to download the IndianaVoters app or go to www.IndianaVoters.in.gov. Residents may also check this site to make sure their names have not been purged from voter rolls.
Additional voter drives will take place in Evansville in May. Dates for those events will be posted on Indivisible Evansville’s Facebook page when they’ve been set.
- Gun regulations were also discussed during the monthly meeting. Gina Garrett, with the local chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said U.S. children are 11 times more likely to die from gun violence than in any other developed country in the world. That’s due to the proliferation of guns on the streets and lax gun laws. Moms Demand Action, which is under the umbrella of Everytown For Gun Safety, advocates for sensible legislation that still protects the 2nd Amendment. The group also monitors state and federal legislation relating to gun safety and surveys candidates to determine their positions on gun laws.
Some of the bills that Moms Demand Action has been watching include HR 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. Under it, a person with a permit to carry a concealed weapon in one state will be allowed to carry it across state lines. Garrett urged those in attendance to contact Sen. Joe Donnelly to vote no on the measure. The Indiana Legislature will discuss more bills during a special session on May 14. Text JOIN to 644-33 to receive action alerts on bills.
Moms Demand Action also partners with the BeSmart campaign, which teaches children and parents the correct way to store guns. Garrett will give a BeSmart presentation at 5:30 p.m. April 8 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Evansville, 2910 E. Morgan Ave. in Evansville. See the Moms Demand Action Evansville Facebook page to stay up to date on other events.
- In a related issue, local high school students, parents, and community supporters will participate in Saturday’s March For Our Lives, a nationwide event inspired by the students of the Marjorie Stoneham Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., as a stand against gun violence. The local March For Our Lives Evansville is one of nearly 700 registered events and will take place Saturday, March 24, from 1-4 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 609 Southeast 2nd St. Participants will begin the march at the church, proceed to the Four Freedoms Monument to hear students speak, and then return to the church. Street Marshalls are still needed to assist. Afterwards, volunteers will be available to help register voters and share information about local advocacy groups. The community is invited to participate. Anyone wishing to make a poster to carry may arrive at 11:30 a.m. Supplies will be provided.
- Lastly, Mary Lyn with the Sierra Club gave an update on efforts to thwart Vectren’s plan to build a $900 million natural gas plant, which she says will pollute the air for 50 years if built. Vectren filed a petition with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission on Feb. 20. A preliminary hearing will be held on April 3 at which time a procedural schedule will be released. The Sierra Club is advocating for 100 percent renewable energy and has asked the Evansville City Commission to commit to that by 2050.
Link to the meeting presentation below: