MARC CHASE: Making history without spiking the football

2013-08-29T00:00:00Z MARC CHASE: Making history without spiking the footballMarc Chase marc.chase@nwi.com, nwitimes.com
August 29, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Is anyone else out there more drawn to the receiver or back who does something momentous on the gridiron and doesn't spike the football?

Something like that is happening right now in Indianapolis, and we all should take note.

Gov. Mike Pence's appointment of downstate Republican Dwayne Sawyer to the state auditor's office is historic, but Sawyer isn't making a big deal out of it.

Sawyer would rather get down to business and wants us all to focus on his ideas and future policies for the office, not that he's the first black Republican to sit in the state auditor's chair.

He's too new and his political career too distant for any substantial conclusions to be drawn. But Sawyer, who will finish the 16 months left in the term of former Auditor Tim Berry, appears to have a background that will benefit the office — and taxpayers.

Given Sawyer's work as a software developer for accounting and financial systems in the private sector, maybe we'll see more efficient and transparent programs for paying the state's bills and managing other finances.

Sawyer's four years on the Brownsburg Town Council was punctuated by a plan to increase the town’s size through annexation and cutting taxes.

What you won't hear Sawyer tout — and maybe that's why I'm here — is his status as the first black Republican to serve in a statewide office.

That's right. Sawyer is black and conservative. Fiscally liberal, tax-and-spend folks don't have a lock on diversity as some would have you believe. It's great when reality dispels myth — particularly when the myth is based on ignorance or stereotype.

Since that cow is out of the downstate barn, let's move on, shall we. That's what Sawyer wants us to do, and he's not spiking any footballs.

The former president of the Brownsburg Town Council is showing leadership, not so much as mentioning the historic occurrence of a conservative black man ascending to statewide office when he accepted the reins earlier this month.

I absolutely believe it bears mentioning — several times obviously. This is both historic and game-changing for the face of conservative politics in Indiana.

But Sawyer says he prefers to get down to business, improving upon a state fiscal picture that already is bright but could be brighter.

I look forward to learning more about Sawyer's plans for the office in the near future. He is just getting started, and his statewide political legacy is not yet written.

He still has to win over voters if he wants to keep the job following the next election cycle, and hype over skin color won't make that happen.

Sawyer's desire to put business over history gives him great pole position at the starting line of Indiana government and politics. He appears to be focusing on the right kind of race, seeking to establish credentials based on actions and innovation.

Investigative Editor Marc Chase can be reached at (219) 662-5330 or marc.chase@nwi.com. The opinions are the writer's.

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