by Dan Forestal

Fellow Democrats,

I write to you today full of hope and to share my thoughts on the state of our party. Like many of you, I am disappointed with the outcome last Tuesday, but the time for disbelief has passed. I know we all fought hard and poured our time and energy into these races and for that we can all be proud.

We need to learn from this experience. The Democratic party has veered from our shared goal of improving the economic condition of Hoosiers. We must begin listening to and actually hearing what Hoosiers are telling us. We told Hoosiers that our system is not rigged, when the opposite is true. The system is rigged against everyday people by a complex web of massive amounts of campaign cash dominating our elections and our legislative processes. We must stand together against these special interests that rig the system against those we are sworn to serve.

Secondly, we must get back to the business of our economy. The insiders in this country and in our state have written our laws and to tell Hoosiers anything else is a lie. Our Indiana State House, like our United States Congress is run by powerful interests. Too often we see on the news, stories of the connected class stealing from average American’s retirements and savings accounts. And do they ever face justice? Does anyone believe that this is fair? Of course not, but the system continues on unchecked. We must return to our core values of standing up for working people.

When the Democratic Party held the Presidency, the US Congress and the US Senate, did we pass laws to help those working hard to move our economy forward? We did not. Were any of the profiteers responsible for the economic devastation thrown into prison? No. Instead we perpetuated a system in which the all-powerful pilfered our public coffers at the expense of those we serve. To put it frankly, we bailed out Wall Street and left Main Street in shambles, then we lost the public’s trust. Our constituents have gone without new streets, new sidewalks and fewer police officers while those rigging the system line their own pockets. This system must end. We must begin the work of rebuilding trust with Hoosiers.

I have been a member of this process for just a short time, but I have seen it up close. We cannot continue supporting the same old politics, our world is changing. For people to have faith in the system, we must actually give them the change they demand and deserve. We cannot continue to think or allege that people who voted for the Republican party are stupid or confused or worse. They know what we all know, which is that there is something unfair in this country and things are not working as they should be anymore. The people told us that they wanted change and that the system was broken and instead of acknowledging that fact and acting to fix it, we told them that they were wrong and that the system was fine. It’s time to listen and it is time to chart a new path. Democrats in Indiana must recommit to reforming this rigged system to make it fair for all. We must ensure that those who work hard and represent all that is good with our state are never again hampered or harmed by those who do nothing to move the common good forward. We must be bold and do what we know is right. There are many issues that require and deserve our attention, but nothing can be accomplished while this rigged system is in place.

Hoosier Democrats, we must not resist new ideas, leadership, and the solemn obligation to speak truth to power. This is our path forward.

To those who have carried the torch of the Hoosier Democratic Party for all of these years, I sincerely thank you for your service. A new path is required now. We accept the baton you pass to us, with hope in our hearts.
State Representative Dan Forestal

Forestal is a member of the Indiana House of Representatives.