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Elected Officials Publicly Commit to Action at CAJE Hot Seat Event

CAJE 2022_1.jpg
Tim Jagielo
Vanderburgh County Commission President Jeff Hatfield under questioning by CAJE member Mike Scavuzzo, agrees to help with bolstering jail diversion programs in Evansville.

2022 topics: housing, mental health care, gun violence and price of residential energy

About 500 concerned citizens attended the 19th annual Nehemiah Action event at Old National Events Plaza Monday night.

This event is hosted by CAJE, or Congregations Acting for Justice and Empowerment. It focused on affordable housing, mental health care, gun violence and the price of residential energy costs.

This is their first meeting back in person since the pandemic started.

The point of these events is to get commitments out of local leaders, on the record before the live audience of more than 500.

CAJE 2022_4.jpg
Tim Jagielo
Various congregations made up the crowd at the Monday night Nehemiah Action event. As the announcer called their church, they in turn stood and said "all for one and one for all."

At the meeting Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke , County Commission President Jeff Hatfield and state senator Jim Tomes made public commitments.

Mayor Winnecke committed to helping the areas of affordable housing and mental health, while Jeff Hatfield pledged to do his best to get funds for the Jail Diversion Center and to follow up later with progress.

State Senator Jim Tomes committed to helping with high energy costs from CenterPoint Energy. His efforts so far have included direct discussions with the utility company regarding these energy bills.

Vicki White is with Cleaves Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. She focused on the price of residential energy.

“We hope that we can get our legislators to understand that we need them to be more mindful of the consumers with regard to their bills and legislation," she said. "We need the governor to be more mindful of who he appoints to the Indiana utility regulatory commission so that they will act on behalf of the consumer.”

Ryan Trezona appreciates that at this meeting, elected officials made commitments on topics of importance before the crowd.

“It's good to see some of them face to face and hear that they're actually addressing the issues that are concerning us,” he said. Trezona was concerned specifically about the topic of mental health.

The topic of CenterPoint Energy and CAJE will be a separate story this week.