The Third District Democrat Hall of Fame dinner was held Saturday night at Bogey’s Restaurant, Rozella Ford Golf Club, Warsaw. Pictured (L to R) are Antony Garza, Kosciusko County Democrat chairman; Jill Long Thompson, Democrat candidate for Indiana governor; Dan Damron, Democratic Hall of Fame award recipient; and Michael Montagano, Third District Congressional candidate. Photo by Jennifer Peryam, Times-Union
The Third District Democrat Hall of Fame dinner was held Saturday night at Bogey’s Restaurant, Rozella Ford Golf Club, Warsaw. Pictured (L to R) are Antony Garza, Kosciusko County Democrat chairman; Jill Long Thompson, Democrat candidate for Indiana governor; Dan Damron, Democratic Hall of Fame award recipient; and Michael Montagano, Third District Congressional candidate. Photo by Jennifer Peryam, Times-Union
Indiana Governor candidate Jill Long Thompson spoke on economic development, privatization, property taxes and education during Saturday night's Democrat Hall of Fame dinner.

Approximately 50 Democrats attended the dinner at Bogey's Restaurant, Rozella Ford Golf Club, Warsaw.

Long Thompson, 54, a Whitley County native, said she is running to lead Indiana in a new direction.

"I am running for governor to foster economic development and provide new leadership to grow our economy," Long Thompson said.

She was born in Warsaw, and grew up on a family farm outside Larwill in Whitley County. She currently lives on a farm in Marshall County near Culver and Argos.

She was first elected to Congress in 1989, and was re-elected in 1990 and 1992.

She served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives for Indiana's fourth congressional district from 1989 to 1995.

Other Democrat candidates running for governor include State Senate Minority Leader Richard Young, Milltown, and Jim Schellinger, president of an Indianapolis architecture firm.

Long Thompson said running for governor is the toughest challenge she ever has faced, but her campaign is going well.

"I know that Democrats working together can turn the state around so we are the envy of the Midwest and the country," Long Thompson said.

She said her interest in politics began when she was 6 years old when she helped her mother register voters.

She said Indiana needs to work to keep college graduates in Indiana after they graduate.

She also said government needs to encourage businesses to grow and not shift tax burdens to homeowners.

"Shifting the tax burden to homeowners is a reflection of a breakdown in leadership of our government," Long Thompson said.

She also said she does not support Governor Mitch Daniels' decision to sell the toll road, and said if she is elected, she will look at privatization contracts.

Michael Montagano, Third District Congressional candidate, also spoke during the dinner.

Montagano, 26, a Bristol native, faces Congressman Mark Souder in the 2008 election.

"I'm young, but I always have been told our generation are the leaders of tomorrow, and I will put passion and energy into serving Indiana," Montagano said.

He said issues important to him are health care, Social Security and immigration.

Dan Damron, Warsaw, received the 2007 Democrat Hall of Fame award.

The award is given every year to a person who contributes to the Democrat party.

Damron has served as a precinct committee member for Wayne Township District 6 for 20 years.

"There are not a lot of Democrats in Kosciusko County, but I am always ready to campaign and help those we do have," Damron said.