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[r29] Column: Pence sets the tone for legislative priorities
Start Date: 1/25/2013Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Date: 1/25/2013End Time: 10:00 AM
Entry Description
Pence sets the tone for legislative priorities

The formalities of the first few weeks of legislative proceedings have been exuberating to say the least! All of our state’s officeholders have been sworn in, and the governor kept the atmosphere around the Statehouse electric by giving a bold and honest vision for Indiana going forward in his State of the State address. His speech outlined many of the points he pitched in his roadmap for Indiana on the campaign trail and are key aspects of the House’s agenda addressing jobs, education and fiscal integrity. 

Indiana is entering a new era of leadership under Gov. Pence and Lt. Gov. Ellspermann, and they have outlined their plan to the General Assembly and Hoosiers across the state. The governor stressed that Indiana is made up of people from all walks of life, and we need to consider our diversity as a great strength in moving our state forward. Ideas can come from anywhere and anyone. Whether you are a part of a student group, youth group, advocacy group, small business coalition, corporation, or simply representing yourself, I want to hear from you at the Statehouse.

Open discussion and debate is needed to make the best public policy decisions, and I know that it is something the House Chamber has done very well in serving Hoosiers. Having the transparency to discuss the most pressing issues like jobs, education and the budget is needed and encouraged. The need for civic engagement could not be greater as skepticism in the political process – especially at the federal level – has claimed recent headlines.

For us, it is different in Indiana.

The General Assembly is focused on working together – Republican and Democrat – on the issues that matter most to you and your family. Bringing more high-demand, high-wage jobs to our state and preparing Hoosiers to fill them is a top priority. Indiana is one of only nine states with a triple-A bond rating – better than the nation’s bond rating – and the plan is to keep that secure by passing a two-year balanced budget this session. Fiscal integrity is the cornerstone of a growing economy, and Indiana has been well-served, ahead of neighboring states and much of the country, in attracting economic development projects because of the certainty established in our state’s marketplace from having its fiscal house in order. 

This sets the stage for all other issues as Gov. Pence signed a moratorium on any new regulations with the design to give Hoosier employers more freedoms to run their businesses. He stated that government does not create jobs, other than government jobs, but government can create the conditions where people can be the risk takers, innovators and workers who will create the jobs and opportunities of tomorrow. We want to incentivize private sector growth and provide the parameters for businesses to expand and hire Hoosiers.

Gov. Pence also mentioned his commitment to Indiana’s military men and women. That commitment comes in the form of an increased investment in job training and certifying Veteran Service Officers. There is also a goal to obtain three percent of state contracts from veteran-owned businesses. These are measures I support, demonstrating to Hoosier veterans that we recognize their noble efforts and selfless sacrifices in protecting the freedoms we most dearly cherish. 

I was very happy to hear the governor’s emphasis on Indiana’s education system and his support for the measures authored in the House focusing on kindergarten funding and pre-kindergarten scholarships. In October, 207 Indiana schools received the top ranking of an “A” for the first time. This comes from the commitment and excellence our teachers demonstrate on a daily basis and from Indiana’s accountability system, which incentivizes continual growth and improvement. I could not be prouder of the accomplishments and continued display of excellence displayed in our district.

The House Republicans and Gov. Pence both agree that it is time to make career, technical and vocational education a priority in every high school in Indiana. The expansion of career and technical education will provide more opportunities for Hoosier students who have a desire to join the workforce following high school graduation, giving them the tools to make the most of their future. The proposed Regional Works Councils will work with business and educators across the state to develop regional, demand-driven curricula to bring high-quality career options to more Hoosiers in high school.

The Indiana House Republicans made it a clear priority from day one that our focus is on jobs and education. Gov. Pence made those same points known in his address this week. Hardworking Hoosiers across the state are looking for their next step in life, and we are driven to help provide more opportunities for them here in Indiana.

I encourage all of you to stay engaged in the legislative process as more bills are being discussed in committees and in each chamber. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at (317) 232-9647 or via email at h29@in.gov. Stay tuned for more!

-30-

State Representative Kathy Richardson (R-Noblesville) 
Contact Information:
Name: Nicholas Goodwin
Phone: 3172329831
Email: ngoodwin@iga.in.gov
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