Pence outlines transition, promises commitment to excellence

Gov.-elect Pence spoke Wednesday with Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, left, and Gov. Mitch Daniels, right, looking on.
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Governor-elect Mike Pence (R) vowed to continue the work of Gov. Mitch Daniels' administration, and promised Hoosiers that Indiana is "on the verge of an era of growth and opportunity like no other in our lifetime."

"The transition really does start today," Pence told reporters at a news conference Wednesday.

Pence won the Indiana governor's race 50-46 percent over Democrat John Gregg, with Libertarian Rupert Boneham getting four percent of the vote.

Bill Smith, Pence's longtime chief of staff in the US House, will direct his transition team.

"I believe last night's election was as much a vote of confidence in this administration as it was an affirmation of the vision and plans that we articulated in our candidacy for governor," Pence said.

The governor-elect also said his team was "committed to a transition that reflects a commitment to continuity and a commitment to aspiration. If anything is true of the last eight years, it's that Hoosiers have grown accustomed to results and to a culture of excellence in this administration. We have every intention of continuing that commitment to a focus on excellence, and on reform and results."

Pence said he was determined to "look for ways to build on the progress we've made."

"This is no ordinary time in the life of our state. [Lt. Gov.-elect] Sue Ellspermann and I both believe that because of the leadership, Indiana is on the verge of an era of growth and opportunity like no other in our lifetime. In the course of this transition we will make every effort to ensure we have the people and foundation for policies that will make Indiana known everywhere as the state that works."

Rep. Pence's current congressional seat in District 6 will now be held by former Republican state Representative Luke Messer. He defeated Democrat Bradley Bookout.

Pence visited his new digs today at the Statehouse where he was greeted by outgoing Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Both men are ensuring Hoosiers of a smooth transition. Pence also says he's open to working with everyone from any party.

"Whether it is Republicans, Democrats, Independents or others in the process, we welcome the support of those committed to see Indiana move forward. We have an opportunity because of the leadership on either side of me to take our state from good to great. To make Indiana the state that works and we will take support from every Hoosiers that shares that aspiration and vision for our state," said Pence.

For now, Pence will continue his work in Congress, and will be sworn in as governor in January.

At Tuesday night's GOP celebration at Lucas Oil Stadium, Pence told reporters that Hoosiers "reached for the future" when they voted him into office.

Gregg, meantime, called the campaign an "unbelievable ride."

Pence led the polls from the beginning and raised twice as much as Gregg for campaign spending. Observers say not to expect a big shake-up at the Statehouse because of Pence's victory. Pence succeeds Gov. Mitch Daniels, a champion of fiscal conservative ideals. Pence is likely to make a push on social issues now that Republicans have a majority in both the Indiana House and Senate.

In accepting his new position, Pence explained his priorities.

"We're gonna focus on making job creation job one and getting these schools working for all of our kids regardless of where they start in life. Our road map for Indiana was not just a campaign document. It was intended to be a governing agenda and now that we'll have the chance to lead the state as governor, we'll bring our road map in, sit down with legislators and move the state forward," he said.

Pence plans to move into the governor's residence at 46th and Meridian - something Daniels' family did not do.