In your first term, what would be your big area of reform and why?
Our first, second and third priority has to be creating jobs and strengthening the economy. Over the last few years, much of the focus at the statehouse has been on divisive social issues instead of working together to create jobs and opportunities for Hoosiers.
As Governor, I will work with all Hoosiers, and that isn't just another talking point. I have experience. When I was Speaker of the Indiana House, we were divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. That meant that for every piece of legislation we passed, we had to get true bi-partisan cooperation. We worked together, and we got results. We cut taxes, improved education and balanced the budget and we did it by working together.
That spirit of cooperation has been missing during these last few years at the statehouse. Lately, our statehouse has sounded more like Washington, DC than Washington, Indiana. As Governor, I will bring that cooperation back and work with anyone who wants to bring jobs to Indiana, regardless of party affiliation.
With job creation as a top priority in this election, what are your specific ideas to generate jobs in our state?
We need to invest in industries where Indiana is well suited to lead both our nation and the world. We are positioned to grow our agriculture, energy, logistics, advanced manufacturing and life-science (including research and development, and stem cell research) industries. To help these industries, and all industries that do business here in Indiana, I have proposed eliminating taxes altogether on companies that locate their headquarters here. This will encourage companies to move to Indiana, and when new businesses and industries move in, job growth follows.
I have also proposed eliminating the state sales tax on gasoline. This will open up job opportunities further from home for some Hoosiers, and it will mean more money in the pockets of everyone in Indiana. Any economist will tell you, more money in people's pockets leads to more consumer spending, which leads to more jobs.
Gov. Daniels has said that Indiana is in better economic condition than most of our neighbors. Do you agree, and if you are elected, what policies will you pursue to strengthen Indiana's economy?
Our economy is doing better than some of our neighbors. Governor Daniels deserves some credit for this, as do Hoosier workers and small businesses that have made it through some tough times to get us through the last few years. However, just doing better than our neighbors is not good enough. Indiana is currently 41st in per capita income. Too many of our citizens are still struggling, and we cannot get complacent. There are still too many Hoosiers who are out of work or who are hurting in this economy, and I will not rest until we have taken the steps I discussed above to help grow our economy.
Attracting and keeping business
What types of incentives do you believe will not only keep businesses in our state, but also attract new ones?
Indiana has always been a great place to do business. To grow and keep business here, we need to also be a great place to live.
One of the themes of my campaign has been bringing news businesses and jobs to Indiana. As I discussed above, I have proposed eliminating the state corporate tax for companies that locate their headquarters here, in Indiana. This will encourage companies to move their operations to Indiana and bring jobs here that will grow and strengthen our communities.
We also need to partner with Indiana's colleges and universities that have served as incubators for startups. Not all of these companies will succeed, but we need to ensure that those that do remain here, in Indiana. We need to continue to be a state that is friendly to small and emerging businesses. After all, you never know which of those companies will turn out to be the next Lilly. We need to encourage these companies to grow here.
Finally, we need to make Indiana a great place to live. That means improving the quality of life for Hoosiers. I have proposed increasing access to pre-K education, cutting taxes for middle class families, and fully funding full-day kindergarten. We also need to ensure that every Hoosier child is protected. That is why I have proposed common sense reforms to the Department of Child Services that will lessen the burden on our juvenile courts and help keep more children out of the juvenile justice system.
How do you think the state could work to make sure all Hoosiers have access to affordable care (especially in light of the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act)?
As someone who has beaten cancer, and as the father of a child with juvenile diabetes, I know first hand that healthcare is a basic need for all Hoosiers, not a luxury.
I support making quality healthcare affordable for all Hoosiers. That means common sense insurance reforms that keep insurance companies from dropping customers because they get sick, that prevent insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing condition, and that allow kids to stay on their parents' insurance until they are 26.
As governor, I will bring people together to find the best way to guarantee access to affordable healthcare available to all Hoosiers. That means bringing together doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, stakeholders and patients to work together to guarantee access to affordable coverage.
Education and skills
What are your plans to help students cover the cost of higher education? How will you promote other options to students and families such as technical and vocational programs? What about unemployed workers who lack the necessary skills to find jobs?
As a former president of Vincennes University, I understand the importance of education in Hoosiers' lives and the struggles that many students and their families go through to finance college.
During my time at Vincennes, we helped Indiana students get the training that they needed to pursue careers. Sometimes that meant a four-year degree in areas like nursing. Sometimes that meant a two-year degree or certification program that helped Hoosiers of all ages earn the training they needed to get a new job or promotion. We need to remember that education is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. What works for one person may not work for another. What is important is that we make all options available to all students, young and old and rich and poor, so that they can reach their goals.
What social issues do you do champion the most and if elected, how rigorously will you pursue these types of issues in our state?
I am running for governor to take the focus off of divisive social issues, and put it back on issues like creating jobs and improving the economy. In the 2010 elections, voters told us that they want a government that will focus on pocketbook issues like better paying jobs. What we got instead was a statehouse that focused on these social issues that only serve to divide people, while thousands of Hoosiers struggled. As governor, my first, second and third priority will be creating good paying jobs and building and strengthening our economy.
What are your thoughts on Mitch Daniels' Major Moves Deal, and do you think Hoosiers will benefit from it in the future?
Whether you agreed with the idea of leasing to toll road or not, I think most Hoosiers can agree that 75 years was too long of a lease. More importantly, regardless of where you stood on this issue seven years ago, we can all agree that the money from this lease is gone and we will not have control of our toll roads for another 68 years. We mortgaged assets that our children could have used to fix a short-term problem. Now, we will have to wait nearly 70 years to regain control of the toll road.
"Right to work"
How do you mend relationships with between the two parties in the legislature and with unions operating in Indiana?
I have a history of bringing people together to work for Indiana. As Governor, that is exactly what I will do.
When I was Speaker of the Indiana House, we were divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. That meant that every bill we passed had to be truly bipartisan. We worked together and we got results. We eliminated the inventory tax, strengthened education, and balanced the budget. We did this by talking to each other, listening to each other and showing respect to those we disagreed with. In recent years, that mindset has been missing.
Recently, our statehouse has been divided. These days it sounds more like Washington, DC than Washington, Indiana. Under my administration, that will change.
As Governor, I will work to bring our state together to create jobs and strengthen our economy. That means listening to all Hoosiers—Republicans and Democrats, young and old, and management and labor, both union and non-union—to find ways to strengthen our state.
What tax cuts would you propose to save Hoosier families money and how would you recover that revenue to the state?
I have proposed common sense tax cuts that will reduce taxes for every Hoosier, bring jobs to Indiana, and help middle class families.
First, I will eliminate the state sales tax on gasoline. Hoosiers depend on their cars to get to and from work. For many Hoosiers, driving is a necessity, not a luxury. Our tax code should treat it that way. Second, I will eliminate corporate income taxes for companies that are headquartered here, in Indiana. If a company is located here and creating jobs here, Indiana does not need to tax that company's income. Finally, I will create a tax credit for middle class families that put their child in day care so that both parents can work. Right now, for many low-income and middle class families the cost of daycare is a barrier to work. Under my administration, that will change.
What are your plans to maintain or improve the quality of Indiana's air, water and land?
This is God's green earth, and I believe we have a moral duty to be good stewards of the land for our children and our children's children.
As governor, I will ensure that Indiana's wonderful natural resources are preserved for future generations, while also working with the business community to help protect and create jobs in emerging industries like energy.
Indiana has natural resources that we can use to promote clean, Indiana-based energy that will power us for years to come and employ our next generation. Indiana has resources like coal, methane and natural gas that can cleanly power our state. I will support the development of bio-fuels that will lower our dependence on foreign oil and the development of the wind industry that is growing and creating jobs in northern Indiana. As governor, I will bring a common sense approach that allows jobs and environmental issues to compliment each other, instead of being at odds.