INDIANAPOLIS — By any measure, the past 365 days have been unreal and defined by COVID-19.
That much was clear from Governor Eric Holcomb’s opening words Tuesday night during his State of the State address.
“This annual update will be unlike any other,” said Holcomb. “For tonight, I stand before you in a studio.”
More than 9,000 Hoosier lives have been lost since this pandemic began. But with hope being injected in arms, the governor said 2021 will be about moving forward.
“Coming off 2020, I’m convinced 2021 can be the best ever. So, the central question before us all is how can we seize this day?” said Holcomb.
The governor laid out an agenda on issues of education, promising K-12 schools will receive 100 percent of their funding for the second half of the school year, and an emphasis on improving teacher pay and recruitment.
“We will be one of the best in the midwest for teacher pay, and we’ll be better able to attract and retain teacher talent, including attracting more minority candidates,” said Holcomb.
Holcomb also said the I-69 project will be completed ahead of schedule, linking Evansville and Indianapolis.
“We’ll get our state police officers outfitted with body cameras,” Holcomb said addressing police reform.
But of course, everything will circle back to COVID-19 and how Hoosiers pull out of this pandemic.
“Our decisions, our discipline now enable us to do things that many other states won’t be able to do for years to come,” said Holcomb. “That’s why I’m more excited than ever to work together to build a state of opportunity for all Hoosiers. Thank you, and may God continue to bless us and our great state.”
Following Governor Holcomb’s address the Indiana Democratic Party released a statement:
“Hoosiers tonight were told a story of an Indiana that just doesn’t exist in 2021. While a vaccine is thankfully being distributed, a new, more contagious strain of COVID-19 is spreading and Holcomb isn’t doing a thing to fight it. The governor intentionally broke last year’s promise to give public school teachers a much-needed pay raise. And, Holcomb refuses to acknowledge the fact more ‘good jobs’ have left Indiana than have come in. Hoosiers can’t trust a governor who is all talk but no action, and tonight’s State of the State Address amounts to gaslighting.”
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita issued the following statement in response to the State of the State address:
"Gov. Holcomb tonight has articulated a hopeful vision for the future that all Hoosiers can appreciate. During these challenging times, I look forward to working with the governor and our state leaders to fulfill the opportunity and promise that lie before us. We have an unprecedented situation in this budget year and elected leaders must carefully and fully examine any proposed savings measures before relying on them to produce the advertised savings. We all share a common purpose to faithfully serve the citizens of Indiana. Together, let us advance the cause of liberty as we prove the merits of servant leadership."
Indiana Secretary of Education Dr. Katie Jenner released this statement after Holcomb's State of the State address:
"Gov. Holcomb outlined initiatives that demonstrate an appreciation and understanding of the challenges that schools face, which are the same challenges I've heard from educators across the state. I’m thrilled the Governor has proposed increasing K-12 funding by $377 million over the biennium—those dollars will be critical to tackling education inequities head-on, helping our schools boost teacher compensation, and maximizing opportunities for success for every student. We look forward to working with our partners in the General Assembly throughout the budget process.”