INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has revealed his legislative and administrative agenda for 2021, which focuses on the state safely getting out of the coronavirus pandemic while giving Hoosiers opportunities to grow.
The agenda highlights five overall goals:
Cultivate a strong and diverse economy
Holcomb is looking to grow manufacturing opportunities by expanding the Manufacturing Readiness Grants. The goal of the grants is to support advancements in the manufacturing industry — primarily by making it easier to obtain smart technology and health care manufacturing equipment.
Holcomb also hopes to stay on track to triple Indiana's investment in federal defense by 2025.
Maintain and build the state's infrastructure
Holcomb plans to continue the Next Level Connections Broadband Program that delivers faster internet speeds to rural areas.
He also plans to continue ongoing infrastructure projects like the I-69 reconstruction and planting 1 million trees across the state. He will also direct the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority to create a detailed look at Indiana's housing supply.
Education, training and workforce development
Holcomb said he'll work to give K-12 schools all their funding for the second half of the school year, and increase funding in the next budget. He also plans to bring back funding for higher education that was cut due to the pandemic.
As for teacher pay, he will review recommendations on how to improve compensation for Indiana's teachers.
One of those recommendations was a website that makes it easy to compare teacher compensation and district finances across the state. The state launched an online dashboard that accomplishes that Thursday.
Holcomb also hopes to increase higher education graduates in the state and increase the number of minority teachers and minority participants in grant programs.
Infant mortality will remain a big focus in 2021. Holcomb hopes to become the best state in the Midwest for infant mortality by 2021.
He also plans to reform long-term care services, an issue spotlighted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Deliver great government service
Other changes brought on by the pandemic include expanding telemedicine services, making virtual meeting options permanent, and giving coronavirus liability protections to schools and businesses.
"Responding to a global pandemic has caused us to rethink how we've done business and just as importantly, how we do business post-pandemic," Holcomb said. "COVID-19 has shifted our course, but Indiana remains focused on what will make us stronger, with practical and people-centered solutions based on a foundation of civility."
Holcomb's agenda also looks to make it easier to reinstate a suspended driver's license and improve services and opportunities for minority Hoosiers.
For more on Holcomb's agenda, click here. Watch Holcomb's full address below.