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'We're not there yet' | Holcomb targeting $60K average salary for Indiana teachers

The governor told 13News he wants the average teacher salary in Indiana to be $60,000.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is looking ahead to 2023, as the state faces challenges in education and abortion rights

But he told 13News Thursday he's not yet thinking about his own future.

Holcomb reported a record $22 billion of capital investment in Indiana this year, more than double 2021, as well as a concerted focus on developing a skilled and educated workforce to meet the need of businesses.

Part of the effort includes making progress on pay for public school teachers.

"I want the average teacher salary to be $60,000. We're not there yet," Holcomb said. "(It) used to be $51,000, now it's $57,000. When we talked about the whole package, we're more in the $70,000 range in terms of insurance and pension benefits, etc. But we're not at $60,000 yet. 

"We'll be seeking increases," Holcomb continued. "It will be reflected in the agenda and the budget that I put forward Jan. 4 and Jan. 5."

Holcomb said the money deemed available in the April revenue forecast will be key to determining how much of an increase will trickle down to teachers.

Abortion restrictions

The governor's office will continue to deal with the issue of abortion restrictions in Indiana next year. Holcomb signed a law making abortions illegal in Indiana, with some exceptions. That law is now in the hands of the Indiana Supreme Court.

"I hope for clarity, sooner rather than later, but not rushing it, so that that issue, like other controversial issues, can be debated properly, state by state."

Marijuana legalization

As for making marijuana legal, which has been a hot topic in the Statehouse for years now, Holcomb said that's a decision he's leaving to the federal government.

"Up until the law changes, and I think that we should be doing research in the meantime, ongoing, simultaneously, but until the federal government changes the law, I don't think states should be kind of ditching a law and order approach to this or any other issue," Holcomb said.

Political future

Of course, the big talker as of late, "Does Gov. Holcomb have plans to endorse any of the people who have made moves to run for governor in 2024?"

"It's two years away, so this is very early," Holcomb said. "We'll have municipal elections before we ever get to the gubernatorial, presidential (elections) and what I'll end up doing, as a citizen, is looking at who has the plans to continue to take Indiana to the, as I say, the next level."

As for his own future, political rumors have been swirling that Holcomb will run for U.S. Senate, or even president, in the 2024 election.

But the governor remains noncommittal on his political plans.

"I'm not making any decisions now. And I'm not being coy or trying to ... this is how I approach this and I have told folks in the private and public sector that have approached me about different opportunities that, if you need an answer now, I'm not your guy," Holcomb said. "And the best way for me to think about the next job is to do the one I got."

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