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Decision 2016: Gubernatorial candidates on the issues

To help voters compare the candidates for governor, we've compiled a brief synopsis of all three candidates' positions on some key issues like the economy and LGBT rights, as well as subjects that are often brought up in state government like Sunday alcohol sales.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Not sure who to vote for in the governor's race? Can't remember what their position on an important issue was?

To help compare the candidates, we've compiled a brief synopsis of their positions on some key issues like the economy and LGBT rights, as well as subjects that are often brought up in state government like Sunday alcohol sales.

We have included positions from all three candidates: Libertarian Rex Bell, Democrat John Gregg and Republican Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb. All of the quotes and summaries given below were taken from the candidates' websites or publicly delivered statements.


Rex Bell: "As it currently stands, the bureaucracy at the federal level, that doesn’t know you or your children, is making far too many decisions where our children’s education is concerned. We need to get control of education back where it belongs. For starters, let’s return control to the parents and local neighborhoods, eliminate federal and state mandated testing, and let our parents and teachers do their jobs."

John Gregg: Establish statewide, optional Pre-K for all children, end textbook fees at public schools, align K-12 education with emerging careers, make college more affordable, target workforce training efforts and create a pilot program ensure resources within the Department of Workforce Development will be set aside for helping workers attend school for the first time or finish a degree enhancing their skills in high-paying jobs in industries with worker shortages.

Eric Holcomb: Responsibly expand access to Pre-K for the state's most at-risk children, strive to have the best K-12 education system in the nation, attract and retain the best teachers, make college more affordable and strive to provide every Hoosier the career preparation, education and skills needed in the 21st century economy.


Rex Bell: "Job competition is the very best thing we can do for [wage growth]. When we attract more businesses, businesses have to compete for workers. That's what drives wages up."

John Gregg: "Hoosiers are working harder and harder and getting less and less. Talk to your neighbors. You'll see that many of them are working two jobs....We have five areas that have high-wage, high-growth potential: agra-business, bio-sciences, information technology, 21st century logistics and advanced manufacturing. If we stay focused on those areas, take politics out of education and better align our educational system with our job demands, we can fill that skilled jobs gap that we've got and we can move Indiana forward."

Eric Holcomb: "We need to keep doing what we're doing - on steroids....Our wages have gone up each and every year since 2005....We need to continue to diversify our economy - logistics and agra-business and bio-sciences, high tech. We are number one in the nation in manufacturing and will continue to lean into advancing manufacturing. The workforce development programs we already have in place are working and we're getting traction."

Medical marijuana

Rex Bell: "Eventually, we're going to allow it. It's something we need to step out in front of and get it done. There's so much that we could do, not only helping people in their sickness but it's been proven to be a help in alleviating some of the opiate addiction that's going on around here."

John Gregg: "I would support medical marijuana. I think if it is a benefit to a patient they should be allowed to use it."

Eric Holcomb: "If only medical marijuana could suffice, I would entertain that as an option, but right now in the world we are living in, expanding or legalizing drugs is not on my list."


Rex Bell: "We can make sure that all of our road use taxes are spent on the roads. If we find out then that it's not enough, we can re-figure from there but I think we'd be pleasantly surprised."

John Gregg: "Indiana's falling further and further behind....[My campaign] put together a $3.2 billion infrastructure plan - $3.2 billion additional dollars - where we take money and split it into two pots. Roads and bridges, because one in five bridges is going to be obsolete in the next years. The other 60 percent goes to quality of life issues - drinking water, industrial water, storm sewers, wastewater, cultural trails, green spaces, broadband....No new taxes, and it doesn't hurt our bond rating."

Eric Holcomb: "We have invested a lot over the last decade-plus - $11 billion over the last ten years - in order to get to the place where we are. We started projects that were sitting on the shelves for years and years and years: I-69, Fort to Port, Hoosier Heartland, upgrading US-31....We have agreed [in the last legislative session] to take inventory of all our wants, all our needs, all our deficiencies and put everything on the table....I look forward to seeing that report later this year....Next session, we will begin addressing how, in fact, are we going to pay for a long-term, data-driven, not political infrastructure program."

Public safety

Rex Bell: "Government needs to learn the difference between crime, vice and bad habits. When a person initiates force or fraud against another person or another’s property, it is the proper function of government to mediate and/or punish the offender. When consenting adults participate in a mutually agreeable arrangement, government’s only role should be to make sure contractual agreements are met if the need arises. No victim, no crime."

John Gregg: "To help make our communities and state safer and more livable for all Hoosiers, a Gregg/Hale administration will address issues within the state’s public safety and security agencies, find more resources to support local law enforcement and first responders, and more effectively tackle the growing problem of drug abuse in our communities."

Eric Holcomb: "Substantially increase the Indiana State Police compensation matrix to ensure Indiana can continue to recruit, equip, train, and retain the very best statewide police force; convene a working group to share best practices across state and local law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, a working product of strategies that build upon ongoing successful efforts at developing trust between police and the Hoosiers they serve; and focus on mitigating property crime and pharmacy robberies through increased focus on drug treatment and a matching grant program to enhance pharmacy security."

LGBT rights/RFRA

Rex Bell: "I don't agree with passing [RFRA]. I don't believe you give certain groups of people rights that other people don't have....It's something I hope we can put behind us and move on from that. I would certainly like to see a state where all people are treated equally and all people have the same rights."

John Gregg: "The first thing [my administration] would do as governor is we would sign an executive order that would give civil rights protections to the members of the LGBT community that work for the state of Indiana. We would also seek for the legislature to pass legislation granting civil rights protection and hate crimes protection for members of the LGBT community. In our economic plan, we tell how we would create a marketing fund to work and undo the damage [done by RFRA]."

Eric Holcomb: "We have in Indiana local ordinances that allow folks to address the economic development side of this with local HRO's [Human Rights Ordinances]. If local communities seek to take advantage of those, they have been and if they seek not to, they haven't been. That's been the balance. We've had a record tourism year in 2015 after we got through this."


Rex Bell: "I am opposed to abortion. I also understand this is a problem that will never be solved politically....I think one of the best things we could do about abortion is make sure we keep the federal government out of it, allow the states to make these decisions."

John Gregg: "I have always considered myself a pro-life Democrat. That said, I do not believe it is my business to interject myself into a relationship between a woman and her physician. I don't believe lawmakers should practice medicine. I have always supported funding Planned Parenthood even though I am personally opposed to abortion."

Eric Holcomb: "I am pro-life. I understand this debate has been going on for decades and there's good people on both sides, but I don't believe I personally have the right to take another innocent person's life."

Sunday alcohol sales

Rex Bell: "I have always maintained anything that is legal on Saturday should be legal on Sunday."

John Gregg: "I think if the legislature sent me a bill to allow Sunday sales, I would very likely sign it."

Eric Holcomb: "I do not favor it. I think alcohol is still a legally controlled substance in Indiana and we need to make sure we can [control] that."

Check out the candidates' websites for more on their positions: Rex Bell, John Gregg and Eric Holcomb.