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NWI leaders look forward to working with new Gov. Pence

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Updated: January 14, 2013 7:47PM



INDIANAPOLIS — Outside the Statehouse on a cold winter day, former U.S. Rep. Mike Pence took the oath of office, becoming Indiana’s 50th governor.

Pence, who defeated Democrat John Gregg in November, took the oath of office with his left hand on the Bible that Hoosier Benjamin Harrison used when he was sworn in as president in 1889.

In his inaugural speech, Pence said the state is in a position of opportunity rather than in crisis, due to previous state lawmakers’ determination to remain fiscally responsible.

“We have good government,” Pence said, “but make no mistake about it, our state is poised for greatness. The core of that greatness remains our people.”

Pence recognized the work of former Gov. Mitch Daniels, and thanked him for “leaving our state the fiscal and administrative envy of the nation.”

He said, “Because of our leadership these past eight years and the service of thousands of dedicated public servants, Indiana has emerged as a torch of fiscal responsibility, innovation and reform.”

He stressed the importance of fiscal responsibility, and letting “Hoosiers keep more of their hard-earned income.”

Pence also touched on education in his speech, noting that his wife, Karen, reminds him of the excellence of Indiana teachers.

“We must work together to put kids first. There’s nothing that ails our schools that can’t be fixed by giving parents more choices and teachers more freedom to teach.”

Hoosiers also have a role to improve the state’s economy, and Pence asked all citizens to help build Indiana’s economy.

“Invest in Indiana with your time and talent. Tell Indiana’s story. If you have a job, work at it as never before. If you serve the people, serve with all your heart. If you can build a business, do. If you can start a business, try. If you have a dream, reach for it.

“Do your part and I promise you, we will do ours.”

Indiana Republican Party State Chairman Eric Holcomb said in a statement that Republican leaders have led the state to more jobs, lower taxes and less debt.

“Other states can learn a thing or two from Indiana and that success will continue under the leadership of Governor Pence and Lt. Gov. Ellspermann,” Holcomb said.

The state Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker said he looks forward to see what Pence’s legislative agenda will focus on.

“We hope it will focus, as he pledged, on jobs and the economy and not on issues that will divide our state and put certain Hoosiers at a significant disadvantage,” Parker said.

Local government leaders hope to establish a relationship with Pence and his administration. Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub plans to ask the new governor to visit Lake County and see the issues the county faces.

“I’m hoping the new governor will have the opportunity to sit down with both Republicans and Democrats in Lake County,” Scheub said. “If that can happen, he’d at least have a better understanding of us, and we’d have a better understanding of his goals.”

Compared to the last eight years, Scheub believes local leaders have a better chance to form a friendly atmosphere with the new governor.

“[Daniels] already had a preconceived opinion of us,” Scheub said. “His negative approach was tremendous, he used us to further his political agenda.

“Governor Pence doesn’t know us, and we don’t know him. It’d be great to have a friendly atmosphere, because we have a lot to offer for the state, but we do need the state to recognize Lake County,” Scheub said.

Porter County Commissioner Nancy Adams said he has heard good news about recent appointments to state departments, and hopes to also discuss concerns in her county.

“I’m hoping to be able to talk to him in the next couple of months,” Adams said, “and let him know about some issues that we’ve got.”

She said her concerns include funding for infrastructure and economic growth.

“If we want businesses to move to Indiana, we need the infrastructure,” she said.



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