Gregg rallies union support in Gary
By Carole Carlson email@example.com/648-3154 July 26, 2012 6:56PM
Updated: August 28, 2012 6:17AM
GARY — Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg brought his message of working man values into the heart of union country Thursday at McBride Hall, the home of United Steelworkers District 7.
Gregg, a former state representative and speaker of the House, is opposed by Republican Mike Pence and Libertarian Rupert Boneham in the Nov. 6 general election.
Gregg, of downstate Sandborn, posed with his backers for photographs and offered handshakes and hugs to supporters before delivering remarks to the crowd as onlookers munched on hot dogs.
Gregg noted there are 101 days left before the election. “We’re going on a journey where the people of Northwest Indiana won’t be poked at by the governor,” he said in reference to Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Gregg quickly jabbed at Pence’s record in Congress, especially on trade. Gregg said Indiana’s per capita income has fallen from 36th to 41st in the nation.
“I’m running against a guy who believes in free trade — he has voted time and time again to vote your jobs out of Indiana.”
Calling Pence “the prince of the tea party,” Gregg said Hoosiers don’t want a message of extremism. “He was all about social issues for 12 years and now he’s about jobs? All he’s ever wanted to do was to declare war on women.”
Gregg thinks a tight presidential race between President Barack Obama and GOP presumed nominee Mitt Romney will benefit him at the polls. “There’s about 30 percent of the GOP who do not identify with the tea party and we’re targeting them.”
Gregg is running behind Pence in polls but District 7 USW director Jim Robinson thinks Gregg can make up ground.
“He comes from a place I like in terms of policy,” Robinson said. “He’s been out of office for a decade and he needs to get out and build his name recognition and I think people will be impressed.”
Dan Murchek, president of the Northwest Indiana Federation of Labor, bolstered Gregg’s campaign with a $5,000 check.
“What happened last year was a tragedy,” Murchek said in reference to the passage of right-to-work legislation and several bills opposed by teacher unions by the GOP-controlled General Assembly.
“We need to put in people who are going to stand up for working families,” he said. “This is a battle we can’t afford to lose.”
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson called the last four years “an all-out assault” on working families.
“We need a governor who doesn’t need a GPS to get to 1301 Texas St., she said referring to McBride Hall. “That person, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is John Gregg.