Indiana Gov. Mike Pence broke no new ground when he laid out his agenda for Indiana this week at the annual Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce governor’s luncheon.
The venue, the recently refurbished Alumni Hall at the Indiana Memorial Union, was packed with business and community leaders, including IU President Michael McRobbie, Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan and a host of other local notables. The grand organ that now dominates the hall played “Back Home Again in Indiana.”
Pence, as usual, was polished in his presentation, relaxed and informal, sprinkling humor through his pep talk. The crowd, drawn mostly from the business community, was largely an appreciative audience.
His message: Sign on with and stick to my plan, fellow Hoosiers, and it’ll all be good.
That plan has five key points. They are, as one might expect, lynchpins in the conservative approach to governance.
Live within your means, reduce taxes, shrink government, invest in infrastructure (particularly roads), make Hoosiers healthier (while teaching self-responsibility) and put your focus on education.
He pointed to specifics where he and his immediate predecessor have followed that agenda, keeping Indiana in the black and moving forward in creating a business-friendly climate that is growing jobs at a faster rate than most other states.
He touted the value of his proposed Healthy Indiana Plan, 2.0 — or HIP2 — for those who remain without health insurance. He pointed to the growth of charter schools here and the increasing number of students served by education vouchers, which allow some families of small means to pay for private education.
He talked about I-69, and its economic importance to the state and to Bloomington. To label oneself “the crossroads of America,” you’d better have the road network to that claim.
His Hoosier persona, handsome sculpted features, silver head of hair — his total presence — exuded not only confidence but approachability. Is this a star ready to step onto the national stage — a stage he has already gotten a taste of as Congressman?