“The biggest challenge is to get people to look beyond the party label,” Gregg said. “If they look at the record rather than the rhetoric, there’s a clear choice here. It’s my job to get them to do that.”
And, while doing that, to poke at Pence. “Come on, Indiana,” he said. “Who wants a congressman to run their state? That’s a failed institution.”
Gregg has been on the campaign trail since May 2011, taking about “jobs, jobs, jobs,” he said. With a deficit in campaign funds, and in name recognition early on, Gregg said he’s had to maximize the number of voters he meets.
He talks a lot about bipartisanship and his record as legislator and speaker. In his latter role, he made allies in the Republican-controlled Senate to get legislation passed; for two years in that job, when the House was split 50-50 along partisan lines, he found some common ground with the Republican who served as co-leader.
Gregg is proud of an award he won in 2002 from Governing Magazine as one the best “public officials of the year.” He won it along with then-House Minority Leader Brian Bosma, an Indianapolis Republican who now has Gregg’s old job as House speaker. They won the award for their joint effort on major tax legislation that generated massive new revenues for the state and helped close the state’s $1 billion budget gap.
Gregg wrote about the challenges of building bipartisan bridges in his 2008 book, “From Sandborn to the Statehouse” – including the deals that had to be cut and the egos that had to be massaged.
He also wrote about his decision not to seek re-election in 2002, so he could spend more time with two young sons and more time building his private law practice. His time off from politics also included a turn as the interim president of Vincennes University.