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Thursday, Feb. 22
The Indiana Daily Student

GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Wallace talks to IU College Republicans

For Indiana gubernatorial candidate Jim Wallace, it is not about his curriculum vitae.

As a West Point standout, a Harvard MBA, a United States Army captain and combat helicopter pilot, what’s most important for Wallace is his experience in working with or within both private and public sectors.

In a brief speech before an audience from IU College Republicans — a  politically conservative student activist group — Wallace, a Fishers businessman and former member of Hamilton County Council, laid out his campaign focuses for the 2012 race for governor.

Among the several topics he addressed, the Republican candidate said his business background would especially make him stand out as a candidate for the chief executive of Indiana.

After graduating from Harvard, Wallace worked primarily as a strategy consultant for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and also as the chief executive officer of Bain & Company in Boston, where he said he worked with Fortune 100 companies on job creation and developing the economy.

Wallace later returned to his home state of Indiana, working in a variety of prominent positions where he gained leadership experience in corporate business.

He referred to his early success in insurance business as a testimony of potential economic growth in the state.

“For many of you who don’t know, Indiana is the third largest state in terms of insurance revenue,” Wallace said to the audience. “That’s a pretty big assignment for me at a young age.”

Wallace then helped start TWG Capital Inc., an Indianapolis-based financing firm that provides capital to mature businesses for insurance companies’ growth purposes. He is the company’s CEO.

“My entire business career has been focused on creating economic opportunities, not only for corporations, but also for their employees,” Wallace said. “Not only here in Indiana, but also across the country.”

Wallace said the company has created more than 10,000 jobs in the last decade.

He also said his work in the public sector helped him understand how to organize different levels of government and make the most out of tax dollars.

After working for several years as director of management services for former Indianapolis mayor Stephen Goldsmith, Wallace ran for Fishers Town Council and then for Hamilton County Council.

He said during this period he succeeded in improving income per capita.

“Over the next 10 years, we thought the most important things for the Hoosiers are job growth, economic development and improvement of your quality of life,” Wallace said.

Comparing himself to his GOP rivals, Wallace said his down-to-earth background in entrepreneurship and corporate business allows him to understand Hoosiers’  concerns.

Wallace said he put himself on a different approach to loyalty to constituents from Pence.

He said he will serve more than just those who are “Christian, conservative and Republican” and especially those who are in the middle.

Though declining to cling to hardline voters, Wallace said people should not doubt his social and fiscal conservatism.

“I have voted for Republicans in my entire life,” Wallace said. “But whoever can create jobs or fix the economy is a friend of mine.”

As for education system reform in the state, Wallace said he is in favor of “local control” where communities should decide the types of schools their children need.

“We should let the dollars follow students,” he said.

More than 50 members of IU College Republicans attended the event. John Wagner, a Bloomington native and sophomore in the Kelley School of Business, said though it was not his first time meeting Wallace, he was impressed by his ideas.

“Especially his experience with financing the insurance,” Wagner said. “I think he is pretty hopeful since it is good for Indiana’s economy.”

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