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COLUMN: A midway review of Gov. Holcomb



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Gov. Eric Holcomb speaks at the Wylam Center of Flagship East on September 22, 2017. Holcomb said he wants lawmakers to focus on four specific bills on two main issues — school safety and federal tax compliance. IDS file photo Buy Photos

This January marks the midway point in Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s first gubernatorial term. As we progress into the latter half of Holcomb’s term, let’s take a closer look at the positive influence the Holcomb administration has had on the state. 

Since his entrance into office two years ago, the governor has made a name for himself as one of the most highly-approved governors in the country. With his likable personality, responsible budgeting and social engagement, it's easy to see why.

He's likable

When it comes down to it, Holcomb is a nice guy. 

Throughout his political career thus far, the governor has successfully avoided the compelling pull of negative campaigning and personal political drama. Instead, Holcomb embodies the Hoosier hospitality that Indiana residents know and love. While several of his predecessors seemed to have been surrounded by a stiff air of professionalism, Holcomb seems approachable, relatable and representative of Hoosiers as a whole. 

Just a few years ago, he even appeared in the 2010 issue of the “Hoosier Hunks” calendar, posing outside the Statehouse in pink pants and black-and-white Oxford shoes. For all these reasons, it’s no surprise that Holcomb has earned his reputation as the most likable governor in the Midwest. 

He’s fiscally responsible

Late last week, the governor’s office revealed its new budget proposal, which the legislature will work with as a framework for their budget bill this session. In his proposal, Holcomb recommends putting 11 percent of Indiana’s state budget, about $1.8 billion, into the state’s reserves.

Holcomb’s thriftiness is likely due to an assumption that the pendulum of the economy will eventually swing back to hard times. When these hard times come again, Holcomb wants Indiana to be ready.

In addition to Holcomb's frugal spending, he shows his financial consciousness in his dedication to strengthening Indiana’s workforce. Indiana is one of the few states that can say it has jobs but doesn’t have a strong enough workforce to fill all its open positions. 

By investing in education, designing programs for career exploration and working with businesses to teach high-demand skills, Holcomb is committed to preparing Indiana’s workforce for the changing economy ahead.

He represents what Republicans should be

The Republican brand has been tarnished in recent months by the actions of the current presidential administration. Yet while the hyper-partisan fights in Washington continue, leaders like Holcomb actively show what the future of the Republican Party should be: fiscally conscious, economic-centric and socially engaged. 

For too long, Republicans have prioritized economic interest over social engagement, and that is finally beginning to change. 

Holcomb has been a vocal supporter of hate crime legislation since early last summer, and has gone so far as to include passing hate-crime legislation as a key point in his State of the State address last Tuesday night.

While the topic remains controversial, Holcomb’s consistent commitment to this issue illustrates his fierce dedication to ensuring that all Hoosiers are equally protected. 

Protecting the rights of Americans has been a pillar in the Republican Party since its origins. As the Republican Party of our parents becomes the Republican Party of the next generation, we should follow Holcomb’s example and ensure that the rights and liberties we cherish so dearly are extended equally to everyone. 

While Holcomb is only halfway through his term, his first couple years in office give us cause to be optimistic about the next two. By taking concrete steps to better protect Hoosiers, improve workforce development and secure the state’s financial well-being, Holcomb is proving himself to be the type of leader Indiana needs.

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