Indiana residents will vote Nov. 3 to either reelect Republican incumbent Eric Holcomb or Democratic candidate Dr. Woody Myers as governor.
Holcomb will be running with Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch as Myers partners with Linda Lawson.
Senior Jason Apple, chairman for College Republicans at IU, said he believes Holcomb’s most important contributions to Indiana during his past four years in office include his work on infrastructure, education and jobs.
As governor, Holcomb has made progress on Interstate 69, repaved roads and built new bridges, Apple said. He said Holcomb has increased funding for public schools, focused on improving workforce skills and brought new high paying jobs to the state.
“I feel like Gov. Holcomb represents your average Hoosier better than Dr. Woody Myers,” Apple said. “He has his priorities in line and he’s done a great job being governor.”
Apple said he thinks Holcomb responded well to the COVID-19 pandemic by releasing the five-stage reopening plan.
Holcomb has developed the Next Level Roads plan, which will invest $60 billion over the next two decades into roads and bridges, Holly Lawson, press secretary for the Indiana Republican Party, said in an email. He has also allocated $1 billion from the Indiana Toll Road to launch Next Level Connections which plans to complete I-69, build state trails and bring affordable, high-speed internet access to rural areas, she said.
Lawson said Indiana has invested $1.6 billion in new funding for K-12 education since 2017to support parents, teachers and students. Holcomb created the Office of Drug Prevention, Treatment and Enforcement to give Hoosiers access to addiction treatment and seize drugs like meth and fentanyl, she said.
Holcomb’s goals if he were to be reelected include ensuring Indiana has the lowest infant mortality rate in the Midwest by 2024, growing Indiana’s economy, reaching full employment again, finishing I-69 and working to provide greater racial equity by addressing the root causes of discrimination, Lawson said.
She said Holcomb hopes to show the state’s progress on the issue of racial equity by implementing a review of state police and law enforcement training, improving minority teacher recruitment and appointing Indiana’s first chief equity, inclusion and opportunity officer.
“Gov. Holcomb has set out to make Indiana the best place to live, work, play and stay,” said Lawson.
Lawson said she believes Holcomb has offered a track record of responsible leadership, and Crouch is the perfect partner to help him continue to build Indiana and lead through the pandemic in areas hit the hardest including rural communities, agriculture and tourism.
Junior Evann Englert, vice president of College Democrats at IU, said he believes Holcomb’s first four years in office have proved he is not the right person for the job. Englert said he thinks Holcomb has made a lot of empty promises. For example, although he passed the hate crimes bill, it excludes transgender people, a vulnerable population in Indiana.
Englert said he hopes if Holcomb is reelected that he will focus on improving public education and pushing for a free COVID-19 vaccine for all Hoosiers. He said a vaccine would help both vulnerable populations and people looking to get back to work.
“Most of us in the state want our public schools to be better,” Englert said. “It’s going to take some political courage to stand up to the rest of the Republican legislature and tell them that this needs to be done.”
Englert said Myers would be a better choice for governor because he is capable of responding to the pandemic given his history as a public leader during the AIDS crisis and as Indiana State Health Commissioner. He said Myers is also more likely to tackle issues with the environment and climate change than Holcomb, who has not addressed either.
“We need state leaders to take some action,” Englert said.