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Tuesday, June 25
The Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices

Black Voices: Gov. Eric Holcomb must actively address issues in the Black community during his second term

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb addresses the media after meeting with former residents and taking a brief tour of the West Calumet Housing Complex with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on April 19, 2017, in East Chicago, Indiana. The Associated Press has called the Indiana governor race for Eric Holcomb on Tuesday.

The incumbent governor, Republican Eric Holcomb, has been elected to a second term in Indiana.

For Indiana voters, this particular race was important. Racial tensions have been high this year and it is increasingly important to Black people to vote for candidates they feel will take their needs into account.

Holcomb has thus far not made many inroads or passed much legislation that directly affects the Black community outside of the hate crimes law legislation he signed in 2019. The same law was opposed by some Democrats because they felt it wasn’t specific enough and fell short of what it should have been.

However, Holcomb has received backlash from the Black community. In 2016, then-Lt. Gov. Holcomb refused to do an interview with the Indianapolis Recorder leading up to the election, the Recorder being Indiana’s top newspaper for Black Hoosiers. Initially, his campaign staff did not give an explanation, but after being pushed said Holcomb had scheduling conflicts and was therefore unavailable.

Following the events of this year involving racial violence and police brutality, Holcomb announced a multi-step plan to address racism at the state level, including a new Cabinet post and reforms for the Indiana State Police. 

Part of these reforms includes equipping all frontline state troopers with body cameras by next spring.

This comes after several officers were seen and recorded brutalizing protesters in Indianapolis earlier this year.

However, members of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus are disappointed with the governor’s approach, saying while many of the items in his plan align with the caucus’s justice reform agenda — this is all a waiting game to see who Holcomb will put in place to enact his plan.

They are also disappointed Holcomb hasn’t responded to their suggestions for police reform, such as banning chokeholds, no-knock warrants and racial profiling.

Holcomb’s opponent, Democrat Dr. Woody Myers, said of Holcomb’s proposed plan, that it is “much too little, much too late.”

It will be important during Holcomb’s second term for Black Hoosiers to be involved to ensure he holds true to his plans and intentions to prioritize the Black community. 

It remains to be seen how the results of this election, both on a state and national level, will play out and affect the Black community, but there is guaranteed to be more attention paid to this term’s elected officials.

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