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Sunday, April 21
The Indiana Daily Student

city politics

Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch shares goals, vision in Republican gubernatorial primary campaign

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Editors note: This is part of a series of stories covering the 2024 elections. Read the rest of the stories on our website.

With three decades of government experience under her belt, Crouch has accomplished many firsts — the creation of Indiana‘s Mental Health Roundtable, for instance, in 2021. She made history by testifying in support of Senate Bill 1, which expanded Indiana’s crisis hotline, even though testifying is a rare move for lieutenant or sitting governors. And she’s the only gubernatorial candidate to receive the endorsement of more than 100 past and present Indiana elected officials.  

She said she knows how government works — and how it can work much better.  

“It’s all about being able to deliver more opportunities for Hoosiers and to be able to give them more freedom in their lives, whether it’s economic freedom or freedom to be able to live their lives as they want to,” Crouch said.  

Current governor Eric Holcomb, who will have served eight years come 2025, is unable to run for reelection due to term limits. Crouch filed her candidacy for governor Jan. 30, delivering 8,000 verified signatures, according to a statement on X.  

Crouch graduated from Mater Dei High School in Evansville and received her Bachelor’s from Purdue University, majoring in political science.  

She served several positions in Vanderburgh County including chair of the Republican Central Committee, county auditor and president of the Vanderburgh County Board of Commissioners. During her time as President, the Board of Commissioners received federal transportation dollars for a local road project for the first time, and Crouch said she fought to ensure meeting minutes were made publicly available for the first time.  

Crouch recently called for an independent audit of the Family and Social Services Administration after the agency announced a $1 billion Medicaid overspend that caused the FSSA to plan to eliminate monetary support for family caregivers of children in budget cuts.  

In 2005, she was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives to represent District 78, which includes portions of Vanderburg and Warrick counties, where she stayed until 2014 when she took office as Indiana State Auditor.  

Crouch served as auditor until 2017, when she became Lieutenant Governor. During her time as lieutenant governor, she has worked on expanding broadband access to rural communities, supporting Hoosiers struggling with addiction and mental illness and growing the state’s economy. As part of the Indiana Connectivity Plan, Crouch, alongside the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, works to connect residents and businesses that lack reliable internet service to internet providers in an effort to extend broadband to underserved locations. 

She is president of the Indiana Senate, and chairs the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Task Force, the Indiana Main Street Council, INVets and the Civics Education Commission.  

In addition, she oversees the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, the Indiana Housing Community and Development Authority, the Office of Community and Rural Affairs and the Indiana Destination Development Corporation. She also manages several other organizations including the Next Level Connections Broadband Grant Program and the Hoosier Women Artists Exhibition. 

If elected to serve as governor starting in 2025, Crouch would become Indiana’s first female governor. But she said she’s more focused on the work than the accolades. 

Crouch’s campaign centers around four main points: growing Indiana’s economy and infrastructure, investing in education and workforce, strengthening families and communities and modernizing government.  

One of her key proposals is to “Axe the Tax,” or eliminate the state’s individual income tax for Hoosiers without raising other taxes. Indiana’s state income tax currently brings in nearly $8 billion per year, taxing Hoosiers 3.15%. Crouch said she wants to modernize the tax code to reflect Indiana’s current economy, limiting government spending growth to 2% per year.  

Critics of the plan, such as the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, say eliminating the income tax would jeopardize important services to Hoosiers and necessitate the raising of other taxes in the long run. But Crouch said it would help Indiana residents who she said are struggling financially under the Biden administration’s economic policies.  

“I’ve visited with Hoosiers all over, and today they’re being crushed by the high cost of living, by inflation and by economics,” she said. “I will tell you that my opponents and bureaucrats and special interests groups scream bloody murder and say it can’t be done. But you know what? That money’s not theirs. It’s people’s money, and they will always spend it more wisely than the government will.”  

Part of strengthening communities also means protecting Indiana from foreign adversaries, she said. Crouch developed a plan to “protect Indiana from China” by fighting against issues like fentanyl crossing the U.S. southern border, land acquisition and security concerns spurred by TikTok. Crouch led efforts alongside the Southern Indiana Sentinel Landscape project to secure  from foreign entities land surrounding the Naval Support Warfare Center Crane, a naval installation in Crane, Indiana, when thousands of acres of land were proposed to be sold.  

Crouch also directed the State Department of Agriculture to conduct a farmland loss study, including an audit of the economic impact of lost land and an examination of who the purchasers are, according to her campaign website. Crouch has supported legislation blocking China, Iran, North Korea and Russia from buying or leasing land next to military facilities, as well as legislation prohibiting foreign business entities from acquiring agricultural land for crop farming or timber production.  

Another item on Crouch’s agenda is education. She said she wants to provide more choice for parents to have control over what’s being taught to their children, touting an education system focusing on reading, writing arithmetic and reasoning.   

“Everyone’s working together to be able to create a cradle-to-career education system where we prepare every child for that next step in life upon graduation, whether it’s enlistment, enrollment, employment or an apprenticeship,” Crouch said.  

One of Crouch’s major plans for education also aligns with her desire to modernize government – she seeks to cut Indiana’s 100 state agencies down to a more manageable amount. She said she wants to consolidate work from the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning, the Department of Education, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the Department of Workforce Development and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to create an agency encompassing pieces of all of their work.  

This will help to streamline government and save millions of dollars, she said, that can be put into eliminating the state income tax and into Hoosiers’ pockets.  

“Looking at our agencies and how can we streamline – how can we reduce government and make it more manageable, being able to realize cost savings and find more efficiencies in government?” Crouch said. 

Supporting Indiana’s families and communities is also a priority for Crouch, who looks to combat the increase in anxiety and depression among the population since the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.  

For Crouch, the fight for mental health is personal — her mother struggled with depression, her older brother died from alcoholism, her sister died by suicide and her daughter lives with bipolar disorder. As governor, she said she would resist mask mandates, government shutdowns and public lockdowns in an effort to keep people connected.  

“It might have been fear, anxiety, depression, isolation,” she said. “But as a result, we all experienced that, so we understand. I think there’s more acceptance of it, and that’s going to help us make a lot of strides towards getting people the help that they deserve.”  

As the co-chair of the Indiana Mental Health Roundtable, she played a key role in planning the 2023 Indiana Mental Health Roundtable Summit, which brought together more than 500 community leaders across the state to develop steps to combat mental illness and addiction. In addition, she supported Senate Bill 1, which became law last year. The bill dedicated $30 million to expand the 988 Crisis Hotline launched in 2022.  

Ultimately, Crouch said, she is running for governor because she cares deeply about Indiana and the people who live there.  

“As governor, I want to boldly lead Indiana into the future where we have economic growth, opportunity and safety for all Hoosiers,” she said. “I have the passion, the commitment, the courage and the experience to deliver results for Hoosiers.”  

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