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Sunday, May 19
The Indiana Daily Student

city politics

The story of Republican gubernatorial candidate Jamie Reitenour

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

Six years ago in downtown Indianapolis, Jamie Reitenour said a whisper in her ear told her she would become the governor of Indiana.  

She shelved the idea, but studied what it would take to become governor. She would have to live in the state for five years — but had only been in Indiana for one.  

So, Reitenour’s family planted their roots in Indiana. But during tumultuous times between COVID-19 and representing her family in court, she said she was left with a choice: letting stress overcome her family or praying and giving the matter to God. 

When they chose the latter, Reitenour said the calling to become governor came off of the shelf. 

“It just kind of hovered,” she said. “It was just like always around me — it was everything I was thinking about, it was visions as a state house and policy and people.” 

Quickly, things started to fall in place for Reitenour. One day at Panera Bread, she said someone came up to her unprompted. 

“You have a love,” Reitenour recounted them saying. “It is the love for people, not just your family, and you need to follow that love.” 

The next week, another person spoke with her and her friend unprompted at Panera. He told her friend, “God bless you.” 

"God bless you. Jesus is Lord,” Reitenour’s friend replied. 

After a moment between him and her friend, the man turned to Reitenour.  

“He said that people do not know how much the Father loves them, he gave his Son,” Reitenour said. “And then he said, ‘You have a calling on your life. It is a calling for your future. You must let your past go, you must walk in that calling and allow the Lord to renew your mind that you might have proved the pure and acceptable will of God.’” 

After her experiences at the Panera Bread, she prayed and ended up in the Book of Nehemiah in the Bible. Upon a closer reading, Reitenour said she realized something that confirmed her calling: that Nehemiah, the writer of the chapter, was a governor of Judea. 

“I'm not interested in changing the story,” she said. “This is what happened, I got that calling.” 

Reitenour considers herself to be one of the only true outsiders in the race, with no true political experience. She faces harsh odds of winning the primary against candidates with more cash on hand and name recognition, but that doesn’t deter her. 

“I am of the attitude that dollars don't have heartbeats, people do,” she said. “We need to go back to that.” 

Listening to Hoosiers and their priorities is how she plans to distinguish herself in a crowded Republican primary with six candidates in contention. Like many other Republicans in the primary, she wants to significantly cut taxes and budgetary spending in the statehouse. Though she supports typical Republican positions on issues like lower taxes and gun rights, she turns away from the party establishment on others. 

She said she wants to see a pause on the LEAP project, a controversial water pipeline that would bring millions of gallons of water hourly from an aquifer underneath the Wabash River to an industrial project in Boone County. She opposes it more due to government spending than environmental concerns, as many Democrats have. 

“What I don't support is using millions and millions of taxpayer dollars to purchase land and then choose who's going to be able to use that land,” Reitenour said. “I don't support projects being done in the manner that was conducted, which really seemed absent the people's consent.” 

Indiana passed a near-total abortion ban in August 2023, permitting the procedure only in cases before 22 weeks if doctors detect a lethal fetal anomaly or until 12 weeks in cases of rape or incest. 

But Reitenour said she would like to go further. On her website, she says she will “advocate to cease all abortions in the state.” 

Reitenour would also focus on education if elected, a policy area governors are more capable of changing.

She set forth an ambitious plan to start educating kids on AI starting in sixth grade. To be a good governor, she said she would have to look 10 years in the future to prepare kids for the workforce. 

Specifically, she would bring in private sector employees to discuss how AI changed their businesses with students. Past that, in grades seven and eight, she wants to add more trades education to schools. 

Her overall priorities highlight the importance of family and faith in her life. As someone who grew up in a divorced family, she said she understands the struggles of many Hoosiers with similar backgrounds. 

But more than anything, Reitenour said she wants to be a representative of the people in state government.  

“Hebrews, chapter 11, is full of people that were just regular, ordinary people, and they worshipped extraordinary God,” Reitenour said. "That is who I am. I believe him. I stand on my faith securely.” 

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