Reaction to Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s State of the State address, while mixed, was positive overall.  Here is some reaction….

Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch

  • “Our governor Eric Holcomb continues to build upon the successes the legislature and previous administrations have made. His plans to increase teacher pay and develop a skilled workforce will pay dividends for future generations of Hoosiers.  “It is imperative we are keeping on the path of taking Indiana and those who call it home to the Next Level, and I look forward to working with our governor to meet our goals.”

House Speaker Brian Bosma

  • “Governor Holcomb set the right tone with his bold vision for our state’s future, and we will continue working with him to take our shared priorities across the finish line this session.
  • “To elevate our state’s most important profession for the future, we appreciate the governor’s commitment to taking meaningful and substantive steps to put more dollars into teachers’ pockets. While teacher salary decisions are made entirely at the local level, his call for the state to use reserves to pay off a pension liability that schools currently pay should help schools pass on about $140 million in savings over the next two years directly to teachers. This action coupled with several of our legislative priorities this session, are part of a short- and long-term goal to keep hardworking teachers in Indiana’s classrooms.
  • “His strong focus on strengthening the bridge between Indiana’s classrooms and the workforce reflects employers’ growing demands for highly skilled workers. We will continue to work alongside educators, employers and stakeholders as part of an all-hands-on-deck approach.”

Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray

  •  “In his 2019 State of the State address, Gov. Holcomb outlined the many successes our state has achieved and the challenges before us. Indiana’s economy is strong, and as we continue to attract businesses to our state, it is critical that we continue to improve job-training opportunities for Hoosiers across Indiana.
  • “We must also continue to support our teachers and schools, look for ways to fight the drug epidemic and expand addiction-treatment options, and protect our most vulnerable youth. Though there is much to do in the year that lies ahead, I am confident that we have a team of dedicated public servants – both at the Statehouse and in communities across our state — who will work hard to make Indiana a better place to call home.”

House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta

  • “The Governor is a fine speaker, but there is a point where we have to stop talking about doing the things we need to do to move Indiana forward, and start doing them.
  • “We have seen and heard bold talk so far about the need to do something for our teachers, but the talk is not being matched by the legislation that is moving through the Indiana House.
  • “Let’s say it one more time: teachers do not need to have additional tax credits to buy supplies for their students, which is something their school corporations should be doing. Teachers need to be paid more. Now.
  • “It is good to see the governor speak about the need for a hate crimes law in Indiana. He needs to give that speech more forcefully to members of his own party, who are the biggest roadblocks to passage of this legislation. Indiana should not be one of five states without a hate crimes law.
  • “Our schools must be safer. Our workforce must be better-trained. Pre-K should be expanded. Public school funding should be protected. Charter, voucher, and virtual school programs should be held more accountable. DCS needs to do a better job protecting at-risk children. People with pre-existing medical conditions must have quality health care protections. Our elections must be open and accessible, encouraging Hoosiers to participate. All of these things can be done this session. We are prepared to act. Now.”

Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane

  • “I am sorely disappointed in the governor’s refusal to provide schools with enough money to pay their teachers a decent wage. Indiana’s teachers make less than all of our neighboring states. The Senate Democrats have a proposal that would provide teachers a five percent raise over the next two years.
  • “I am glad that the governor agrees that all Hoosiers should be protected under a hate crimes law, including transgender individuals. I call on the governor to get his supermajority in line to also support this imperative language. Without protecting all Hoosiers, we cannot faithfully join ourselves with the other 45 states who have this kind of protection on the books.
  • “I do not understand the governor’s staunch opposition to legalizing medical marijuana when 73 percent of Hoosiers support this legislation. Veterans and sick Hoosiers across the state could benefit from this treatment option that Americans in 33 other states and D.C. have access to. Finally the governor has yet to address what would happen to thousands of Hoosiers if changes made in D.C. would kick those with pre-existing conditions off affordable health insurance.
  • “ I call on the governor and Republicans in the legislature to support the Senate Democrats bill that would require insurance companies in Indiana to cover pre-existing conditions at no additional cost. The governor needs to be a leader on this because Indiana’s own Attorney General is part of a lawsuit trying to take this coverage away from Hoosiers.
  • “Senate Democrats have a lot of good bills on the docket for 2019 that would transform the lives of Hoosiers for the better. I hope the governor and my colleagues understand what’s at stake if some of these bills don’t pass this session. I’m ready to get to work to make sure all Hoosiers are paid a living wage, are protected against violence rooted in discrimination, have access to all possible medical treatment options and can afford to have health insurance.”

Indiana Chamber of Commerce

  • “We’re encouraged – as many Hoosiers are* – by the continued forward-looking approach taken by Gov. Holcomb and his administration. Investments to grow and attract Indiana’s current and future workers are required to allow our state to achieve at the highest levels.
  • “An unfortunate omission, however, is the absence of support for improving the health of our citizens by embracing the agenda to reduce smoking (Indiana now ranks 44th among the 50 states in its percentage of smokers). Hoosiers strongly back a cigarette tax hike and increasing the smoking age to 21, as well as addressing the growing vaping crisis among teens.
  • “In regard to the bias crimes issue, we are pleased to see the Governor continue to emphasize its importance. It is imperative this year to find a way to remove Indiana from the short list of states without a bias crimes law.”


Indiana Forward

  • In the State of the State address, Gov. Eric Holcomb again demonstrated his strong and unwavering support for a comprehensive bias crimes law that includes a list of enumerated characteristics that are most often the targets for acts of violence and intimidation. With bias crimes on the rise in Indiana and around the country, Gov. Holcomb’s leadership on this issue should not go unnoticed.
  • The Governor’s remarks tonight perfectly captured why 2019 is the year that Indiana joins 45 other states in passing a clear and comprehensive bias crimes law that includes a list of enumerated characteristics: Our state’s top leadership is behind it, our business community is calling for it, and Hoosiers are ready for it to pass.
  • This law will have a lasting, positive effect on the state’s economy by moving Indiana off the unfortunate list of 5 states without bias crimes laws. The time is now to move Indiana Forward, and we hope our lawmakers will answer Gov. Holcomb’s call for leadership and pass a strong bias crimes law that leaves no Hoosier behind. We look forward to working collaboratively with him and our leaders in the General Assembly to make sure the best legislation crosses the goal line.

Barbara Quandt Underwood, state director of NFIB in Indiana:

  • “Finding qualified workers in the current tight job market is now the top concern of small businesses. Gov. Holcomb’s desire to expand workforce training and allow more Hoosiers to gain the high-level skills required in today’s workforce is admirable. By encouraging career education in secondary schools and offering training to inmates the number of qualified workers should increase.
  • “Right now, 39 percent of small businesses report job openings they cannot fill because they can’t find qualified applicants. There are more job openings than people looking for jobs, even with an increase in wages offered. Small companies can’t grow or create additional jobs when they can’t find people to fill new positions. We applaud the Governor for addressing this workforce problem and hope lawmakers will realize its importance.

Kyle Hupfer, Indiana Republican Party

  • “Governor Eric Holcomb demonstrated strong and consistent leadership in his third State of the State Address. He proved yet again that he is armed and ready to tackle the issues facing Indiana with ideas that will deliver measurable and positive results for all Hoosiers.
  • “Through his series of Next Level initiatives, Governor Holcomb is providing Hoosiers with innovative solutions to our state’s biggest challenges – from teacher pay to workforce development, and from infrastructure funding to attacking the drug epidemic. And, even as we address these issues with new dollars and fresh ideas, Governor Holcomb is committed to preserving Indiana’s status as the fiscal envy of the nation by protecting our AAA credit rating and maintaining reserves at an impressive 11 percent.
  • “In keeping with his goal to take Indiana to the Next Level, his plan announced tonight to allocate dollars from our state’s healthy reserve fund to pay down teacher pension debt will free up those dollars to be used in increasing compensation for those who prepare our next generation for the years ahead. On that same important topic, he reconfirmed his commitment to the issue with the formation of the Next Level Pay Commission, which under the leadership of Michael L. Smith will help improve teacher pay in the present and in the future. Teachers in every Hoosier community should know this: Governor Holcomb stands with them and is fighting for them every day.
  • “There’s a reason why Governor Holcomb’s approval rating stands at 65 percent. He is delivering on behalf of Hoosiers in every corner of the state and tonight he did it again.”

John Zody, Indiana Democratic Party

  • “That Governor Holcomb continues to think small, to tinker rather than tackle our state’s critical issues is proof he just doesn’t have a vision beyond keeping the seat warm. Indiana faces real challenges and Holcomb has the legislative muscle to pass a bold agenda. Now, in year three, it isn’t that he can’t advance a bold vision, it’s that he chooses not to. Holcomb took to the stage tonight and made the case to tread water. His budget doesn’t allocate one dime specifically to raise educators’ pay, nor does it mention preschool. Not once. If you’re unable or unwilling to take on our state’s biggest problems, what are you getting up to do every day?”