Governor candidates make pitch to local Republicans

Mar. 6—CHESTERFIELD — Four of the six Republicans seeking the party's nomination for governor made their pitch to the party faithful during the annual Lincoln Club Dinner.

Making brief remarks to the 180 people gathered Tuesday at the Millcreek Community Center were Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Eric Doden, Curtis Hill and Brad Chambers.

U.S. Senator Mike Braun and Jamie Reitenour, the other two candidates, didn't attend the event.

During the event current Madison County Auditor and former member of the county council Rick Gardner was named the Republican of the year.

"I'm running for governor because I care deeply about Indiana," Crouch said. "I'm committed to lead."

She said economic development is important but she is campaigning on a pledge to eliminate the state's income tax.

"This is an opportunity to put thousands of dollars back into the hands of Hoosiers," Crouch said. "It won't be easy, but it can be phased in over a number of years."

She said the state's income tax is already declining by action of the Indiana General Assembly.

"I want to eliminate government growth and wasteful spending," Crouch said.

Chambers, who is a former Indiana secretary of commerce, is campaigning on economic growth and to address the rising property tax costs.

"We need a governor that believes Indiana can do better," he said. "The American dream starts with hard work."

Chambers said when he took over as secretary of commerce, he wondered why Indiana's average wage and industrial growth was below the national average.

"We brought in new businesses that invested millions of dollars in Indiana and provided workers with a good wage," he said. "You have to play to win and not to lose in a global economy."

Chambers said the governor's No. 1 job is to grow the economy to be able to invest in public safety and quality of life programs.

He said people across Indiana are frustrated with property taxes that are out of control.

"Government can be smaller," Chambers said. "We need transparency in the assessment process."

Running for governor is not a career change, he said, but a service job for him.

"I want to run government like a business," Chambers said.

Doden said he wants to put his faith to work and that without a mission people perish.

"There are 2 1/2 million people living in small towns," he said. "We have never had an economic development plan for small towns."

Doden noted an effort made to revitalize Van Wert, Ohio, in recent years through private development.

"This is what we want Indiana cities and towns to experience, the ability to grow and expand," he said.

Doden is also promoting a program to help cover the expenses for families that adopt children and for their long term care.

"I want to see zero cost adoption," he said.

Hill served one term as Indiana attorney general and said elections are about leaders that display courage.

"Hoosiers are hungry for proven conservative leadership," he said.

Hill said many times people who are elected to office don't follow through with their promises to voters.

"Government has failed us," he said. "We need leaders in the state and Washington to display strong leadership and push back on programs that aren't working."

Hill said as attorney general he was able to defeat Gov Eric Holcomb's mask mandate during the COVID-19 pandemic and pledged to stop the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles from selling private information of citizens.

"It's getting back to the basics," he said of the May 7 primary election. "Is this person going to do the job?"

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.