INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg derided Republican
candidate Eric Holcomb on Monday for being slow to offer plans for what he
would do if elected to the state’s top office.
announced afterward that he would discuss an economic development proposal
on Tuesday - his first policy announcement coming seven weeks before
Election Day and eight weeks after he was picked to replace Gov. Mike Pence
as the Republican nominee.
said in weekend interviews that the state has “gotten through” the
religious-objections law signed last year by Pence, which sparked national
uproar as opponents maintained it would’ve sanctioned discrimination against
gays before GOP legislators approved revisions.
Gregg toured an
Indianapolis high school’s career center Monday with Democratic state school
Superintendent Glenda Ritz to highlight their proposals for improving
vocational training programs around the state.
afterward that Holcomb has offered only rhetoric on issues such as education
and economic development since Republican leaders selected him as their
candidate after Pence ended his re-election bid to become Donald Trump’s
Gregg, a former
Indiana House speaker, pointed to lengthy proposals he has released on his
campaign website and discussed while touring the state. Gregg said Holcomb
can’t point to accomplishments in government because much of his career has
been as a political operative, including as a campaign manager for former
Gov. Mitch Daniels and state Republican chairman before being appointed
lieutenant governor in March.
“He’s got no
program,” Gregg said. “He has no program. There’s nothing out there. That’s
because, what’s he going to do, say he knows how to run a good campaign?”
Holcomb has said he
wants to continue what he calls the state’s progress under the past 12 years
of Republican governors, touting Indiana’s improving unemployment rate,
large budget surpluses and funding increases for schools.
“On the campaign
trail, Eric has consistently focused on the four areas he believes are
necessary to continue Indiana’s forward momentum: economic development,
community development, excellence in education and providing good state
government at a great taxpayer value,” Holcomb campaign manager Mike O’Brien
said in a statement about Tuesday’s announcement. “This plan, and the ones
to follow, have been developed after discussions with Hoosiers across the
persistently criticized Holcomb and Pence over handling of the
religious-objections law and called for the extension of full civil rights
protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Holcomb told WXIN-TV
of Indianapolis that the LGBT rights question “is not an issue I’m focused
on at all.”
“It is 2016 right
now. It’s not 2015,” he said in an interview broadcast Sunday. “We’ve gotten
through that. We’ve moved forward as a state.”
Holcomb said few
people bring up the issue when he’s traveling around that state.
“In Indiana we’re
going to protect religious liberties and freedoms in the state constitution,
and municipalities can pass local ordinances (extending LGBT protections),”
he told The (Anderson) Herald Bulletin. “That’s how we’ve been operating. It
seems to be working.”
Jeff Harris said the civil rights issue remains the top worry of Indiana
businesses and that the religious objection-law aftermath continues to scare
away investment in the state.
Holcomb has his head in the sand to think that the LGBT issue has passed,”