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Pence says social issues on table for Statehouse run

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Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Mike Pence said Friday he won’t observe Gov. Mitch Daniels’ call for a “truce” on social issues as he runs his campaign to succeed the Republican governor at the Statehouse in 2012.

A day after announcing his campaign for governor, the conservative, five-term eastern Indiana congressman said he was looking forward to discussing all of the issues that are important to Indiana voters.

“I believe this race should be about how we can move Indiana forward, and make the priorities of the people of Indiana our priorities. And I think that includes policies that will create good jobs, great schools for every Hoosier child, safe streets and also strong families,” Pence told reporters before headlining a fundraiser Friday evening for Republican city-county council candidates in Indianapolis.

Daniels has advised Republicans to keep their focus on the economy and observe a “truce” on social issues, drawing the ire of some social conservatives, but even he has said he will sign restrictive abortion legislation, making Indiana the first state to cut off all government funding for Planned Parenthood.

Pence led a drive in Congress to block Planned Parenthood funding. His conservative social and fiscal stands have made him a favorite among tea party activists in Indiana, but Pence said he expects to draw support across the political spectrum as he campaigns for the GOP nomination for governor next year.

“We’ve enjoyed very broad support across eastern Indiana over the last 10 years among Republicans, independents and many Democrats. I think it’s because people have seen me as an independent conservative voice.

“I’ve been willing to challenge the leadership and even the president of my own party when I thought their policies were not in the broader interests of taxpayers and future generations of Americans,” Pence said.

“I believe in limited government, I believe in fiscal responsibility, strong defense and old-fashioned, traditional values, but I also believe it’s important to respect people of divergent views,” he said.

Indiana Democratic Chairman Dan Parker said Pence’s values are too conservative for Indiana.

“I’m not concerned that Mike Pence is going to get too much of a head start because he’s the one that has the record that’s far, far out of the mainstream,” Parker said Friday.

Parker said he expected a gubernatorial campaign announcement soon from former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg, state Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson or other top Democrats.

Pence, who plans to complete his sixth term in Congress, said he will officially kick off his campaign at a historic farm in his hometown of Columbus on June 11.


Posted 5/9/2011




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