Brandon Smith

IPBS Statehouse Reporter

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.


General News
10:00 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Proposed Bill Ensures Training For Reserve Police Officers

Reserve police officers are unpaid volunteers – they have the same police powers as regular law enforcement but don’t have to go through the same level of training.
Credit Tony Webster /

Proposed legislation moving easily through the General Assembly would ensure reserve police officers throughout the state receive much-needed training.

Reserve police officers are unpaid volunteers. They have the same police powers as regular law enforcement but don’t have to go through the same level of training.

Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington, wants to include reserve officers in the same yearly training courses professional police have to go through on the job.

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1:56 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Indiana Employment Rate Better In February, Still Trails National Average

Indiana's rate is 5.9-percent, the national average is 5.5-percent.
Credit Jenna Purcella /

After four months without a decrease in unemployment, Indiana’s rate fell below 6-percent in February. 

Indiana’s unemployment rate rose to 6-percent in January, the first time it hit that mark in nearly a year. 

But it only lasted a month, falling back to 5.9-percent in February.  The state’s private sector also created 1,700 jobs last month. 

The slight dip in the unemployment rate is due in part to Hoosiers leaving the labor force in February, meaning fewer people looking for work. 

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Elections & Politics
9:59 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Holcomb Launches Senate Bid To Replace Coats In 2016

Holcomb and his wife Janet at the announcement Thursday.
Credit Brandon Smith / IPBS

Eric Holcomb steered former Gov. Mitch Daniels’ 2008 reelection campaign, led the Indiana Republican Party and most recently served as State Chief of Staff to Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN).  But Thursday, Holcomb announced a personal first: a run for office:

“And that’s why today, ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud, I’m excited to announced my candidacy for the United States Senate,” Holcomb says.

Despite never serving in elected office, he says he’s not worried about making the jump all the way to a Senate run:

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2:36 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Pence Inks RFRA As Businesses Begin Shrinking Investment In Indiana

Credit Marc Benioff / Twitter /

As Governor Mike Pence signed the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law Thursday, he blamed the media for what he calls a misunderstanding of the law. 

RFRA establishes a judicial test that courts will use to decide when the government can infringe on a person’s religious beliefs and practices.  Many groups say they’re concerned it will be used to sanction discrimination, particularly against LGBT Hoosiers.  But Pence says if he thought the law, which exists at the federal level and in 30 other states, was discriminatory, he would have vetoed it.

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Elections & Politics
1:34 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Dan Coats Won't Seek Another Senate Term In 2016

Coats' current run in Congress was just a single term, winning the seat left vacant when Evan Bayh declined to run in 2010.
Credit U.S. Senate /

U.S. Senator Dan Coats Tuesday announced he will not run for reelection in 2016.

Coats had spoken in recent months about whether to run again, noting that how Congress functioned with Republican majorities would play a major role. 

In a video statement Tuesday, the Hoosier Senator said choosing not to run was not an easy decision. 

“While I believe I am well-positioned to run a successful campaign for another six-year term, I have concluded that the time has come to pass this demanding job to the next generation of leaders,” he says in the video.

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