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.

Ways to Connect

Lynn Friedman /

Indiana’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in September, the first time in five months the rate didn’t go down.

The Indiana unemployment rate stayed at 4.5-percent last month. That’s still its lowest level in nearly a year and lower than all of its neighboring states.

The private sector added about 10,000 jobs for the month, the sixth consecutive month of increases. Gains came in almost all employment areas - the only outlier was the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which shed 1,300 jobs.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

The Indiana Democratic Party Thursday accused Secretary of State Connie Lawson of incompetence, partisanship and inflammatory rhetoric surrounding recent voter fraud allegations.

About a month ago, the Indiana State Police began investigating a group called the Indiana Voter Registration Project for possible voter fraud.

That progressive advocacy group then accused state Republicans of inhibiting liberal get-out-the-vote efforts. The police investigation is now in 56 counties.

Jashin Lin / WTIU News

The three candidates for Indiana’s open U.S. Senate seat met Tuesday in a debate marked by pointed attacks. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports.

For Republican Todd Young and Democrat Evan Bayh, the debate was as much about their opponent as it was themselves.

Young repeatedly attacked Bayh for his support of Obamacare, which Young calls a “millstone” around the economy.

Noah Coffey /

Thousands of Hoosier voters’ registration information has been changed – leaving many unsure if they’re still registered.

Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s office received complaints from voters who couldn’t find their registration information or discovered that information had been changed.

That includes changes to first names and birth dates.

Lawson’s office says it discovered thousands of records have been altered and has passed that information onto the State Police for an investigation of possible voter fraud.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Surrogates for the presidential campaigns are urging Hoosiers to get to the polls even before Election Day.

A recent poll suggests Republican Donald Trump’s lead in Indiana could be down to just five points. Trump-Indiana campaign chair Rex Early says he doesn’t believe it.

“We’ve been all over the state and the energy and the people we talk to…boy they are strong Trump people,” Early says. 

Early says he’s been working to go into small towns and typically ignored areas of the state to drive out the vote for Trump.

WFIU Public Radio

Indiana lawmakers taking a comprehensive look at the state’s alcohol laws gave industry representatives a chance to weigh in during a Tuesday study committee meeting.

The Public Policy Study Committee’s first meeting was all about the history of Indiana’s alcohol laws. At the second, for those who’ve followed alcohol debates over the years, it was more of the same.

Brandon Smith / IPBS

Democrats say Indiana Republicans are putting party over country by refusing to withdraw support for presidential candidate Donald Trump over his remarks about sexually assaulting women.

Democrats call it the GOP’s “deafening silence.”

Republican candidates for federal and statewide offices condemned Donald Trump’s remarks from a 2005 video in which he talks about kissing and inappropriately grabbing women without their consent.

Judy Baxter /

Indiana’s registration deadline to vote in the November election is Tuesday.

And, more Hoosiers are registered this year than in any election during the past decade.

The total number of registered voters is approaching 4.8 million as the registration deadline nears.

That’s about 200,000 voters more than any election since at least 2002.

Downs Center for Indiana Politics director Andrew Downs says the surge is in part new voters.

But, often he finds people don’t realize they’re already registered.

Governor Tom Wolf /

Attorney General Greg Zoeller Wednesday announced another round of grant funding to distribute the overdose intervention drug naloxone to first responders around the state. Zoeller says a more sustainable funding source is necessary.

Previous grants for naloxone provided kits of the drug to law enforcement and first responders in about 45 counties.  Zoeller says new funding – $400,000 – will expand that further, with the eventual goal of statewide supply.


Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb seemed to break with his boss, Governor Mike Pence, Monday on the issue of Pence’s move to block Syrian refugees from the state.

The comment came during the second gubernatorial candidate debate between Republican Holcomb, Democrat John Gregg and Libertarian Rex Bell.

The primary focus was on jobs and the economy.

But the refugee question was posed after a Monday federal appellate court decision to uphold a lower court ruling blocking Pence’s directive to suspend Indiana’s resettlement program for Syrian refugees.