Pence and Daniels talk transition, Ritz victory and education reform
The transition from Governor Mitch Daniels to Governor-elect Mike Pence is underway as Pence has begun to assemble his transition team.
Daniels says his administration is eager to help make the transition a smooth one, allowing the new one to hit the ground running. Pence began the process by naming his long-time congressional chief of staff Bill Smith head of the transition team.
Pence praised the Daniels team and says his transition will be committed to continuity.
“I believe last night’s election was as much a vote of confidence in this administration as it was an affirmation of the vision and plans that we articulated in our candidacy for governor.”
Pence says he hopes to name more key members of his transition team soon. He adds he will not resign his congressional seat, serving out the remainder of his term while setting up his administration.
Daniels and Pence say Indiana’s expansive education reforms of the past few years will move forward undeterred, despite Superintendent Tony Bennett’s defeat in Tuesday’s election.
Pence downplayed the significance of Democrat Glenda Ritz’s upset victory over Tony Bennett – a blow she struck largely on a platform of rolling back many of Bennett’s policies.
“I believe in our candidacy, in the election of a super majority in the House of Representatives, we have a strong affirmation of the progress on education reform.”
Daniels says he shares Pence’s read of the message voters communicated with Tuesday’s results.
“The consensus and the momentum for reform and change in Indiana is rock solid. Not word of one of those laws is going to be changed unless it’s extended further in the direction of reform.”
He calls Ritz’s win an outlier.
“Every other factor that matters is aligned, in this state, in the direction of progress and change and reform of teacher accountability, of more choices for families, of more ability for school leadership to lead.”
Pence says he looks forward to working with Ritz to find areas of common purpose. He says he hasn’t formed an opinion on making the Superintendent of Public Instruction an appointed -- rather than an elected -- position.