Mike Pence

J.D. Gray

President Barack Obama is shining a spotlight on Elkhart, Indiana – the first city he visited as president – calling it a symbol of America’s economic recovery.

Obama returned Wednesday with a message defends his legacy while laying the groundwork for a Democratic victory this fall.

When the president visited in 2009, unemployment was nearly 20 percent in the community that heavily relies on manufacturing and the recreational vehicle industry,

Seven years later, that rate is now below four percent. 

Indiana Department of Administration

During the first quarter of this year, Democratic governor candidate John Gregg raised more money than incumbent Republican Mike Pence. 

Without last minute support from a national group, Pence would’ve been out-raised nearly two-to-one.

Gregg brought in more than $1.8 million between January and March.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

State and local road funding, harsher penalties for drug dealers, and holding schools harmless for a drop in ISTEP scores – those are some of the initiatives Governor Mike Pence says will be part of his legislative agenda for the upcoming session.  

Pence unveiled his $1 billion state road funding plan months ago, a proposal that spends down the state’s budget reserves and incorporates bonding. He signed on last month to a Senate Republican local road funding bill worth more than $400 million.  

Lawmakers To Debate Length Of Road Funding Plan

Jan 4, 2016
Brian Hefele / https://www.flickr.com/photos/brhefele/6973020335

The looming legislative debate over road funding will involve not just how to pay for it, but whether to seek a short-term or long-term solution.

Governor Pence has proposed $1 billion in road funding over four years.

But House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) has called for a long-term funding fix.

House Republicans have proposed a hike in the gas tax to make up for 13 years of inflation since the last increase.

Pence Announces New State Mental Health Hospital

Dec 16, 2015
courtesy photo

Governor Mike Pence announced Wednesday plans for a new $120 million mental health hospital on the east side of Indianapolis. 

The state is partnering with Community Health Network to develop a neuro-diagnostic institute, which will have 159 beds and the capacity to treat 1,500 patients per year.

Pence emphasizes that along with confronting mental illness, the facility was created to fight the state’s ongoing drug addiction crisis.

Pence also notes that of the 30 thousand people incarcerated in Indiana, nearly half have a mental illness or substance abuse disorder.

Office of the Governor

Governor Mike Pence Tuesday reiterated the defense of his decision to suspend Indiana’s refugee resettlement program for those fleeing Syria and, now, Iraq.  But three weeks after he announced the suspension, it’s still unclear how much impact Pence’s policy can have.

Pence’s comments came in the wake of Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin’s announcement that Catholic Charities brought in a Syrian family to the Hoosier State.  The governor says he respectfully disagrees with that decision while adding that his heart goes out to the refugees.

Sarah Fentem / WBAA

Close to 80 protestors gathered in West Lafayette today to march in protest of Governor Mike Pence’s recent order blocking the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana.

Kathleen O’Connor, herself the grandchild of refugees from Ireland, say Pence’s withdrawal of funding to state agencies that help Syrian refugees relocate is antithetical to American ideals.

“Our country has been so enriched by the refugees and immigrants that have come,” she says. “I don’t see how we can shut the door.”

Alan Levine / https://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/15152251297

While Democrats have criticized Governor Pence's road funding plan for not including money for local streets, Republicans are uneasy about the use of a funding source the state has largely steered clear of in recent years: a bond issue.

Pence has proposed floating bonds for a quarter of the billion dollars he wants to raise.

House Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) has said he's "concerned" about that piece of the plan.

Eric Molina / https://www.flickr.com/photos/iamagenious/

Governor Mike Pence’s Drug Abuse Task Force is scheduled for only three meetings, with some questioning whether much can be accomplished in such a short period.  Task force co-chair John Hill says the three meetings might just be the beginning.

The first task force meeting took place in Indianapolis earlier this month; the other two will take place in Evansville and South Bend.  Hill says he wants the group to address some of the most pressing issues in those meetings and provide recommendations for legislative action next session:

Mike Demers / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mdd/9890957405/

Governor Pence is dismissing charges by opponents that the closure of a bridge on I-65 near Lafayette is a result of neglected maintenance.

Pence says the bridge over Tippecanoe County’s Wildcat Creek was scheduled for replacement next spring. But while engineers are still trying to determine exactly why the bridge sank several inches into the ground, Pence says INDOT's tentative conclusion is that other construction work caused the bridge to settle.

He says engineers are studying whether erosion around an underground aquifer may have played a role as well.

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