Here’s reaction to Governor Eric Holcomb’s 2018 legislative agenda.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long

  • “I applaud the governor for bringing an aggressive and well-thought-out agenda to the table. The Senate continues to believe that workforce development is a critical issue for our state, and the governor’s agenda reflects that priority. Senate Republicans will be announcing our own agenda prior to session, and we look forward to working with the governor and our colleagues in the House of Representatives to continue to improve the lives of all Hoosiers.”

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma

  •  “Indiana’s strong economy continues to pay dividends through record job creation and low unemployment. To maintain this momentum, and to continue to attract employers in record numbers, it’s clear we have to strengthen our workforce pipeline. The governor has put forth a bold agenda, and we look forward to working with him on workforce and other critical issues facing our state and finding the best solutions for all Hoosiers.”

House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath

  • “In broad principle, House Democrats share many of the same goals. We all believe in a top-notch workforce, more job training opportunities, and freeing Hoosiers of drug addiction.  These concerns are nearly universal, and we look forward to working with the Governor to flesh out the details. It is imperative that Indiana strive for a healthy and well-trained workforce. Our workers are in demand of stronger wages, affordable healthcare, and better opportunities on the job.  Leaders of both parties should embrace solutions regardless of who proposed them.   Indiana House Democrats are committed to ordinary Hoosiers getting a fair shot in this economy. We have a long history of fighting for workers to get new job skills for themselves and their families. The Governor can expect that we will suggest improvements that will raise the earning ability of those who show up to work every day.  What worries me, however, is what might happen to us rather than because of us.  Job training becomes less fruitful when you are sick and broke. And it must be said that our national counterparts have been far from helpful on this front.  How will our state respond as our President, Vice-President, and Congress continue their assault on affordable health insurance for Hoosiers? While the full-frontal attack has flopped thus far, the Trump-Pence administration continues to sneakily dismantle the Affordable Care Act piece by piece.  Their schemes to hike insurance premiums, weaken coverage, and drive people away from health care are brazen and deliberate.  And all done in service of a campaign slogan.    The basic health care of more than 400,000 Hoosiers stands in the balance, and Hoosiers will not allow us to point fingers at a dysfunctional Washington forever.  How are we going to respond if this bizarre crusade comes true? It makes perfect sense that we need to prepare for the worst rather than hope for the best.   The Governor’s help is also needed to reform a system of governing that places a greater premium on preserving power than representing the public. We need him. A year ago, it seemed we were close to finally giving serious consideration to independent redistricting, only to see it disappear from the face of the earth, solely at the whim of one committee chairman.  That is not the change that people voted for in the last election.  Much of the Governor’s agenda is laudable.  It will be untarnished if he can restrain his party in the Legislature from adding needless distractions that fundamentally improve the lives of no one.  We stand ready to help.”

Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane

  • “I am glad to see that the governor is focusing on improving job readiness for Hoosiers and expanding our economy. Given that Indiana workers make substantially less than the national average, now is the time to ensure Hoosiers are just as successful as other Americans. Also, no full-time working person should be in a position where they can’t pay basic bills. I hope the governor will work with us to increase the minimum wage to ensure everyone can pay rent and buy groceries. Our caucus has offered skilled workforce bills in the past that didn’t get a hearing, so we’re looking forward to working with the governor on our aligned agenda items.  I was disappointed, that after the shockingly low voter turnout in past elections, the governor didn’t have anything on his agenda to make voting more accessible. The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy and when Hoosiers can’t vote, fixing that should be a priority for every elected official. As such, I will have an independent redistricting bill to take politics out of elections and restore confidence to voters. I hope the governor will treat upcoming voting access bills as a priority, and help us ensure every person is able to exercise their right to vote. These are small changes that could go a long way to actually taking Indiana to the Next Level.”

Kevin Brinegar, Indiana Chamber

  • “We see evidence everyday of Indiana’s economic and job accomplishments. This agenda – particularly clarifying software-as-a-service (SaaS) tax treatment, increased management of our water resources, accelerating efforts on autonomous vehicles and expanding STEM opportunities through increased computer science education – properly looks toward the future and will help ensure those successes continue.”

Barbara Quandt Underwood, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)

  • “The governor’s commitment to building a skilled and ready workforce is a big deal to small business. Our members say they’re having a harder and harder time finding qualified applicants, and that makes it harder for them to grow and create more job opportunities. I think a lot of people hear about the workforce shortage and think it applies only to big businesses, but that’s not true. Small businesses are struggling to find qualified workers, too. NFIB supports the governor’s efforts, and we’ll do whatever we can to help the governor’s plans become reality.”

John Zody, Indiana Democratic Party

  • “Statehouse Republicans have been peddling the same empty promises about skilling up the Hoosier workforce for more than a decade, yet their actions prove otherwise” said Zody. “The governor likes to cite rankings. Just look at the numbers, past efforts haven’t made a dent. Hoosier workers just want a shot at gaining the skills to earn bigger paychecks. If past performance is any indicator, Governor Holcomb’s plan won’t be that opportunity any more than past Republican efforts were.”

Kyle Hupfer, Indiana Republican Party

  • “Indiana is already experiencing incredible momentum, as evidenced by the news that we have more job commitments than ever before in our state’s history. And today, on the one year anniversary of Governor Eric Holcomb’s historic election victory, he unveiled a legislative agenda that will accelerate that momentum by yet again focusing his efforts squarely on helping Hoosiers, from growing our economy and adding jobs, to strengthening our infrastructure and combating the drug epidemic.  With the support of Hoosiers and his partners in the State House and State Senate, Governor Holcomb’s 2018 legislative agenda will continue Indiana’s forward momentum and deliver even more positive results on behalf of Hoosiers in every corner of Indiana.”

Photo: Abdul/Indy Politics