U.S. Senate, Governor Candidates Address Kokomo Manufacturing Conference
KOKOMO, Ind. -- A day before the only debate in Indiana's Senate race, Democrat Evan Bayh and Republican Todd Young have made their cases at a manufacturing conference in Kokomo.
Bayh and Young did not share a stage as they will Tuesday night in Indianapolis, but separately addressed an audience of about 50 people. Neither mentioned the other, but both sought to portray themselves as an antidote to a poisonous partisan atmosphere in Washington.
The leading candidates for governor, Democrat John Gregg and Republican Eric Holcomb, also addressed the conference.
Young says Congress needs to take a fresh look at health care, but says until there's consensus to do so, he's focused his efforts on changing aspects of Obamacare where both parties can agree, such as an attempt to restore the definition of “full-time” work as 40 hours. He says his dedication to solving problems is “the value add” he'd bring to the Senate.
Bayh laments what he calls a tendency for conservatives and liberals to treat each other as the enemy, and says there needs to be a commitment to ending that mindset regardless of who wins the election.
Both Young and Bayh point to high corporate tax rates as an area where they could find bipartisan agreement and reduce the incentive for companies to move jobs overseas. Young says it should be part of a broader simplification of the tax code. Bayh says corporate taxes should come first because it's one issue where all sides are already close to agreement.
In the governor's race, Holcomb and Gregg differed more on their approach to governing than on policy. Both pointed to their support for investing in infrastructure, expanding preschool, beefing up job-training efforts, and holding the line on taxes. But Holcomb emphasized his campaign's portrayal of voters' choice as one between prudent budgeting and what he calls Gregg's “reckless” plans to spend money from various reserve funds, including the Major Moves highway trust fund.
Gregg maintains Holcomb's call to expand a preschool pilot program is too timid. The program currently serves 15-hundred students. Gregg says there are 80,000 four-year-olds in Indiana, and says Holcomb's gradual approach would take forever to deliver what both agree is a program with significant benefits.
Gregg has proposed universal state-funded preschool in four years, with the money coming from a narrowing of the school voucher program and from unspent funds for various programs for children or schools.