Political Notebook

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Pence focused on federal government

If elected governor, Republican Mike Pence -- a six-term congressman -- would use state tax dollars to fight federal micromanagement.

In a speech today before the Marion Rotary Club, Pence talked about the need for Indiana to push back on the fast-growing tide of federal regulations and programs that hinder Hoosier businesses and cost Hoosier taxpayers more money.

"We don't need the federal government to tell us how to build our roads, run our schools or take over our health care systems," he said. "We need a governor who will say 'no' to Washington, D.C., and 'yes' to Indiana."

Pence wants to establish an office of federalism called the Office of State-based Initiatives. It will advocate for Indiana by tracking the costs of federal mandates and coordinating with agencies to develop innovative solutions to effectively using federal dollars.

The office will be created at no additional cost to taxpayers by retasking the current Office of Federal Grants and Procurement to oversee the state's federalism priorities.

That office seeks to maximize the amount of federal money state government brings back to Indiana. Its annual budget is $82,578.

"Indiana must take the lead in stemming the flood of federal mandates that stifle Hoosier ingenuity in finding solutions to public policy problems," Pence said.

Democrat opponent John Gregg's campaign criticized the renaming of the state office, saying it was created to improve Indiana's rank in bringing back federal funds - not to fight ideological battles.

To contact Niki Kelly email her at nkelly@jg.net or follow her on Twitter @nkellyatJG.