INDIANAPOLIS – Republican Mike Pence on Tuesday announced he would put family first if elected Indianas next governor, a move that Democrats claim showed his true social agenda.
The family is the underpinning of a childs success in life, Pence said in a news release. To change the sad fact that one out of every five children in Indiana lives in poverty, we have to recognize and support the role of the family. Strong families will mean a strong economy.
Pence said decades of social-science research show that one of the greatest causes of poverty and inequality is children born to unmarried parents.
The release said researchers agree the best way for people to avoid poverty is to follow the three-part success equation: graduate from high school, work full time or go to college, and get married before having children.
The policy announcement, Pences 12th, was his second straight to be delivered in a news release. He announced it at a local community center, but news media were not invited. He also was not available to answer questions about his proposals.
Why on earth are we talking about the state promoting marriage when unemployment is over 8 percent? asked Daniel Altman, spokesman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg. Hoosier families come in all shapes and sizes, and our next governor needs to be a governor for them all, not just those that fit in Congressman Pences social agenda.
Pence proposed requiring a Family Impact Statement on any new rules or regulations, much like the current requirement to provide a cost-benefit analysis before agencies promulgate rules. His campaign clarified that these statements might answer questions such as whether the regulation would raise family income, respect the rights of parents or inhibit family formation.
Hoosiers dont want a government that meddles in their personal lives, Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Vi Simpson said. They want a governor who will focus on creating jobs and strengthening the economy and one who values our agricultural community.
Pence also said he would support families by promoting adoption and foster parenting by offering those children the broadest possible range of educational options.
He specifically proposed allowing all adopted and foster care children to access K-12 vouchers to attend private schools regardless of parental income. There currently are income restrictions on the program.
Pence also would appoint a task force to examine interagency and state-local cooperation on child protection issues, including a controversial child abuse hotline. And he would provide additional training to teachers and law enforcement to help identify at-risk children.
The cost for this is unknown. According to the Indiana Department of Child Services, 4,600 Hoosier children are in foster care. The department has no data available on the exact number of adopted children in Indiana.