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Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
GOP gubernatorial nominee Mike Pence, right, leaves Parkview Field after speaking to the Fort Wayne Rotary Club on Monday afternoon.

Would-be governors prepare for final push

With just a week remaining until the Nov. 6 election, the major gubernatorial candidates plan to spend the next seven days traveling the Hoosier State seeking support from undecided voters before they head to the polls.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee John Gregg’s last stretch, dubbed the “Workhorse Tour,” includes stops in 40 Indiana cities during the final week of the election season.

Today’s stops include parts of Ripley, Fayette, Henry, Wayne, Randolph and Delaware counties, with more stops to follow later in the week.

Mike Pence, the Republican candidate for governor, in Fort Wayne on Monday, said he plans to spend the coming week the same way he spent the past year and a half – promoting his plan to market Indiana as “the state that works.”

Rep. Pence, R-6th, spoke to the Fort Wayne Rotary Club on Monday.

“I think this is no ordinary time in the life of our state. I truly believe that Indiana is on the verge of an era of growth and opportunity like no other,” he said. “I think Indiana can take our rightful place as the leading state in the Midwest and one of the fastest-growing economies within the United States in the next five years.

“But it’s going to take the right ideas … and the right leadership to get there.”

Pence shared a few points from his “Roadmap for Indiana,” including a proposed 10 percent reduction in Hoosiers’ personal income tax rates, a plan to increase students’ test scores and graduation rates across the state and a goal to establish and support vocational education programs at all Indiana high schools.

With a 10 percent decrease in personal income tax rates, the state would have the lowest rate in the Midwest, Pence said, funneling an estimated $500 million back into the economy each year.

“That might be something we want to put, facing out, at every major highway in Indiana,” Pence said.

Pence said Monday that his plan includes ways to attract jobs to areas like Fort Wayne by promoting conditions that would attract inventors and workers.

“What’s probably been the most eye-opening in a state with more than 8 percent unemployment has been to see how many businesses I’ve walked into that haven’t said to me ‘no jobs available,’ but they’ve said to me ‘no workers available,’ ” Pence said.

With nods in agreement from several business leaders in the room Monday, Pence said what is needed are more Hoosiers with the skills to fill available jobs.

That process begins with ensuring all high school students have access to vocational education programs, he said.

During a rally Saturday at Headwaters Park, Gregg criticized Pence for voting in 2008 against providing federal loans to a struggling General Motors, which operates an assembly plant in Allen County.

“He’s drivin’ around in that red pickup truck made right here. … That just really frosts me,” Gregg said.

“Our message is about jobs, our message is about manufacturing jobs, good-paying jobs,” Gregg said at the rally. “Our message is about the opportunities we have in ag, manufacturing, life sciences, logistics and energy.”

Leaving no time for a question-and-answer session after his remarks, Pence left for Huntington, where he was expected to make an afternoon stop at Cafe of Hope.

Journal Gazette Washington Editor Brian Francisco contributed to this story.

jcrothers@jg.net

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