A crowd of Hoosier judges gathered in a Grand Wayne Center ballroom heard Gov. Mike Pence describe the state’s solid fiscal footing and his areas of focus.
Pence, himself a law school graduate and former member of the House Judiciary Committee during his 12 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, expressed an affinity for the judicial branch, calling judges the vanguards of justice.
Introduced by Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson, Pence made his remarks in the opening session of the Indiana Judicial Conference’s annual meeting, held this year in Fort Wayne.
The three-day event brought magistrates, judges and justices from across the state to hear sessions on topics such as handling litigants who do not have attorneys, and what to do with older attorneys who practice with limited mental acuity.
The governor touted the state’s position as fifth in the nation for fastest job growth – a statistic tempered, he said, by the state’s unemployment rate, which remains over 8 percent.
Indiana also continues to lag in the areas of wage levels and entrepreneurial activity, Pence said.
Citing four areas of focus – fiscal stability, tax relief and regulatory reform, roads and bridges, and education innovation – Pence outlined a way he believes Indiana can continue to maintain a strong financial footing.
While describing his goals for education, Pence talked about the state’s new regional works councils. Later Wednesday, he announced the directors for each council, in which employers drive the curriculum design in the schools in a particular region.
The programs would be similar to an associate degree upon completion, Pence said, and would enable students to start work right out of high school.
I think our schools should work for all of our kids, regardless of where they started out in life, Pence said. I believe success begets success.
After the event, Pence said the General Assembly gave the authority for the councils, and they are now being put into place.
The councils’ goal is to determine what a curriculum should look like in a particular region for specific careers in that region, he said.
Those careers could include health care, life sciences and other industries, he said.