KNIGHTSTOWN – Gov. Eric Holcomb rolled out his reelection bid Saturday to the strains of the theme from the movie “Hoosiers” – promising to continue putting people first if given a second term.
“Because like coach Dale says in 'Hoosiers,' 'my team's on the floor.' And our team has a record of results to be proud of. We're organized, we're mobilized, and we're energized to keep Indiana rising” he said.
“Because nobody around here's going to get caught watching the paint dry! So, let's keep cutting down the nets. Let's keep hanging the banners. And let's keep making Hoosier history for four more years! Are you with me?!”
He and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch threw a basketball-themed kickoff party at the Hoosier Gym in the Henry County community of Knightstown complete with plenty of nods to sporting history. The celebration was in stark contrast to a no-frills 100-day campaign in 2016.
Several hundred supporters filled the small gym, many decked out in red Holcomb/Crouch shirts and holding signs saying “Go Holcomb All the Way.”
“I thought there was a tremendous amount of energy,” Allen County Republican Chairman Steve Shine said. “He hit on several aspects including a thriving economy.”
Shine added that it looks to be a banner year for Holcomb's reelection – “he has a great record to run on. It is stellar.”
Holcomb touted some of those accomplishments including highway upgrades resulting from a gas tax increase, investment in broadband, a commitment to workforce development and programs to help Hoosiers break their addiction to drugs.
Holcomb also pushed through a hate crimes law though some say it doesn't go far enough.
“We couldn't be more excited about the future, because here in Indiana, we've become a leader, not just across the country, but around the world. ... And we've done it the right way, the Indiana way, by putting people first!” he said. “We're making a positive difference in the lives of Hoosiers all over our great state.”
But Democrats painted a different picture – one with scandal at the veterans' agency, a lack of funding for public schools, tax cuts for corporations and a troubled child welfare system.
“Eric Holcomb doesn't work for working Hoosiers,” Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said. “He promised an education system that gives every kid a strong start, but nine out of 10 low-income 4-year-olds still don't have a seat in preschool. Holcomb has enabled a culture of corruption at the Statehouse by shoveling tens of millions of taxpayer dollars into shoddy, for-profit school operators and defrauding needy veterans.”
Indiana Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer fired back, saying Holcomb has invested in infrastructure and education while balancing the budget and saving for a rainy day.
“There are no special interests or favored regions with Eric Holcomb at the helm,” he said.