HOBART | Indiana Gov. Mike Pence came to the Avalon Manor in Hobart on Wednesday pitching himself as the state's top salesman to a room full of salespeople.
“We are as strong a people as anywhere in America,” the governor told 315 Realtors in the banquet hall's ballroom. “We don't always agree on every single thing, but when push comes to shove we are there for our neighbors in this state I think more than anyone else in the world."
The governor had just come from the Michigan City ceremony honoring the 139 rescuers of Nathan Woessner, the six-year-old boy who remained trapped in a sand pit on Mt. Baldy for three-and-a-half hours on July 12 and has since made a miraculous recovery.
Still emotional from the gathering of Nathan's rescuers and family, he referred to it at length to begin and end his talk.
It was the third time in the past six years an Indiana governor has addressed the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors, which was holding its annual meeting at the Avalon Manor on Wednesday.
It was a fact Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors CEO Pete Novak said attested to the important work Realtors do.
“If that doesn't speak to the credibility of our organization, then I don't know what does,” Novak said.
The governor came before the Realtors to talk economic development, outlining his four-point plan for the state's recovery.
He listed those as state fiscal responsibility, tax cuts, road maintenance and building and job training.
“Since we took office there has been steady job growth and our state has been adding jobs every month, even though unemployment remains stubbornly over 8 percent,” Pence said.
But recent evidence of a turnaround such as leading the nation in manufacturing jobs growth for the past three months has the governor optimistic.
Reforms such as the largest tax cut in Indiana history combined with state budget surpluses that will average more than $100 million in each of the next two years are the foundation for jobs growth here, Pence said.
In particular, the governor took time to tout his new job training initiatives to coordinate high school education with the needs of employers.
“I want to see where the young people can graduate from high school and can have an industry certification or even an associates degree right that day,” Pence said.
Pence was enthusiastically received by Realtors, who gave their biggest applause to the subject of tax cuts and Indiana's top rankings for business-friendliness.
The Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors represents 1,721 Realtors in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper counties.