Indiana Republicans pass party torch to Pence

2012-06-09T15:30:00Z 2012-06-10T22:56:04Z Indiana Republicans pass party torch to PenceBy Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com

INDIANAPOLIS | Promising to run "a positive campaign of ideas," Mike Pence told delegates to the Republican convention Saturday that if elected governor he will make Indiana "the state that works."

The Republican nominee said economic development and reducing taxes are his top priorities, though he did not specify how he plans to create jobs or cut taxes. Pence also said Indiana needs to improve student test scores by giving teachers "the freedom to teach" and said state government must help strengthen Hoosier families.

"Our present crisis is not just economic and political, but moral," Pence said. "This means our final goal must be improving the health, safety and well-being of Hoosier families, especially children."

The six-term Congressman vowed to lead the state in active resistance to federal government mandates, a change from current Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels who used the courts or worked behind-the-scenes to derail federal policies he believed hurt Indiana.

"We must have a governor that is willing to say yes to Indiana and no to Washington D.C.," Pence said. "As your governor, I will fight for the right of every Hoosier to run our schools, buy our health care, build our roads and heat our homes without the heavy hand of the liberal federal government breathing down our necks."

Speaking under a huge banner reading "Passing the Torch," Pence and Sue Ellspermann, the lieutenant governor nominee, both said their ambition is to lead Indiana "from good to great."

On hand to remind Republicans of the need to continue the work he's done for eight years, Daniels roared into the Indiana Convention Center on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle to wild cheers and applause, riding up the center aisle to the podium.

"We did not pour heart and soul into building the best business climate in the country, the strongest fiscal position in the country or the most effective government services in the country just to turn it back over to those who would tear it all down," Daniels said.

In addition to ratifying Pence's choice of Ellspermann for lieutenant governor, Republican convention delegates also nominated Attorney General Greg Zoeller and State Superintendent Tony Bennett for second terms.

The tightly scheduled convention had a moment of uncertainty when Chris Retson, of Crown Point, proposed amending the party platform to demand an audit of the Federal Reserve System, a position popular among supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.

As many delegates shouted "End the Fed," party leaders conferred briefly on stage and agreed to amend the declaration of party principles.

Paul supporters were less successful winning election to attend the Republican National Convention. At Friday night's Congressional district caucus meetings, the slated national convention delegates prevailed over Paul supporters.

Joe Zrnchik, of Highland, said he was disappointed party leaders used procedural maneuvers to block consideration of an alternate slate of delegates.

Republican Congressional candidate Joel Phelps, of Portage, said he understood the passion of Ron Paul supporters but said people seeking to be national delegates should get involved before the convention at local party meetings.

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