Somebody better check the pulse of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. Maybe we need a DNA sample as well.

Something seemingly isn’t right. Quite frankly, I’m worried about the guy.

The Republican that Hoosiers elected last fall to be their governor is acting, well, you might say he is acting like a Democrat a good bit of the time.

Or maybe it would be better to say that he is acting like, well, a governor.

Holcomb figured out early on that Interstate 65 leads to Northwest Indiana where there are almost as many residents as there are in the place that was called Naptown before it grew up.

And even more importantly, this corner of the state is one of the most heavily industrialized areas of the nation and makes more steel than any other sector of the country.

Holcomb seems to be paying attention. Not just a passing glance, but a bona fide interest.

I know some other Republican governors have reached out to this heavily Democratic corner of the state, but the interest generally waned.

In case you have forgotten, Holcomb quickly became a champion for the South Shore Railroad by backing double tracking and development along the rail lines — current and future.

It’s not that some other Republican governors didn’t have an appreciation for the South Shore, but they seemed to lose interest when they found out it ran to Chicago and not Indianapolis.

That, in part, is why it was so tough for area legislators in the 1980s and beyond to secure South Shore funding. It was a constant fight.

Last week, Holcomb showed a compassionate side that is generally reserved for Democrats.

The governor issued an executive order prohibiting state job applications from containing a section to ask job applicants whether they have criminal records.

“This executive order will give Hoosiers with criminal records a second chance by helping them overcome the stigma of their past and live productive lives,” Holcomb said.

That kind of thinking ought to be a help for many living in Northwest Indiana.

Then I got to thinking. One of the fun things about politics is wondering what might have been.

Yeah, you guessed it — the Cline Avenue Bridge.

I’ve got to wonder if that would have been rebuilt as a freeway several years ago had Holcomb been governor.

Instead, it is still on the drawing board as a tollway.

We’ll never know, but he does seem to be that sort of a take-charge guy, even if it is for the good of Northwest Indiana. Let’s hope it lasts.

Rich James has been writing about state and local government and politics for more than 30 years. Email him at rjamescolumns@gmail.com. The opinions are the writer’s.

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