WILLIAM NANGLE: Has Pence written off Northwest Indiana?

2012-09-23T00:00:00Z 2012-09-23T19:41:05Z WILLIAM NANGLE: Has Pence written off Northwest Indiana?By William Nangle nwitimes.com
September 23, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Don’t look for Mike Pence in Northwest Indiana any time before Election Day.

The GOP candidate for governor is scheduled to travel all over Indiana in the next six weeks, but, we’re told, not to publicly campaign in this corner of the state.

Could it be he has written off Northwest Indiana? Because Lake County is known as a bastion of the Democratic Party, do he and his campaign handlers think it a waste of time to campaign here?

Well, that could prove a mistake. One of the largest concentrations of Indiana’s registered Republicans can be found in Lake County, and surrounding counties of Porter, Newton and Jasper are well known Republican safe havens.

It appears his campaign is aimed more at the Hoosier Holy Land – the Bloomington to West Lafayette corridor – than elsewhere in the state. It is especially aggressive in the heart of the Hoosier Holy Land, Indianapolis. TV ads scream his message. His appearances there have been many, and mailboxes overflow with his literature. Not so in the region.

Perhaps the biggest concern to be derived from Pence’s apparent decision to write off Northwest Indiana for the balance of the campaign must be how he will treat the area should he be elected. Will it be a stepchild? Will he consider it “the State of Lake?” Will we be ignored?

Again, a mistake if he does so.

This region remains a strong economic driver for Indiana. It sends millions in tax dollars to Indianapolis each year.

And the future here is promising, for it is part of a developing regional economic juggernaut that runs from Milwaukee through Chicago and into Porter County.

Perhaps candidate Pence needs to spend more time here listening and learning about the challenges and opportunities facing the region. If he’s elected governor, he will need support of the region’s leadership. But his lackluster campaign here might send a signal that he doesn’t consider this region’s support of value.

The clock is ticking. Time is running short.

Pence needs to demonstrate his commitment to a strong Northwest Indiana by making it a part of his campaign’s final days.

William Nangle is executive editor of The Times. He can be reached at The Times, 601 45th St., Munster, IN 46321 or at bill.nangle@nwi.com.

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