Many of us lament our choices in the 2016 presidential race, but Hoosiers are fortunate to have two quality options on the gubernatorial ballot.
Republican Eric Holcomb, currently Indiana’s lieutenant governor, and Democrat John Gregg, a former speaker of the Indiana House, both exhibit similar fiscal conservative qualities.
Holcomb and Gregg participated in our editorial endorsement process. Libertarian candidate Rex Bell did not.
Refreshingly, both Holcomb and Gregg articulate a passion for the economic promise of Northwest Indiana and the desire to further development projects, including South Shore commuter rail improvements, to help realize that potential.
Both men also support developing the state’s pre-K offerings beyond the currently limited pilot program.
We appreciate Gregg’s broader pre-K plan to offer universal preschool to all Hoosier 4-year-olds whose parents desire it.
Holcomb is more fiscally cautious, desiring to extend pre-K to economically disadvantaged Hoosiers first.
We believe universal pre-K is achievable and eventually should be pursued.
But there’s more to this race than this issue.
We endorse Holcomb for his foundation of judicious fiscal sense and his impressive grasp of the Northwest Indiana economy and its future promise.
Holcomb comes from a background of fiscal conservationism associated with former Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels. In fact, Holcomb is a protégé of the Daniels administration.
That administration’s policies helped forge a strong Hoosier economy, friendly business climate, a $2.4 billion budget reserve and a AAA Hoosier state credit rating.
Those strong trends continue today, and we believe Holcomb is the best positioned candidate to both preserve and perpetuate them.
We also were impressed with the working knowledge Holcomb has of important Region initiatives, including the South Shore commuter rail extension and double-tracking plan.
Holcomb has a strong business sense and knows how important these types of quality-of-life plans are to luring more residents, development and revenue to the Hoosier state.
We have a level of confidence with Holcomb that he won’t be a stranger to Northwest Indiana.
Gregg gave us a similar impression, though we question the us-versus-them description he gave of Northwest Indiana feeling isolated by the politics of the rest of the state.
There is no us-versus-them. Our Region is an important social and economic piece of the Indiana puzzle, and we need leaders who don’t perpetuate the unneeded chip on our shoulders.
Holcomb also left us confident he and other state Republican leaders have learned from the divisive social issues the party has pushed in the past, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Like his mentor Daniels, we believe Holcomb will discard such issues from his political marquee, focusing instead on sound policy.