INDIANAPOLIS (December 26, 2015) - Could Indiana's Lt. Governor be on the way out the door?
Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann acknowledged this past week that she's being considered for the top spot at Ivy Tech, potentially leaving Gov. Mike Pence without a running mate heading into next year's election.
Ellspermann issued a written statement Tuesday addressing the situation.
“From time to time as I travel the state I have been approached about opportunities including most recently Ivy Tech Community College," said Ellsepermann. " I am extremely honored to be considered given my deep engagement in workforce development. While I have made the Governor aware of this opportunity, this is a decision of the Ivy Tech Board of Trustees. As Lt. Governor I am focused on making Indiana a State that Works and improving the lives of Hoosiers.”
In the video above, panelists Matthew Tully, Tim Swarens, Jennifer Wagner and Mike Murphy discuss the speculation over potential replacements and the suggestions that Pence and Ellspermann didn't see eye to eye on the religious freedom controversy, an assertion the Governor's office flatly denied.
"Any assertion that the Lt. Governor is seeking to step down over ideological differences is completely false," said deputy chief of staff Matt Lloyd. "The Lt. Governor was approached by Ivy Tech this summer about applying for the position of president. She brought the opportunity to Governor Pence and said she was interested in applying and he encouraged her to do so. Governor Pence believes Lt. Governor Ellspermann is uniquely qualified to lead Ivy Tech and strongly encouraged her to seek the position. Governor Pence believes Ivy Tech will play a key role in strengthening Indiana’s workforce and believes the Lt. Governor is an ideal candidate for the position. The governor will support the Lt. Governor's effort to lead Ivy Tech but respects the role the Board of Trustees will play in the decision-making process.”
Still, Democrats were quick to seize on suggestions of an ideological rift in a statement last week.
“The announcement that Governor Mike Pence is encouraging Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann to leave his administration to go to Ivy Tech was unexpected," said Drew Anderson, communications director for the Indiana Democrats. "By showing Lt. Governor Ellspermann the door now, Mike Pence is doubling down on an out of touch ideology which threw Indiana into a $250 million economic panic and caused the state to have its ‘Hoosier Hospitality’ reputation placed in jeopardy. And as Hoosiers prepare for what will be RFRA 2.0, the lone moderate voice in the Pence Administration is being shooed away. Ellspermann’s departure is not coincidence, it’s Mike Pence once again choosing to play political games to save his career rather than solving today’s problems for everyday Hoosiers.”