INDIANAPOLIS – The three men vying for governor of Indiana are facing off Tuesday in the second and final virtual debate.
Incumbent Gov. Eric Holcomb will go against Democrat Doctor Woody Myers and Libertarian Donald Rainwater.
The hour-long debate kicks off at 7 p.m.
The candidates and the moderator will be onsite but in separate rooms due to COVID-19 concerns.
The questions were submitted by the public and then selected by members of the Indiana Debate Commission. The candidates will be given an opportunity to discuss their stance on a variety of different topics.
In the past debate, Holcomb took on the conservative criticism over his coronavirus pandemic orders. He said his actions were needed during a public health emergency.
“Our individual liberty needs to be guarded. When that liberty or those actions infringe on someone else, that’s where we have to take a look at the public safety. It’s just like a seat belt, fire codes, we’re in an emergency,” Holcomb said.
But Myers, a physician and former state health commissioner, says Holcomb has been too passive in the state’s recent response.
“It’s government’s job to lead. Public safety will always be first. We need a real mask mandate in Indiana. A mask mandate with consequences for the Hoosiers who choose not to protect themselves and protect others,” Myers said.
Rainwater, on the other hand, argued almost the opposite, saying that Holcomb’s action exceeded the constitution’s intent and infringed on individual liberty.
“This is a virus and you can only do what is best for you to protect yourself. The reality is the one thing we do know is the constitution is there to protect our individual liberties and make those choices for ourselves,” Rainwater said.
They also discussed education and taxes. Both Rainwater and Myers saying how they would handle the state’s taxes differently.
“Perhaps Gov. Holcomb has forgotten that the one percent is on your assessed value and they can come out and reassess your property ever year which means your taxes still go up and seniors are suffering because of that,” Rainwater said.
“As your governor we’ll take a look at the revenue sources and will prioritize the expenditures that give us the most opportunity to improve public safety and well make sure we are efficient in how we manage the government,” Myers said.
Holcomb argued he’s protected public schools from funding cuts for this school year despite big drops in state tax revenue during the pandemic.
“It’s easy to talk about doing away with something but you need to have a plan to replace it or citizens will suffer,” he said.
Holcomb also maintained that Indiana’s economy is strong and bouncing back quickly.
Each candidate was also asked what he would do in regards to funding for education and teacher pay.
Myers said he would make changes and vowed to boost teacher pay.
“It’s like giving a sandwich to a starving person. After 15 years it tastes good it does the job but doesn’t get anywhere close to where we need to be,” Myers said.
Rainwater went in a different direction, saying he would give local school districts more control and let parents choose where they send their children to school.
“We need to make sure it is funded for them as long as the state constitution we are providing common schools,” he said.
Meanwhile, the governor talked about his successes but agreed more work needs to be done.
“Our number one priority in the state over Indiana is making sure we are funding our public school system we are doing that we need to do more in terms of teacher pay,” Holcomb said.
We’ll stream the debate live on our website. It’s scheduled to start at 7 p.m.