INDIANAPOLIS (June 18, 2015) – Gov. Mike Pence officially announced his plans to run for re-election in 2016 at the GOP spring dinner Thursday night.
The following are the Governor’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery:
Thank you to the love of my life for thirty years this month, Karen Pence.
What a great crowd, what a great night.
It is great to be with my friend, Chairman Jeff Cardwell, Senator Dan Coats, other elected officials and county chairs. And a dear friend and a great American governor, Bill Haslam of Tennessee
Four years ago this month, in announcing my intention to seek this office, I said I was running for governor because I believed Indiana was on the verge of an era of growth and opportunity like no other in my lifetime.
I believed that with the right roadmap, we could increase jobs and investment, improve our schools and workforce and improve the health and well-being of Hoosiers. And though it has not been easy, we have done it.
Swimming upstream against an avalanche of big spending liberal policies, of more taxes, regulation and meddling coming out of Washington, D.C. on everything from education policy to energy.
From our first day in office, we relentlessly pursued the goals in our roadmap.
We have passed two balanced budgets maintaining our AAA bond rating.
We passed the largest state tax cut in Indiana history and froze new regulations.
We invested half a billion dollars in infrastructure while making historic investments in K-12 education. We created the first ever pre-K funding for disadvantaged kids and gave performance bonuses for high-performing teachers.
And we have expanded choices for parents and children and worked to make career and vocational education a priority in every high school in our state again.
We said ‘no’ to a state-based exchange under Obamacare and ended traditional Medicaid by replacing it with healthcare reform built on personal responsibility instead of government mandates and taxes.
And we stood for the sanctity of life without apology.
The results show that unemployment has dropped from over 8 percent to 5.1; Indiana businesses have created 121,600 net new jobs in the past two year; and, our labor force has grown by 64,043.
Major corporations like GE Aviation, Alcoa, Raytheon and GEICO have all chosen our state to grow. With General Motors announcing a $1.2 billion investment in their Fort Wayne Plant just few weeks ago, our policies represent three years in a row of record investment and more than $3 billion this year alone.
Indiana is consistently rated as the best state in the Midwest and top 10 states for business in America.
And, as of today, I am pleased to announce that a goal I set in 2012 has almost come to pass. Because of the hardworking people of this state, and because of the courage and ingenuity of businesses large and small, we are now just 300 jobs shy of the March 2000 record for private sector employment.
Indiana is on the verge of having more Hoosiers going to work than ever before in our state’s history!
And, Indiana continues to lead the nation in education reform and student achievement.
Test scores are up, graduation rates are up, and fourth graders had the second best improvement in math and reading in the nation, and our state is home to the largest school choice program in America.
On healthcare, thousands of underprivileged Hoosiers are choosing to pay for their own health insurance and take greater ownership of their health, for themselves and their families. And, abortion is in decline for the 6th straight year.
Despite all these gains – on the eve of our bicentennial – we still have work to do.
Too many Hoosiers are still looking for work or are underemployed. With more than one hundred thousand kids in underperforming and failing schools; with nearly one million Hoosiers who lack skills, education or training to achieve their full potential in the workforce; with Indiana continuing to lag behind in key health measurements, we have unfinished business in this state.
Challenges that will only be met if we stay strong and stay the course.
To keep Indiana headed in the right direction, to keep Indiana strong and growing, on behalf of my family and working families across this state, tonight, I am announcing my intention to see reelection as your governor in 2016 and I humbly ask of your support.
Some say we need a new direction in Indiana. I say the course we set in 2012 was the right course, focused on jobs schools workforce and quality of life.
And the results speak for themselves.
But make no mistake about it — the task ahead won’t be easy, because the task behind us was not either.
Our opponents and liberal special interests across the country are already lining up. They think they can reverse the progress we’ve made.
One need look no further than two months ago to understand why.
Hoosier Hospitality came under attack, and as governor, I bear some responsibility for that.
Thoughtful debates are always welcome, they are always encouraged, but those seeking to divide us and hurt our people, hurt our state, will not succeed.
Hoosiers see through it.
What all Hoosiers agree on is the importance of freedom. The importance of fairness, of compassion and kindness. I will ensure our state remains true to those ideals but we will not cower to intolerance from any quarter.
Unfortunately, this debate has become about winners and losers. In my eyes, through the lens of our Constitution and our values — we should not pick winners and losers. We should protect freedom. Period. And I look forward to working with anyone to ensure that is always the case.
In Indiana, we won’t tolerate discrimination against anyone. But Hoosiers also know, in the changing tides of popular culture, there must be room for faith.
We will find our way forward as a state that respects the dignity and worth of every individual, and we will ensure that no government intervention, no government coercion will interfere with the freedom of conscience and freedom of religion enshrined in our state and federal constitution.
As much as our opponents want to dwell on the past, elections are about the future and our party must focus on hopes and aspirations of the people of this state.
The truth is, they don’t want to talk about their agenda.
How they want to go back to the tax and spend and budget gimmick policies that were the norm when they were last in charge. About their plans to roll back the very education reforms that have opened doors to disadvantaged kids and do the bidding of public teachers unions instead of parents and kids.
Or how they want to return to a time when Indiana catered to big government liberals in Washington, D.C. instead of charting our own course of fiscal discipline growth and reform.
We’re not going to allow liberals and special interests in Washington, D.C. undo all we’ve accomplished together.
To do this we must be prepared to stand united for common sense leadership that has made our state synonymous with growth and government reform.
As Ronald Reagan said in 1976 “Better than we’ve ever done before, we’ve got to quit talking to each other and about each other and go out and communicate to the world ….the message they’re waiting for…There is no substitute for victory.”
Because make no mistake about it – this is going to be a fight but I’m ready.
As an old aviator once told me, “remember Mike, they only shoot at you when you are over the target.
Because we prove every day that common sense Republican leadership works….that you can balance budgets, cut taxes, invest in roads and schools and promote growth and opportunity with sound Republican principles.
I’m ready to take on those who would misrepresent our record and trash our good state and people to advance their political agendas.
For those expecting a campaign like 2012, they will be disappointed. I have long believed that negative personal attacks have no place in public life and I hope our opponents feel the same way… but elections are about choices and Hoosiers deserve to know the records of those who would lead our state.
If our opponents choose to talk about our record….we will return the favor…. and we will make sure that the choice in this election is clear.
There is a clear choice:
We can continue to move forward into an era of greater prosperity, growth and quality of life based on policies that empower Hoosiers or we can go back to the days of stagnation, deficits and higher taxes.
As Meredith Nicholson wrote in “The Hoosiers” in 1916, “Indiana has always lain near the currents of national life, and her beginnings were joined to the larger fortunes of the national destiny”
One hundred years later, those words seem more true today than ever before.
On the eve of our third century, I have a vision for our state: More prosperous than any time in history, with more Hoosiers going to work than ever before, with schools working for all our kids regardless of where they start in life and regardless of where they want to start in life. The best trained workforce in America. Better health and quality of life for every Hoosier in every corner of this state.
We can advance the health and well being of Hoosiers, especially children born and unborn. And we can take our rightful place as the leading state in the Midwest and a beacon of freedom, inspiring our neighbors and our nation with our fiscal responsibility, pro growth policies, education innovation and government reform.
Our journey to reelection begins today. Our past is behind us. The future before us.
We ask you to join us.
If you love Indiana and believe the people of Indiana can do anything they set out to do, join us.
If you see how far we have come and know we cannot go back to the failed policies of the past, join us.
If you believe we can build an even stronger Indiana for every Hoosier with good jobs, great schools, safe streets and strong families, join us.
Because this is not about me – it’s not even about our party. It’s about Indian. Our future, our economy, our kids, our people. And our example to the nation.
With faith in the hard-working, generous, patriotic people of this great state and their ability to see through the politics of the moment and the machinations of the press to choose sound leadership.
And with faith in He who stood with our pioneer founders as they carved out this home in the woods two centuries ago.
Let’s “Be strong …and have courage to run the race marked out for us…”
Let’s take our case to every Hoosier, in the city and on the farm.
Starting right now. Until we ring in another great victory for all the people of the greatest state in the greatest nation on Earth in 2016
Let’s get to work!