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INDIANAPOLIS (June 18, 2015) – Governor Mike Pence announced he will run for re-election in a speech at the GOP’s spring dinner Thursday evening.

Pence started the speech by saying, “Welcome to day one of our march to victory in 2016.”

The governor also addressed the controversy over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, claiming some responsibility for the backlash that ensued.

“Hoosier hospitality came under attack, and let me say from my heart, as your governor, I bear some responsibility for that. ” said Pence. “Indiana won’t tolerate discrimination against anyone- it violates who we are.”

Gov. Pence also laid out broad themes for the 2016 campaign, focusing on his accomplishments in building the state’s economy.

“I have a vision with the best trained workforce in America and better health and quality of life for every Hoosier in every corner of this state,” said Pence. “Our past is behind us. The future is before us.”

Pence promised a tough fight, and said he would not be afraid to take on his opponents if they came after him with negative ads in next year’s campaign.

Indiana Democrats were quick to pounce on the governor’s address.

Party chairman John Zody released the following statement after Pence’s speech Thursday:

“There were no surprises with Governor Pence’s announcement tonight. In a closed-door fundraiser surrounded by the people closest to his campaign wallet, Pence announced his re-election campaign and his plan to continue his arrogant, old-fashioned agenda that picks and chooses who succeeds in the Hoosier State. From expanding the wage gap to cutting opportunities for struggling schools and from causing an economic panic in our state to taking two years to embrace healthcare for Hoosiers, Indiana families are falling behind the rest of the nation. If yesterday’s Republican poll showing a majority of Hoosiers want a new governor wasn’t enough, the evidence is clear that Indiana can do better than Mike Pence. The direction Indiana is going must change, and Hoosier Democrats will be the problem solvers who fight for hardworking families and work across the aisle to bring commonsense ideas that will unite, include, and improve the lives of all Hoosiers with a vision to carry Indiana into the future.”