INDIANAPOLIS – On Thursday, Gov. Mike Pence will stand alongside other state and city leaders in Indianapolis in what’s billed as an “economic development announcement.”
Pence has worked to make groundbreakings and job announcement a familiar sight during his tenure, as the state continues to see dramatic improvements after the Great Recession.
“We decided to break ranks with much of our neighboring states,” Pence said in an interview last week in Shelbyville, after a jobs announcement there. “We balanced budgets. We brought about education reforms and investments.”
But Pence is far from alone in taking credit for Indiana’s continued job growth.
“And I told you I was going to have your back,” President Barack Obama said earlier this month during a stop in Elkhart.
Obama touted Indiana’s recovery since the recession and his administration’s role in it.
“Communities like Elkhart haven’t been forgotten in my White House,” the president said. “And the results prove our focus has paid off. Elkhart proves it.”
With drastically different approaches and economic policies, who are Indiana voters to believe?
“In a real sense, it’s both of them,” Laura Albright said, a political science professor at the University of Indianapolis. “Everyone’s going to try and take credit when something’s good. No one is going to try and take blame when something’s bad.”
Job creation, and the state’s role in it,’ will be a defining issue in the governor’s race this fall between Pence and Democratic candidate John Gregg.
“The jobs we lose are being replaced, if they’re replaced, by jobs that don’t pay nearly as much,” Gregg recently said.
Earlier this year, a study conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for Wells Fargo and USA TODAY, found two-thirds of Hoosiers believe the state offers a competitive and attractive climate for business.
But fewer residents, 50 percent, believe wages are generally good and competitive as well, according to the study.
“If you already have strong feelings for Republicans or Democrats, you’re likely to attribute blame to the party you don’t like and give credit to the one you do,” Albright said.
Point in case, experts point out, beauty and sometimes job creation is oftentimes in the eye of the beholder.
“Regardless of who you give credit to,” Albright said. “It is nice that we have more jobs and the economy is doing well in our state.”