Lt. Gov. Davis on the ‘Right Track’
Republican gubernatorial candidate Mitch Daniels may have a big RV that he travels around in, but Indiana’s Lt. Gov. Kathy Davis has one, too. She arrived in Corydon Sunday evening with her family in ‘the Right Track Van’ for a Democrat rally at Harrison County Fairgrounds in Corydon.
An hour later, they headed for Indiana University Southeast in New Albany to see her running mate, Gov. Joe Kernan, take on Daniels and Libertarian candidate Kenn Gividen of Columbus in a televised debate.
Stepping out of the van with her were her husband, John, their daughter, Mollie, 9, former Indiana First Lady Judy O’Bannon of Corydon and State Sen. Richard Young, D-Milltown, who had spent the day campaigning with Davis.
Harrison County Democrat Central Committee Chair Steve Haggard was master of ceremonies. Before the main guests arrived, Haggard introduced all the local Democrat candidates and State Rep. Paul Robertson, D-Depauw, who told the party faithful about Kathy Davis’s accomplishments, as did O’Bannon and Young.
Young said the Kernan-Davis team reflect Hoosier ‘family values and true leadership to keep us on the right track in Indiana.’
Standing on Councilman Carl (Buck) Mathes’s auction trailer with her granddaughter, Elle, 3, Judy O’Bannon said it was good to be with the next generation of Democrats. As the person in charge of agriculture, tourism and economic development throughout the state, she said, the lieutenant governor has ‘real responsibility.’ She ought to know. Her husband, the late Frank O’Bannon, was lieutenant governor for eight years under Evan Bayh, before becoming governor for seven years, and O’Bannon and Kernan had a real good ‘everyday working partnership’ all that time, Judy O’Bannon said.
Now the job includes security and counterterrorism.
She said Joe Kernan knows how important the job is, so he chose someone with impeccable organizational and analytical credentials: Katherine L. Davis, who earned a degree in mechanical engineering from MIT and a master’s of business administration from Harvard. She has held high posts at Cummins Engine Co. and the Indiana Dept. of Transportation. From 1995 to 1997 she was state budget director. In 1997 she was named administrator of Indiana Family and Social Services. She had a $4 billion budget and 11,000 employees. In 1999 she turned her attend to starting up the Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, and for the four years before Kernan asked her to be his running mate, she was comptroller of the City of Indianapolis for Mayor Bart Peterson.
She’s the first woman to be lieutenant governor in Indiana.
This year alone, Davis said she and Kernan are dramatically overhauling and streamlining state government from top to bottom to make it more efficient for its ‘customers, the people of Indiana.’ The number of state agencies could be reduced by one-third.
With only two weeks left before the election, Davis encouraged everyone to vote and take their family and friends to the polls if necessary. ‘It could be a very close election,’ she said.
She said she and Kernan want to put the state in a competitive position in a global economy. Indiana was the only state to restructure its tax property tax system in an effort to make taxes more fair, during a time of recession. And they have been trying hard to infuse the economy with high-tech jobs and businesses. She said Indiana is one of the best states in producing jobs and attracting investment dollars. Davis said she will create a Hoosier health plan so small businesses can pool their resources to secure low cost health insurance for their employees and elderly citizens can afford prescription medicine. She and Kernan have promised to make voluntary full-day kindergarten a reality throughout Indiana. They will change the contract process so more Indiana businesses will have the opportunity to do business with the state.
She vowed that every man and woman returning home from the military would get their jobs back intact plus full educational benefits.