Young running for governor
State Senate Minority Leader Richard Young, D-Milltown, announced Monday he will run for Indiana governor in 2008.
Young, who has served as state senator for nearly two decades and as minority leader since 1996, is the first to announce his candidacy for the governor’s race.
‘It’s something I’ve had people urging me to do for some time,’ Young said yesterday morning.
Young said plans are underway to form a committee and a Web site to aid him in the gubernatorial race.
State Rep. Paul Robertson, D-Depauw, said he heard of Young’s announcement to run for governor yesterday and was surprised.
‘When you run for office, you have to start early, which he has, and work hard, and I believe the senator will,’ Robertson said yesterday afternoon.
Young, 63, is no newcomer to state politics. He got his start in state government when he was appointed to Senate District 47 in 1988 to fulfill an unexpired term of then-Sen. Frank O’Bannon. He has since been reelected four times ‘ in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006.
Young said the governor’s race will be challenging but he believes he is experienced for the job.
‘I worked closely with Gov. O’Bannon and then with Gov. Kernan,’ he said, adding he has worked under four governors.
Young said one of his biggest assets is that he knows how government works. Young worked in local government when he previously served as Crawford County auditor and then became knowledgeable in state government working as a state senator the past 18 years.
Young has also served as president and co-owner of E&S distributors and owns Blue River Valley Farms in Milltown.
‘As a farmer here in Indiana, I know how to work hard,’ he said.
Young said one of the biggest challenges in the gubernatorial race will be to raise enough funds, as well as the time and physical constraints of running such a race.
‘That’s something I’ve struggled with for some months,’ he said.
Young said he has heard that a race of this magnitude would cost more than $15 million.
‘I’m a working-class person, so it’s going to take a lot of people working for me,’ he said, with a lot of help raising the funds for the campaign.
He also said building a strong name recognition will be another hurdle he will have to cross.
‘I’m still not well known over the state,’ Young said.
Young, who has served as minority leader for 10 years, is well known in state politics but is not a household name in the northern Hoosier counties. His current senate district includes only six of Indiana’s 92 counties. Those counties are Harrison, Crawford, Spencer and Perry counties and portions of Dubois, Warrick and Washington counties.
Robertson said raising money will be the major obstacle the senator will face. He said raising adequate funding helps gain the name recognition one needs to run a strong race.
‘He’ll have to get his name out, and that will take a great deal of money,’ Robertson said.
Robertson said the election is two years away, so it’s still very early.
‘He’s been in uphill battles before, and I think he will surprise people with his tenacity and his hard work ethic,’ Robertson said.
Young seems confident his views on government will be welcomed by Hoosiers throughout the state. He said he believes the best government officials are those who are consensus seekers and who bring people together, and that style of government is the one that is most effective.
‘I think when you’re in public service, you have an obligation to do the best you can,’ he said. ‘The people of Indiana deserve the best government elected officials can provide.’
Gov. Mitch Daniels has yet to announce whether he will seek a second term.
Robertson said Daniels has the name recognition and ability to raise a vast amount of funding which will make Daniels a hard candidate to beat.
‘The governor has raised a great deal already,’ Robertson said.
Several other Democrats are also thought to be possible candidates in the 2008 election, including former Lt. Gov. Kathy Davis, former House speaker John Gregg, Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, Fort Wayne Mayor Graham Richard and Sen. Vi Simpson, D-Ellettsville.