State government ‘leaner, cleaner,’ according to Skillman
Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman referred to Indiana’s government as ‘leaner’ and ‘cleaner’ than it was four years ago before Republican Mitch Daniels was elected governor.
Skillman, who spoke for several minutes Saturday at the 69th annual Lincoln Day Banquet, held at Nevin Park north of Corydon, said she ‘relishes opportunities like this to have discussions about the future of the state.’
A former county officeholder in her hometown of Bedford for 16 years then 12 years in the Indiana Senate before she became the state’s 50th lieutenant governor, Skillman talked about the changes Hoosiers have seen since Daniels took office in 2005: a balanced state budget without raising taxes, paying back the state’s debts to school corporations, implementing the Major Moves program that allows for building ‘hundreds of miles of highway’ in Indiana, making health care available to 130,000 additional Hoosiers, creating 65,000 new jobs for Hoosiers with some of those located at ICON Metal Forming in Corydon.
‘I’m most proud that many of the jobs are coming to small rural areas,’ she said.
But, Skillman told the Republicans that they can’t slow down and they must be aggressive.
One concern is jump-starting alternative fuels now that ‘gas prices are well over $3 a gallon,’ she said. ‘We’ve gone from nowhere to leadership in biodiesel. We’re now focused on the next wave of ethanol.’
And with the new health care plan comes the challenge of how to get those in need enrolled in the program, Skillman said.
The lieutenant governor said the ‘defining moment’ for Indiana occurred March 14, when legislators passed ‘the biggest tax cut in the history’ of the state. ‘We had the rare opportunity to solve a major problem this year,’ she said, that will protect future taxes.
She encouraged voters not to ‘swap horses’ this election year. Daniels is unopposed in the primary but will face a Democrat nominee in the fall.
Tony Bennett, superintendent of Greater Clark County Schools, who is running for Superintendent of Public Instruction, spoke briefly. He said he wants ‘to return discipline back to our schools so (students) can learn’ and compete globally.
Scott Fluhr, the Harrison County Republican chairman, said the task at hand, locally, is to regain seats the party lost two years ago. ‘We must hold onto each office we have and gain others,’ he said. ‘We win those back one vote at a time.’
Betty Byrd of Corydon received the Chairman’s Award for her volunteerism with the Republican party.