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Governor’s Q&A highlights Lincoln Day Dinner

Gov. Eric Holcomb spent much of Friday in Indianapolis, performing duties that included signing Senate Enrolled Act 139 into law (SEA 139 requires coroners to forward test results of the deceased of INSPECT, the state’s prescription monitoring program, to the state department of health) and House Enrolled Act 1007, which will increase Indiana’s opioid treatment facilities by up to nine; however, he was able to take in one of his favorite ice cream shops, Emery’s in Corydon, before attending Harrison County’s 79th annual Lincoln Day Dinner that evening.
Rather than the usual platform of speaking from a podium, Holcomb sat down for a question-and-answer session with Scott Fluhr, chairman of the county’s Republican party.
‘What’s more Hoosier than sitting on the bleachers,’ Holcomb quipped at the pair took their spots in the St. John’s Lutheran School gym.
Fluhr started off by asking the governor to describe a typical day.
‘You never know what’s going to happen,’ Holcomb said, adding that he was raised by his mother to be a busy boy. ‘This job is busy.’
In response to being asked about the recent legislative session, Holcomb said Hoosiers should never accept where they are.
‘Go to the ball; don’t wait for it to come to us,’ he said.
And while this was known as a short session, because it was a non-budget year, Holcomb said, ‘There was nothing short about it.’
While talking about the pillars of his Next Level agenda, the governor said he ‘wakes up every single day’ and strives to do the right thing for Hoosiers.
Those pillars are: to cultivate a strong and diverse economy by growing Indiana as a magnet for jobs; to create a 20-year plan to fund roads and bridges; to develop a 21st century skilled and ready workforce; to attack the drug epidemic; and to deliver great government service.
‘We can’t take our eyes off the people,’ he said.
With regard to making schools safer, Holcomb said it’s about where the money that is provided goes and how the schools work with law enforcement.
Asked why Washington doesn’t work, Holcomb replied it takes ‘folks who are transparent about what they want. And to young Republicans who aspire to hold office one day, Holcomb recommended they learn all the jobs involved, starting from the ground up, such as putting out yard signs, to find out what they really enjoy.
‘Never settle; don’t be afraid to fail,’ he said. ‘Fear of failure holds a lot of people back.’
Speaking from his own personal experience in the political arena, Holcomb said, ‘One day you may be putting out yard signs and the next day you may be running for governor in 100 days.’
Less serious questions included ‘How’s the first lady?’ (Calling her a well-rounded individual who puts up him, Holcomb said she just finished sniper school.) and inquiring about the couple’s dog, Henry, who has his own Facebook page, was recently invited to a wedding (the governor was not invited, he said) and gives interviews.
During his remarks, Fluhr said the local Republican party is growing, faces new challenges and has a record-number of contested races in the primary this year.
He presented the annual Chairman’s Award to Maryland Austin Scharf, a former precinct committeewoman, deputy prosecutor and county court judge.
‘She fought in the trenches for years when no Republican was winning and in years when virtually every Republican won,’ he said. ‘She has been an invaluable source of advice and wisdom to many of the party’s candidates and leaders for many years.’
The Harrison County Republican of the Year award was presented to Gary Davis, who has served 16 of the last 20 years on the county council, including 14 of those as chairman.
Fluhr said the impact Davis has had on the party as well as the county couldn’t be overstated.
‘Many of the very processes by which our county government operates, especially our county council, were crafted by him,’ he said. ‘ … a constant has been his steady hand on the fiscal tiller of our county and his keen eye for detail in being a conservative steward of public funds. No one dares come into a county council meeting without their facts and figures. And, if they do, they never make that mistake a second time.’
Fluhr referred to Davis as ‘a friend, mentor and sometimes debating partner’ of Republican council members and other elected officials.
‘When he leaves the council at the end of this year, the council members he has mentored and served with these past years will continue the tradition he has established of good, conservative government,’ Fluhr said. ‘His legacy will endure even after he departs the council on Dec. 31. Even so, we will all miss him just the same.’
Others participating in the program were Emily Stumler, who played the national anthem; Davis, who led the pledge of allegiance; Herb Schneider, who led a moment of silence; Donnie J. Hussung, who gave the invocation; and Charlie Crawford, who gave the benediction.