Indiana’s governor, Eric Holcomb, has served as the 51st Governor of Indiana since January of 2017.
44News Anchor Jessica Hartman sat down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with the governor, to talk about his re-election campaign, medical marijuana, health care, and several other hot topics impacting the Tri-State.
Gov. Holcomb Talks Personal Stories and the 2020 Campaign Trail
“I came to peace a long time ago that I was the third-most-popular person in the Holcomb household – my wife, and even my dog who has this long following-list on social media,” Gov. Holcomb began to share.
“Literally everywhere I go, including foreign countries, people have heard of Henry – or Heinrich if you are in Germany,” the governor continued.
“He doesn’t have a big head, but he knows he is top dog, so to speak, at least in our house,” Gov. Holcomb said laughing. “He is willing to work for food and treats, scratches, and he does fundraisers for charitable causes,” said the governor.
Hartman next asked if Henry the dog would be on the campaign trail with Gov. Holcomb heading into 2020.
“He is kind of a reluctant supporter in terms of the job. But actually, I am sure he will be out there on the trail, sniffing all the way,” said the governor jokingly.
Holcomb says he feels great heading into the election. “Good policy makes good politics,” the Indiana governor said. “We’re in a strong position by everything that we measure. We have challenges ahead like every state in the country, but the comforting thing is we’re moving in the right direction.”
“We set some lofty goals and we’ve got some tough issues, like infant mortality,” Gov. Holcomb explained. “We started to finally watch that infant mortality rate start to decline. But it is not low enough, because it’s not zero. So we still have a ways to go.”
Gov. Holcomb also noted the reduction of opioids around the state of Indiana, explaining that result-based actions have been implemented.
“When we see those work, we say, ‘Okay now, we tried that in Vanderburgh County or in Sullivan or in Vigo County or Allen County. Now let’s go into 19 other counties,'” said Gov. Holcomb. “I think the best thing I can do to run a good campaign is to actually worry about running a good state.”
The Governor on Marijuana and Dealing With Trafficking Across State Lines
“With Kentucky on the verge of legalizing medical marijuana, that puts Indiana with every single border having some form of legalization. How do you manage the trafficking of weed across state lines?” Hartman asked the governor.
“We have a state police force to do just that – We aren’t unique; there are some states out west that haven’t legalized it that have seen traffic increased by states that have,” said Gov. Holcomb.
“Indiana is a law and order state. It is still illegal according to the federal government. Whether or not they are looking the other way or not. It doesn’t mean we get to pick and choose what laws to follow,” said Gov. Holcomb, saying he took an oath to uphold all of the laws put in place by the government.
But Holcomb hasn’t ruled out the possibility of medical marijuana being used by Hoosiers in the future.
“I am sympathetic to the potential good that medical marijuana might provide. If it is in fact a medicine, it needs to go through the same process, the FDA process, that all other medicines go through,” Gov. Holcomb explained.
Gov. Holcomb Speaks on Mine Closures in Indiana
“As we look to the continued closure of mines across the state of Indiana, we have families where this is the largest employer in their community and they are struggling to make it. How do you ensure Hoosier families, mining families aren’t getting left behind as we push towards clean energy?” Hartman asked Gov. Holcomb.
“This is not just a discussion about coal versus gas,” the governor began. “It is a market place decision that is being made in some respect; or wind, or solar. I am more concerned about reliability and cost for the ratepayer, both the homeowner and the business and making sure we do have all the above approach.“
“If a business goes out of business for whatever reason, it is incumbent on us, the Department of Workforce Development, etc. to start to help people get connected to the skills they need to fill another job,” Gov. Holcomb said. “There are about 92,000 unfilled, high-wage, high demand jobs in the state.”
“I Indiana, we have the resource through Ivy Tech, through Vincennes University which is in most Hoosier’s backyards not too far away,” said Gov. Holcomb addressing the need for new job training for some industry workers.
“The state of Indiana will pay for that retraining. If you put the time in, we will pay for the training. You will get a credential or certificate and we will get you back on your feet and headed in the right direction for the future and future demands,” said Gov. Holcomb.
Holcomb Talks Healthcare and How Costs Are Affecting Hoosier Families
“The cost of health care. Whether it be stepping into an emergency room, a doctor’s visit or prescription drugs is crippling Hoosier families,” said Hartman. “They are having to decide between putting food on the table and maybe that lifesaving drug. How does the state step in to regulate the industry? What can you do?”
“We do have a hybrid health care plan here, HIP 2.0 that is primarily targeted for folks that you just described,” responded Governor Holcomb. “It was set up, designed to not be a permanent landing spot for folks’ insurance, but a temporary one. Meaning, once you get attached to permanent insurance then you are off on your way. “
“But also, this may sound simplistic, but also the key is to get those very same folks attached to a skill set that will fill the jobs that are all around them,” continued Gov. Holcomb. “I mentioned that 92,000. Right now, you can go to an ICC App, Indiana Career Connections app, and you can see all 92,000 jobs and where they are, how much they pay, what the prerequisites are before you even interview.“
Governor Holcomb says getting Hoosiers into high-paying jobs will help curb the number of people without proper health care coverage.
Hartman followed that up, by asking, “What about people with conditions like diabetes? The cost of that insulin drug just keeps going up even with insurance.“
“We are putting an emphasis on how can we make sure we are being transparent, that we have a database that shows, what costs, wherein the state of Indiana. replied Gov. Holcom. “That is a step in the right direction.”
However, the Indiana Governor admits the high costs of health care is not an issue that can be solved overnight or one that is unique to Hoosiers.