Former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg said Tuesday he would focus on rejuvenating the state's manufacturing base if he is elected governor next November.
Gregg said he would attempt to lure wind-turbine manufacturers to the state as part of his strategy to revitalize the state's crumbling manufacturing base.
"We've got to a manufacturing base, we have a workforce that knows how to work in manufacturing, we've got building space," he said. "You have to go out and actively pursue" manufacturers.
The Democratic candidate filed paperwork Tuesday with the state in the race to replace Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, who can't run for a third term because of term limits. Gregg formed an exploratory committee to run for office in May and has informally campaigned across the state since then.
Gregg appears likely to win the May 2012 Democratic primary. He would then face the winner of the Republican primary in the race for governor. U.S. Rep. Mike Pence is heavily favored to win the GOP nomination over Fishers businessman Jim Wallace.
Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb said Gregg's ebullient personality hides a disastrous record as speaker from 1996 to 2002. He noted that Gregg presided over major increases in government spending, though Gregg responded that a Republican-dominated Indiana Senate also approved those budgets.
"John Gregg would light up Leno or Letterman, but his record as former Speaker of the House is no laughing matter," Holcomb said.
Gregg said the governor's race should focus on the future, not the past, and that means job-creation. The state's residents are looking for more of the well-paying manufacturing jobs the state has bled over the last few decades, he said.
Tools for luring wind-turbine component manufacturers to Indiana could include tax credits and speeding approval of state permits, he said.
Pence has said he will not outline specific policies until after the May 2012 Republican primary — on the assumption he wins the contest. He has however generally said he would like to build on Daniels' successes and that he would support bringing more charter schools to the state.
Wallace has said he wants to spend $500 million more on transportation projects, cut $6 billion from the budget and grant more taxing authority to localities.