Opinion and Forefront

HOLCOMB: Party will invest in tech, people, constituencies

March 30, 2013

Eric HolcombQuestion: The Indiana Republican Party has enjoyed a string of election successes. The party holds all but three national offices, all but one statewide office, and has super-majorities in both houses of the General Assembly. Will the party grow complacent or overreach?

Answer: Complacency and overreach are certainly real concerns any time a political party has the type of success the Indiana Republican Party has had in recent election cycles. That success, it’s important to note, has not been confined to just the federal and state level. At the local level, we flipped a Democratic majority of mayor’s offices into a Republican majority in 2011.

Now, all these accomplishments are great, but we must work to avert complacency and avoid overreach to grow our party out—not to simply win elections, but to do the important work once we do.

How we achieve that is by staying engaged and intently listening to the concerns of our fellow Hoosiers and then acting to protect the taxpayer by growing private jobs, paying down debt and right-sizing government.

Look, we learned a really hard lesson about complacency in 2008, when, for the first time in 44 years, our state went blue in the presidential contest. We won’t make that mistake again.

That’s why our team motto this year is “invest and engage.”

This non-election year is the most important in the four-year cycle. This is when we must invest in our infrastructure to prepare for the elections ahead, much like a farmer cultivates the ground before bringing in the harvest.

Our plan is simple on paper, but labor-intensive in practice.

To invest in infrastructure, we will update our technology and upgrade our voting data.

But our most important investment will come in people. We will train more volunteers, arm supporters with facts on how to best win the argument, and make sure that when the time comes to knock on doors and make phone calls, every one of us is ready to bring in the votes to win.

To do this, we must go where we haven’t been in decades—maybe ever. We will visit urban centers, college campuses, every corner of the state. Areas we didn’t bother to visit before just because we assumed there were no votes.

We will introduce ourselves, have a conversation, and make sure it’s not a one-time visit but the beginning of a dialogue.

We will turn what have historically been areas of neglect into assets by recruiting, training and electing the very best, and helping them govern when they get there.

Engagement is not a slogan, but a top priority for the Indiana Republican Party.

We are the party of ideas, the party of upward mobility—for all people—and it is my job to make sure as many people as possible know that simple fact.

My hope is that whether you agree with us on all the issues or not, you know that Republicans in Indiana will not back down on being bold. After all, we brought you vouchers, charters, right-to-work and daylight-saving time. If those don’t make the point, I don’t know what would.

And because we were bold, because we didn’t back down, we brought you a $2 billion surplus, an automatic taxpayer refund, the lowest residential property taxes in the nation, and much, much more.

As we engage and invest this year and next, I guarantee the best is yet to come.•

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Holcomb is chairman of the Indiana Republican Party. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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