Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence gave a hint Wednesday at what social issues he would push for as governor, while Democrat John Gregg called for a new tax credit he claims would help companies return jobs from overseas.
The Pence campaign issued a "roadmap" Wednesday that included most of the campaign's previous policy announcements and added a few new ones. The campaign said it would improve law enforcement training and help foster families and adopted children get better educations.
The plan also stated that Pence would "promote marriage by requiring a family impact statement for state regulations." Pence spokeswoman Christy Denault said the campaign would explain what that meant in the coming weeks and declined to answer questions about the new proposals.
Family impact statements have a long history on the national stage, stretching from the culture wars of the '90s back to a Senate investigation on the status of the American family led by then-Sen. Walter Mondale in 1973. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan ordered that the executive branch look at whether new rules and regulations "strengthen or erode the family and, particularly, the marital commitment."
Kristi Hamrick, spokeswoman for the Washington-based conservative group American Values, said the goal of the statements was to help lawmakers and regulators see how federal laws and regulations unintentionally rip families apart. Welfare programs and tax laws, for example, discouraged low-income mothers from getting married by giving more money to single mothers, she said.
"It's in the federal government's interest if we live in the context of strong families," she said. Hamrick was unsure exactly how family statements would apply at the state level, but guessed that education would be an obvious choice for assessment.
It would be impossible, however, for government to properly determine personal concepts such as an impact on a marriage, said former Indiana Democratic Party Chairwoman Ann DeLaney. She said that the impact statements of the '90s supported only one narrow definition of family.
It's unnecessary for state leaders to assess family situations, she said. "Most of us who have been in a traditional marriage a lot longer than Mike Pence do not feel like we are under attack," DeLaney said.
The Democratic ticket, Gregg and running mate Vi Simpson, meanwhile spent the morning in Indianapolis talking about job tax credits and creating smaller state contracts they said are needed to help Indiana companies compete for state work against out-of-state contractors.
Gregg proposed covering the employment taxes for each job a company brings back from overseas over the next three years. He also proposed helping Indiana companies transition to supplying renewable energy ventures.
Simpson said the biggest complaint the two have heard from Indiana companies is that they can't compete for large contracts, consisting of smaller contracts bundled together by the state. The work often goes to larger companies from states like Ohio and Illinois, she said.
"If we are serious about job creation — and we are — we need to do everything we can to give Hoosier manufacturers and small businesses a leg up, and then get out of their way," Gregg said in a statement.