Northwest Indiana lawmaker to run for governor in 2016

A state senator from northwest Indiana plans to officially announce Tuesday she plans to run for governor in 2016, saying she offers Indiana voters statewide a new choice.

"Somebody needs to stand for the Democratic, progressive point of view, because in that last election there's almost half the people in the state of Indiana whose voices were not recognized," state Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, told The Times of Munster in a story published Sunday. "I am a clearer choice, and a more progressive choice."

The 10-year state lawmaker, appointed to the Senate in 2005 after her predecessor resigned to become town clerk-treasurer, has since won three four-year terms and is the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee. She said Indiana voters deserve better than a rerun of 2012, when Republican Gov. Mike Pence defeated Democrat John Gregg, a former Indiana House speaker, in a close race.

Gregg announced April 30 he would run again. Pence hasn't announced whether he will run for re-election, saying he would make a decision after the legislative session that just concluded. Pence left Saturday for a weeklong trip to China seeking to try to attract business investment to Indiana. He had been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, but was widely criticized over a religious objections law that critics contended was anti-gay and plans to launch a state-run news site.

Tallian says Indiana residents are embarrassed by what lawmakers in Indianapolis have been doing.

"Everywhere I look there are people that are very angry by what's going on down here, or embarrassed by what's going on down here," Tallian said.

Tallian said she is preparing to roll out her policy agenda in months to come. She said it will closely follow the issues she has worked on in the Senate, especially "finding ways to help middle-class workers, who are losing ground compared to the rest of the nation."

The 64-year-old mother of three said she informally has been reaching out for months to core supporters in organized labor and women's groups, and attending county party fundraising dinners throughout the state.

Tallian said she is not running for governor in hopes of becoming Gregg's lieutenant governor, instead saying he might make a good running mate for her because his experience as speaker of the House would be helpful in the lieutenant governor's role as presiding officer of the Senate.

She said she does not see the office of governor as a stepping-stone position.

"This would be the culmination of a career," she said. "I'm not going to Washington. I don't want to go to Washington. I'm not going to run for president."

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.