Indiana House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-9) says Governor Mike Pence’s State of the State Address Tuesday night offered "no prescription for building our economic future." Pelath also took aim at plans by House Republicans to pay for major road and bridge improvements through measures including an increase in the state’s gas and cigarette taxes. He says the Democratic agenda calls for "every penny you pay at the pump (to) go toward fixing our roads and bridges." Pelath also commented on the way the governor handled the ongoing civil rights debate.
He also said median household and individual income in Indiana remains below the national average. "Even if you choose to believe the governor’s absurdly inflated job creation numbers – which I seriously doubt anyone does – then you cannot ignore the fact that so many of the jobs that are being created aren’t paying people anything."
Pelath wrapped his remarks by discussing education and whether the state should write protections for sexual preference and gender identity into state law.
If you maintain that Indiana’s teachers are the unsung heroes of our state, it works only if you conveniently forget that many of the people offering praise now have spent years demonizing those same teachers. This decade, continued experiments have driven good educators away.
Indiana House Democrats believe the time for experimenting on our schools is over. It’s time to take a deep breath for a bit, and start thinking of better ways to do this job. A good place to start would be ditching ISTEP and finding a new way to grade progress… perhaps by letting teachers do their jobs.
And if you think that washing your hands of legislation to end discrimination shows Solomonic wisdom, I think you are avoiding a mess you helped create for our state. There is a simple answer: add four words and a comma to Indiana’s civil rights statute to protect Hoosiers for their sexual orientation and gender identity, and the problem goes away.
Indiana House Democrats stand ready to help in improving our economy, our schools and our state’s reputation. It would have been nice for our chief executive to show more leadership on these issues than he did tonight.
You can connect to more about Governor Mike Pence’s 2016 State of the State Address by clicking here.