The chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based tech company SupplyKick has announced plans to run for the Democratic nomination for governor. Shelbyville native Josh Owens says he will focus on issues such as increasing teacher pay, along with accessibility and affordability of life-long learning for all Hoosiers.
In a news release announcing his gubernatorial bid, teacher pay took the spotlight among the 34-year-old’s priorities, along with adding housing and workplace protections from discrimination for all Hoosiers, including for sexual orientation and gender identity.
"I’m running for Governor now because I believe in an Indiana where teachers are paid what they deserve and where all are welcomed, respected and protected," Owens said. “We need a leader who will ensure our state budget, policies and laws reflect a bold and inclusive vision for collective Hoosier success. Today, many Indiana teachers have to work second jobs and even then, they spend their own money on classroom supplies. As a businessman, I know every Hoosier in the workplace matters, and leadership is required to solve this problem and finally pay them fairly."
Owens says his campaign will also focus on increasing the smoking age and decriminalizing marijuana, as well as requiring stronger background checks for public and private gun purchases.
If he receives the Democratic nomination, Owens would be the first openly gay candidate for Indiana governor. However, he would not be the youngest; Evan Bayh was 32 when he was elected governor and James Ray was 30.
Owens joins former Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Woody Myers in the race for the Democratic nomination. State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary) formed a gubernatorial exploratory committee in June, but has not officially announced his candidacy.