The Herald Bulletin

May 5, 2013

Editorial: Pence not showing he’s in charge

The Herald Bulletin

— When Hoosiers vote, they remind those in the three branches of government who is ultimately in charge of the direction of the state of Indiana.

Some elected officials respect the will of the electorate by making clear statements of their political intents. Other elected officials, well, you can’t be sure where they’re headed.

That’s the case with Gov. Mike Pence. As seen since he took office in January, there has been no spark of public leadership. During the recent legislative session, Republicans Brian Bosma, who is speaker of the House, and David Long, who as Senate president pro tem, controlled the direction, even wisely knocking down Pence’s campaign pledge of reducing personal income taxes by 10 percent. They “compromised” to 5 percent but Pence seemed to care little.

Hoosiers are asking: who is in charge?

Certainly, voters are ultimately in charge but they rely on leadership to chart the course.

In January 2012, a grass-roots group sought a presidential bid for Pence. He smartly backed off. But Hoosiers can’t help but wonder if he is quietly sitting in his office and waiting for another bid. But from all appearances, the Pence name is far from comparisons with GOP stars Paul Ryan, Chris Christie or Jeb Bush. That, of course, may be a good thing but at least with those personalities Americans know their takes on issues.

So far, Hoosiers know Pence is testing state education superintendent Glenda Ritz who has questioned reform efforts by her predecessor. Concerning economic development, there have been few visible initiatives from Pence, except for Senate Bill 465 that sets up local councils to evaluate regional job needs. In turn, schools are to tailor vocational education programs to the needs. But that is a long way from landing additional Indiana jobs.

As the recent Indiana General Assembly wound down, Pence indicated he wouldn’t be adverse to vetoing some bills passed by the Republican-dominated Legislature. But, as if he’s making decisions behind his closed doors, Pence wouldn’t clarify which bills he might veto.

Hoosiers can’t figure Mike Pence out. But then again, it seems he wants it that way.

In summary

Gov. Mike Pence isn’t making it easy for Hoosiers to understand if he has a plan for the state.