TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Hoosier Republican Governor Eric Holcomb addressed the state Tuesday night. In his second State of the State Address, the governor touched on issues including the economy and workforce development, the opioid epidemic and civility.
WTHI invited a small focus group to watch the speech and then offer their thoughts on Governor Holcomb's address. You will hear more from them on specific issues in the coming days.
It was no surprise to the focus group, and many others, Holcomb focused heavily on economic issues. Nearly half the address focused in some way on the state economy or workforce development.
He touted Indiana's AAA rating and the two billion dollars in the state's savings account. He went on to say the greatest challenge facing Hoosiers is a lack of education preparing them for future jobs.
Governor Holcomb outlined a list of goals to get people to work:
"More than 700,000 Hoosiers started college but didn’t finish, and many of them would like to go back and get a degree. Our goal this year is to enroll 25,000 more of them in programs that help them do just that."
"Another 475,000 Hoosier adults don’t have a high school diploma. Our goal this year is to help 30,000 of them obtain the education and skills they need to get a better job."
"We’ll also establish a state work-based learning and apprenticeship office that will increase the number of these opportunities from 12,500 to 25,000 by the end of 2019, moving Indiana into the top five in the country."
"On the employer side, by the end of this year, we’ll engage 250 companies to train and hire employees through our Employer Training Grant Program."
"And, we won’t forget the 27,000 Hoosiers in our prison system. By 2020, we’ll graduate at least 1,000 inmates annually in certificate programs that will lead to good jobs when they get out."
The governor transitioned from the health of the economy to the health of the people and the growing opioid epidemic. Holcomb says he has a "balanced approach" highlighting steps to improve treatment, prevention and enforcement.
He presented four points. The first is requiring doctors use a statewide drug monitoring system. Second, he wants to increase the number of opioid treatment locations from 18 to 27 statewide. He says the state must improve it's recording of overdose deaths and strengthen enforcement efforts.
"If you deal or manufacture illegal drugs that result in someone's death, you will be charged with our highest-level felony and you will go to prison for a long, long time."
Holcomb touched on issues dealing with infant mortality rates, the Indiana Department of Child Services and civility. Missing from the address was any talk of cbd oil, Sunday alcohol sales or issues involving mental illness.
To read Governor Eric Holcomb's speech, click here.
To read responses to the speech, click here.