As we get ready to hit the Labor Day mark of the 2012 gubernatorial race, I’ve been watching the candidates a lot more closely than I usually do. I’ve been closely watching their speeches, reviewing their policy positions and vigorously monitoring the Internet to keep track of their comings and goings.
One thing I’ve noticed in this entire process, is how frequently one candidate keeps bringing up social issues.
No, it’s not Republican Mike Pence, but Democrat John Gregg.
In a speech in northwest Indiana, Gregg mentioned the term “social issues” three to four times when referring to Mike Pence. He told the group of small businessmen that this election was about jobs and not social issues.
In his latest commercial, Gregg talks about how voters like those in his hometown don’t want to hear about social issues, but jobs. And in a recent gubernatorial forum at IUPUI, Gregg used his standard social issues line as well.
As much as some of you think that I might be getting ready to take a swipe at Gregg, I am not. He is not totally wrong. Pence has been talking about social issues this entire campaign.
I am not referring to the line he used at Marian University in Indianapolis, where he said he would sign pro-life legislation if the Legislature sent it to him. I am not sure I would have said that, but every proposal Pence has unveiled to date is a giant social issue.
Let me do a quick recap:
- Increasing vocational and career opportunities for high school students.
- Reducing the red tape that Indiana businesses have to go through.
- Improving the quality of life for veterans by creating more job opportunities for them.
- A 10 percent across the board income tax cut for Hoosier taxpayers.
- Revamping the tax structure for Indiana’s agricultural industry.
- Better measuring the impact of federal regulations on Indiana.
- More partnerships with Indiana’s colleges and universities with the private sector to promote innovation and job creation.
- Making college more affordable and getting students through quicker with incentives to finish early.
If you put all the policy initiatives together, they mean more jobs and economic stability in Indiana, which at the end of the day is at the heart of all social issues. More jobs and economic opportunities mean more stable families and fewer people on the government dole. More educational opportunities mean fewer dropouts and more students get a post-secondary education, which means fewer people trying to break into my house and get my stuff.
So I guess, if you think about it, Pence really has been talking about social issues. He’s just been masking the discussion in the form of creating more economic opportunities, improving education, keeping more money in Hoosiers’ pockets, reducing the regulatory burden on small business and implementing policies that help grow strong and stable families and not the government.
If these are “social issues” then sign me up for more of the discussion.