I never thought I would live to see the day that I would have to reference an Ice Cube film in order to make my point that folks need to chill out when it comes to criticism that Governor Mike Pence isn’t moving fast enough.
For those of you over 40 and melanin-challenged, Ice Cube is a rapper-turned-actor. He was a hard core “gangster rapper” in his early career and later changed his image somewhat as he got older. Part of that transformation was starring in the film “Are We There Yet.”
The plot was really simple – make that simplistic. Ice Cube plays a bachelor who is dating a single mom. When the mom’s job conflicts with travel plans, Ice agrees to take the kids on the road and meet up with her later. While on the road, a series of madcap hilarity (sarcasm) ensues. And in the end, all’s well that ends well.
I couldn’t help but think of that film as the chorus of critics began to rise regarding Gov. Mike Pence. House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath offered an end of first quarter assessment of the governor’s performance for the legislative session, saying he was squandering time and not moving fast enough to create jobs. A number of my fellow pundits and analysts have echoed those comments, saying Pence was doing more wandering than taking Indiana anywhere.
With all due respect to my friends and political colleagues, relax people! The man hasn’t even been in office a month yet. I’m not sure what exactly it is people want the governor to have accomplished 23 days into the job, but if you take a look at his record, he’s not off to a bad start. When you break down his “Roadmap for Indiana,” more than 60 percent of the governor’s agenda has found a home in a House or Senate bill, executive order or the governor’s proposed budget.
On the jobs front, Pence has made 12 jobs announcements, presided over two ribbon cuttings, and by the time this goes to print, six economic development roundtables. And by the way, those 12 jobs announcements equal about 1,054 projected new jobs and nearly $100 million in new investment in Indiana.
And please note: On any given day Pence is out making the case for his income tax cut to Hoosiers outside of Indianapolis.
So once again, what more do people want the governor to do? I know for a lot of people there is a comparison to former Gov. Mitch Daniels, who came in like gangbusters and literally rewrote the book on state government operations. However, Mike Pence is not Mitch Daniels and 2013 is not 2005. Indiana is not on the verge of bankruptcy with a bloated state government that is the laughing stock of the nation.
Instead Indiana has become a model for the nation. If you don’t think so, why did Michigan pass right to work? Why is Ohio looking at cutting taxes? And why in the past couple years have 21 Illinois companies made plans to move all or parts of their operations to Indiana, accounting for 1,870 new jobs and more than $320.9 million in capital investment?
It would be one thing if we were halfway through Pence’s term and Indiana was pretty stagnant. But give the man at least a month. Or – if I can use the roadmap as part of the analogy – can we at least get out of the driveway before we start complaining about the driver?