Tippecanoe Co. lawmakers respond to State of the State

Local legislators are reacting to Governor Eric Holcomb's 2019 State of the State Address.

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 11:48 PM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 11:50 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Governor Eric Holcomb's State of the State speech highlighted teacher pay and workforce progress while still focusing on his previously announced five key pillars.

He said he wants to take Indiana to the next level in 2019. 

State Rep. Sheila Klinker believes he will with the help of the General Assembly. She was one of the legislators who walked Gov. Holcomb into the House of Representatives chamber to deliver his address. 

"It was a privilege and I'm very pleased to be asked to do that," said Klinker. 

It's not the first time Rep. Klinker walked a governor to his SOTS speech, but she said it's the first time in a while she's heard a governor talk about increasing teacher's pay.

"And I'm hoping that we can carry through with that," said Klinker. 

Gov. Holcomb proposed paying off a pension liability that schools currently pay. He said this would save all local schools $140 million over the next biennium with continued savings in the future. 

"I believe local school districts should allocate 100 percent of the 140 million to increasing teacher pay checks," said Holcomb. 

But for the long-term, Holcomb is creating the Next Level Teacher Pay Commission to identify resources that can be made available to make sure teacher compensation is competitive with neighboring states.

"I think that's great," said State Sen. Ron Alting. "I will be coming out with an amendment with a direct resource for funding to give teachers pay."

State Rep. Chris Campbell would like to see the state do more for schools.

"I'm really not hearing that increase is going to be able to compensate our traditional public schools," said Campbell. 

But all three local legislators were pleased to hear about the Governor's plans to move forward with a hate crime bill.

"He's done a great job in making sure that all Hoosiers are equal in this," said Alting. 

Sen. Alting and Rep. Klinker also support the governor's plans to expand broadband in the state.

"It's definitely a great challenge for those rural areas in Indiana and he is addressing that," said Alting. 

Overall, Holcomb's speech left these legislators feeling optimistic.

"A lot of what he talked about today wasn't about just the past but more so about the future of Indiana and that is a sign of leadership," said Alting. 

For a transcript of Holcomb's State of the State Address, click here. 

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