Gov. Eric Holcomb delivers his second State of the State address at the Indiana State Building Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. Holcomb focused on continuing his five-year pillar plan. Andrew Smith, DN
Gov. Holcomb delivers second State of the State Address
Gov. Eric Holcomb gave his second State of the State Address Tuesday, where he outlined his goals and plans for the state in 2018.
Holcomb said his focus for the year can be summed up in three words — "people, people, people."
His address outlined four key areas to help improve the quality of the state in 2018. Those areas are:
Holcomb said Indiana ranks best in the Midwest and top five in the nation for doing business. He also stated that Indiana is top two in the nation in terms of cost of living.
Holcomb plans to create 35,000 new job commitments in 2018 by making business commitments that will open the door to new job opportunities.
Holcomb said training workers and filling jobs is the "defining issue of the decade" and set several goals for the next several years:
- Open the 10,000 lane miles of pavement that will be resurfaced on Section 5 — a 21-mile stretch on State Route 37 extending from Bloomington, Indiana to Martinsville, Indiana — of I-69 in August
- Repair or replace 1,300 bridges over the next five years
- Complete “due diligence” to add a fourth water port in Southeastern Indiana
- Add more direct flights to South Bend, Fort Wayne and Evansville
“Keeping our economy humming requires that we continue to maintain and build up, and out, our infrastructure,” Holcomb said. “Right now we have 85,000 jobs in Indiana unfilled because employers can’t find the people equipped with the skills they need."
Education and workforce related goals
- Enroll 25,000 more Hoosiers into college to finish a degree that they did not finish the first time in college
- Help 30,000 of the 475,000 Hoosier adults who don’t have a high school diploma get education and skills in order to get a better job
- Establish a state work-based learning and apprenticeship office to increase opportunities from 12,000 to 25,000 by the end of 2019
- Engage with 250 companies to train and hire employees through the Employer Training Grant Program
- Help at least 1,000 of the 27,000 Hoosiers in prison graduate annually in certificate programs to help them get jobs when upon release
- Enact legislation that would require Indiana’s K-12 schools to offer computer science courses.
“Strengthening our workforce will be one of the most important things we’ve ever undertaken,” Holcomb said. “It’s going to take a long-term commitment and an all-in approach among many stakeholders in every community. It must include multiple key state agencies and departments.”
- Move forward to require physicians in Indiana to use INSPECT (a computer based prescription drug program) before issuing a prescription for opioids
- Increase the number of opioid treatment locations from 18 to 27, making virtually anyone in Indiana less than an hour away from a treatment center
- Strengthen enforcement efforts in terms of drug use
“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 said.
Democrat Sen. Tim Lanane, who represents Muncie and parts of Madison and Delaware counties said Holcomb's address failed to mention "ideas to improve the lives of everyday Hoosiers."
"I did not hear any mention of many of the themes that resonate with people across this state," Lanane said.