Democratic candidate for Governor Jennifer McCormick spoke at a meeting of the College Democrats at Ball State. Members of other campus political organizations, such as the College Republicans at Ball State, were also welcomed to join the event at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center Sept. 27.
McCormick was the state superintendent of public instruction from 2017 until 2021, as a Republican. Before running for office, she was a special education teacher, language arts teacher, and school superintendent of Yorktown Community Schools.
After leaving office in 2021, McCormick switched her party affiliation to Democrat.
McCormick said, when she served as state superintendent, her philosophy was that she was there to serve everyone, not just the people she voted into office. She also said she wants to continue her values of bipartisanship and public service into her run for Governor.
“We should be having conversations together,” McCormick said. “If we're going to get things done for Americans, it's going to take a bipartisan, common sense, civil type of approach.”
McCormick focused on the future of education, she said the public leaders who will be elected in Indiana’s 2024 elections could be the lawmakers “who are calling the shots for your kid’s future.”
McCormick said she supports the implementation of universal pre-kindergarten across the state.
“You have no idea the power of poverty in a classroom,” she said. “That should not be seen as an expense, that should be seen as an investment.”
A self-described “firm believer” in public education, McCormick also said there are good private and charter schools as well. She said she believes private and charter schools should have public, transparent and inclusive admission policies before tax dollars fund them. She said she wants a fair playing game between these different type of schools.
A 2022 Indiana Chamber of Commerce report found only 29 percent of 18-year-olds graduate and then stay in Indiana.
McCormick said she wants to look at admissions for state-supported schools and money that they put forth in scholarships. She said that while State Superintendent, she showed her colleagues in the Indiana General Assembly data about brain drain and urging them to invest more in public education.
McCormick said revitalization of local businesses is important in Indiana. She said there are ways to support small business owners, including federal grant money available for small business development the state needs to take advantage of.
McCormick also said students need to “keep the real issues on the radar.” She said her challenge to college students is to get involved and to stay involved.
“We are counting on you to get it right,” she said.
Cosmo Rodriguez, a second-year student, was in attendance. He said he didn’t think he would be able to meet a gubernatorial candidate while he was in college. The second-year student said he appreciated the enthusiasm and confidence that she had, and that he also liked how much care she put into education.
“I am more confident now about her than before this event,” Rodriguez said.
This will be Rodriguez’s first time voting in a gubernatorial election, but he said there is a chance she will become governor.
If McCormick wins the gubernatorial election, she will be the first Democrat in the office since Joseph Kernan in 2005.
Indiana’s primary election is May 7, 2024, and voter registration for the primary ends April 8, 2024.
Contact Grayson Joslin with comments at email@example.com or X @GraysonMJoslin.