Gov. Holcomb delivers his final State of the State address

INDIANAPOLIS- Governor Eric J. Holcomb delivered his eighth State of the State address on Tuesday, Jan. 9, to a joint convention of the Indiana General Assembly.

The governor renewed his promise to conclude his second term in office with vigor and commitment to finish the job he started. He unveiled The Indiana Model, a pathway to create sustainable, generational change that elevates Indiana to the Next Level. The governor reflected on what’s changed over the last seven years, what’s changing and what still needs to change to build a brighter future for all Hoosiers.

The Indiana Model seeks excellence, rejecting any notion that a Midwestern ‘vowel state’ would be content with mediocrity and instead takes giant leaps rather than baby steps. It hinges on collaboration among the public, private, and philanthropic sectors, between our Administration and the legislature, across all levels of government, and it’s Hoosier-wide in every way,” Gov. Holcomb said.

Gov. Holcomb celebrated Indiana’s momentum by recognizing what’s changed in Indiana since taking office. He bolstered Indiana’s healthy fiscal position by recognizing that the state paid down $4.5 billion of debt and returned $1.5 billion to taxpayers all while maintaining reserves and a AAA credit rating.

“The State of our State is strong, and the rest of the world has taken notice and wants in on it,” Gov. Holcomb said.

The governor pointed to Indiana’s strong workforce and economic development by touting the record-breaking $28.7 billion in committed capital investment in 2023 that brought the state more than $50 billion of investment in two years. Furthermore, he said that rural and mixed-rural counties captured $18.7 billion in capital commitments, resulting in more than 15,000 new jobs in that timeframe.

As an example of our strong corporate and diplomatic partnerships, the governor recognized in the audience Yun Jae Kim, the CEO of StarPlus Energy, the joint venture between Samsung-SDI and Stellantis, which is building two EV battery factories and creating thousands of new jobs in Kokomo. Also, Gov. Holcomb thanked Consul General Yanagi of Japan and Consul General Cohen of Israel and their long-standing relationships with Indiana.

“Consul General Yanagi, our hearts are with your people and our friends affected by the recent tragedies in Japan. And Consul General Cohen, please know we continue to pray for the safety and security of all those living in the Holy Land, and for the prospect of lasting peace,” Gov. Holcomb said.

The governor announced a $250 million Lilly Endowment grant that will support Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) 2.0 projects focused on blight reduction, redevelopment and arts and cultural initiatives. This investment is the single-largest grant in the history of Lilly Endowment, and it’s expected to provide transformational change to all corners of the state.

In promoting a healthier Indiana, Gov. Holcomb will continue to empower counties to pursue actions to improve Hoosier Health.

Our Health First Indiana program is the nation’s most substantial new commitment to public health and will further empower Indiana counties to create tailored actions,” Gov. Holcomb said.

The first $75 million was recently delivered to 86 counties that chose to participate to support the implementation of local initiatives to meet the unique needs of their residents.

The governor acknowledged there is still work to be done in the fight against drug addiction but highlighted the Next Level Recovery Progress Report which shows that drug overdose deaths in Indiana dropped 5% year-over-year in 2022, the first decrease since 2018.

To further support the governor’s commitment to enhancing quality of life for Hoosiers, he committed to complete the following:

  • Plant the one millionth tree on Arbor Day.
  • Build 280 miles of trails across the state.
  • Finish connecting more than 70,000 households and businesses by completing the $320 million in Next Level Broadband investment and then launch a new $800 million federally-backed program.
  • Complete the Final Mile of I-69 that connects Indianapolis to Evansville.
  • Make progress on capital projects including the new archives building, prison in Westville, crime labs, state-of-the-art law enforcement academy and co-locating the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired with the Indiana School for the Deaf.

Gov. Holcomb applauded Lauren Tomkiewicz, who used her voice to make a difference. The widow of Captain Matthew Tomkiewicz of the United States Marine Corp, who lost his life during a NATO training accident in 2022, worked with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to redesign the Gold Star Family Plate to better represent the sacrifices made by those who served.

“It’s the everyday citizens who step up to improve the lives of others that are most essential to the flywheel effect of The Indiana Model,” Gov. Holcomb said.

The governor remarked on his final year in office by committing to deliver on what still needs to change:

  • Improve policies around third grade reading to ensure every child masters the essential skill.
  • Require a computer science class for high school graduation to better prepare students for a digital world.
  • Launch the campaign, One Stop to Start, to build better awareness of Next Level Jobs programs to connect people with high-paying, life-changing jobs.
  • Work with public universities to make more three-year and associate degree options available.
  • Expand our child care workforce to help more working parents.
  • Update the State Disaster Relief Fund to make it easier for communities to access funds.

“My administration will not be a ship in port. We will find constructive answers to any unforeseen challenges that arise when we move from ideas to implementation during times of great transformation. And I will continue to listen as I’ve done for seven years now to any and all partners who share a love for Indiana and believe in our future,” Gov. Holcomb said.

Each year, Indiana’s governor addresses both houses of the state legislature, the state’s Supreme Court justices and other state leaders at the beginning of the legislative session in the State of the State Address. It provides an opportunity for the governor to report on the status of the state’s affairs, highlight key accomplishments of the past year and outline top priorities for the year ahead.

The video and text of Gov. Holcomb’s 2024 State of the State Address can be viewed by clicking HERE.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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