By Brenda L. Holmes
PLAINFIELD — Michelle Marsh took over as president of the Plainfield Rotary Club this week. During her first meeting she was given the honor of introducing Mike Pence – the governor of Indiana.
“What a way to kick off my year as president,” Marsh said. “It was so great to get the call that Mike wanted to speak to us today.”
Pence visited the club to give members an update on what is going on at the state level as well as to challenge them to be ambassadors for the State of Indiana.
“Plainfield is such an exciting place,” Pence said. “You are blessed with leaders who think out of the box. It is just a dynamic place to be.”
He said he came to encourage leaders in the community that Indiana is strong economically and poised to be a leader in the Midwest.
“I really believe Indiana can lead the Midwest back to economic growth, back to excellence in education, and back to strong families,” he said. “Indiana is leading 42 other states in job growth. We are leaning into the fights and are on the rise.”
He said the forecast is not all positive but that Indiana is holding its own.
“We are the fiscal envy of the country,” Pence said. “Throughout this session this General Assembly and our administration has put the taxpayers first.”
He said legislators put together a budget that “holds a line on spending” and that puts money away for the future.
“It funds excellence in our schools, rewards outstanding teachers, and includes the first new money in a decade for local roads,” Pence said.
He told the audience a story about when he was growing up in Columbus.
“My dad had finally gotten a big office with a big desk,” he said. “I told my dad, ‘You are kind of a big deal.’”
“My dad told me that no matter what was on the door he was just a salesmen,” Pence said. “And I am a lot like my dad. I’m a salesman. My job is to sell Indiana.”
He challenged the club members to make an investment in their community by becoming salesmen. He said there are four factors that need to take place to continue the growth in the state. Those factors are: fiscal stability, keeping tax levels appropriate, investing in infrastructure, and making sure education works for all students.
“We need to make sure our schools work for all our kids by taking historic step toward making career and technical education a priority in every high school in Indiana,” Pence said. “By addressing the skills gap that exists in our state, this General Assembly has put workforce development at the center of economic development in Indiana.”
One way he wants to develop a better educational process is by creating regional works councils to start a dialog about what is going on in the high schools in their area.
“I believe all work is honorable as long as it’s honest,” he said. “Did you know that machinists can make more than $100,000 a year? There are great incomes out there and great jobs out there.”
“Indiana is also the center of innovation,” he said. “Let’s create pathways for more companies to come here.”
He encouraged every person in the audience to become greater salesmen for the state.
“You are the best salesmen we have for Indiana,” Pence said. “Every opportunity you get to tell people our story. Tell them how good it is to run a business in Indiana. You can go back to your offices and e-mail a client and tell them how great it is to live and work in Plainfield.”
He said by challenging Indiana’s business men and women to actively promoting the state, “We’ll see Indiana become strong again.”