Pence said he doesn’t mind “standing up to Washington, D.C., from time to time” and pointed to the Affordable Care Act as an example of one of those times.
He promoted the Healthy Indiana Plan, calling it “consumer-driven healthcare that moves people from emergency rooms to primary care and encourages low-income Hoosiers to take more ownership of their own healthcare decisions.”
But it was education that took up the bulk of his speech.
“If we can’t succeed in the classroom, we won’t succeed in the marketplace,” Pence said. “The great news is Indiana schools are succeeding. This year more than 500 public schools improved a full letter grade or more. With nearly 20,000 Choice Scholarships currently in use, Indiana has the fastest growing school choice program in the country.”
He expounded on his proposed voluntary pre-kindergarten program to help Indiana’s low-income children.
Eventually he got around to the elephant in the room: House Joint Resolution 3, the controversial amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.
“We are in the midst of the debate over whether Indiana should join some 30 other states that have enshrined the definition of marriage in their state constitutions,” Pence said. “Each of us has our own perspective on the matter. For my part, I believe in traditional marriage, and I have long held the view that the people, rather than unelected judges, should decide matters of such great consequence to the society. Reasonable people can differ, and there are good people on both sides of this debate. No one, on either side, deserves to be disparaged or maligned because of who they are or what they believe. So let’s have a debate worthy of our people with civility and respect.”
After debating the proposal for years, he said he wanted to see the issue resolved this year “once and for all.”