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Jennifer McCormick says Indiana ready for something different after 20 years of GOP control

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Government, Politics
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jennifer McCormick served a term as State Superintendent of Public Instruction as a Republican. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Democrat Jennifer McCormick’s main message in the governor’s race is that after 20 years of Republican control, Indiana is ready for a change.

McCormick, who is unopposed in this year’s primary, is the former State Superintendent of Public Instruction, serving in that office as a Republican. And on education, she said there’s been too much policy upheaval under GOP control.

“For a fiscally conservative state, how are we okay with redesigning high school three of the last five years? Because that’s not cheap,” McCormick said. “How are we okay with continuing to change the assessment?”

She also wants to pause expansion of Indiana’s private school voucher program, as all of the Republican candidates want to push further.

“I heard a lot during the debates about how are we going to fix small towns and how are we going to give them more attention,” McCormick said. “Well, let’s talk about their local schools. And when we continue to take money away from them, you continue to strangle them.”

The former Republican state schools chief also said two decades of GOP control have eroded collaboration between the state and local communities. And on issues like reining in spending on the state Medicaid program, McCormick said that coordination will be vital.

“We also need to work with the people who are locally distributing those dollars,” McCormick said. “Because they will tell you — from, I know, a federal and state lens of both those dollars — where there could be some cost savings, where there is waste.”

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McCormick said she also wants to lean on local governments in helping produce solutions for the state’s affordable housing crisis.

“Making sure we’re being smart about it and not just coming in to say, hey, one size fits all, rubber stamp, this is the way it’s going to be — I’m not sure that’s benefitting anybody or solving the problem,” McCormick said.

A Democrat hasn’t won a race for governor in Indiana since 2000.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.