Wednesday, May 11, 2011
John Gregg Continues Statewide Tour
Let me preface this with a disclaimer, this is not an endorsement of John Gregg. I am still undecided on which Democrat I want to be the nominee for Governor in 2012, but I think I will have a very tough decision.
It's not any secret that I am not the biggest fan of moderate Democrats. I find them sometimes to be wishy washy and poll-driven. It took me a long time and a direct conversation with him to come around to Brad Ellsworth's Senate candidacy, and it's going to take the same kind of time and soul searching for me to get my arms around a Joe Donnelly campaign. In that vein, you might think I have the same feelings about a moderate potential Gubernatorial candidate named John Gregg. Would it surprise you to hear that I don't?
John Gregg is not a wishy washy Democrat, and I heard him speak out loudly and proudly about the party he has chosen to represent with distinction as a past Indiana House Speaker. While he and I disagree on many issues, he and I agree on others, and I believe that he will make a tremendous candidate for Governor.
At Monday's Decatur Township Democratic Club meeting, Gregg began his talk with a story. "I'm a storyteller," said Gregg. "Just throw a cup at me if I go on too long." The thing was...he didn't, and he left the assembled Democrats wanting more.
Gregg talked at length about opportunities that Indiana has. He didn't spend a lot of time bashing Republicans. Instead, the Sandborn native talked about what Indiana's government could do to put Hoosiers back to work.
"We are an industrial state," said Gregg. "We have a manufacturing base here because Hoosiers are willing to work hard."
He's right. He listed a number of innovative ideas that we could possibly see a Gregg Administration put forth. One of those ideas was to continue to invest in wind power technology, but, instead of importing the wind turbines from Eastern Europe, use Indiana workers to build them. He also talked about how advances in agriculture could utilize Indiana's fertile soil to advance life forward here. Gregg mentioned more investment in the life sciences and used his own recent hip replacement surgery as an example of what life science investments can do.
Gregg strayed away from the divisive wedge issues. He said that those lead us to division. He noted that Democrats celebrate difference in a party that includes a wide array of political viewpoints. "We are a party that celebrates difference," said Gregg.
He's exactly right. The Democratic Party is a party that does have a big tent. Unfortunately for some, like me, those so-called wedge issues are things we hold near and dear. While Gregg didn't address many of them specifically in the talk to the Decatur Democrats, I have certainly been working the back channels to find out where he stands.
I have found that Gregg is staunchly anti-choice when it comes to abortion. I don't like it, but I can accept that. He admitted his pro-life views in the Decatur talk (to cheers from some in the room). Many of my friends agree with Gregg. With that said, I have talked to many people who tell me the Gregg is right on just about every other social issue important to Democrats. If that is the case, then I could definitely get on board with a conservative Democrat with reasonable views on other social issues.
Gregg said he believes in compromise, and he talked about the two years he served as co-speaker of the Indiana House when there was a 50-50 tie. For everything the Republicans or Democrats wanted, they needed one member of the opposite party to vote for it. I was younger and less involved in politics then, but I can remember that time. The next Democrat to serve as Governor will likely need Gregg's touch to get an agenda done. It only takes 51 votes to overturn the Indiana Governor's veto, so it's going to have to be a get along kind of time or else it's going to be nasty.
We know he can compromise. What's the state of the state right now? The former Speaker said that he had traveled to all corners of the state and that he's convinced that the race is winnable. "Democrats are enthused, and our base is unifying," said Gregg, who added that he's been working Indiana's roads and backroads since January in preparation for a possible run at the Governor's Mansion.
While Gregg said he's not 100 percent ready to announce yet that he would likely be forming an exploratory committee next week.
Nope, John Gregg is not your typical moderate Democrat, but he comes across as a typical Hoosier. That's something that Mike Pence can never do, and that's why Gregg's a dangerous candidate for 2012 should he get the nomination.