|Governor Eric Holcomb|
First, Holcomb issued a pardon for Keith Cooper for an armed robbery he in all likelihood did not commit. In the midst of evidence that clearly was becoming more and more suspect, he was offered a deal and released from prison in 2006, but the stain of the felony remained on his record leaving him, as many convicted felons do, finding it difficult to resume his life. Eventually, even the deputy prosecutor that prosecuted the case against Cooper was calling for a pardon.
After reviewing the case, Holcomb came to the same conclusion and issued the pardon. Holcomb did not pardon Cooper on a battery conviction which stemmed from an incident with another inmate.
You can read more on Cooper's case, specifically the shoddy way Mike Pence dealt with it, here.
Also on Thursday, Governor Holcomb finally declared a neighborhood built over an old lead-contaminated site in East Chicago as a disaster area allowing the residents there emergency state funds to finally seek other living arrangements and opening up the possibility of federal assistance to the city to demolish the West Calumet neighborhood and decontaminate the site.
Shortly before he left office, Governor Mike Pence had turned down the request of East Chicago to name the old USS Lead site as a disaster area citing the state's response to the disaster.
For the last 12 years, we've had Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence at the helm of Indiana's executive branch. It's been a long time since we've had a Governor have a day like Eric Holcomb did on Thursday. Holcomb used his power in exactly the right way in two very high profile cases, and you get the feeling that he did it without regard to politics or how his base would perceive him.
Holcomb looked at the facts and came down on the side of compassion. My dad always used the quote, "Compassion is not a sign of weakness." This is an example.
As a member of Governor Holcomb's loyal opposition, I can only ask that he not forget that he governs all Hoosiers. We ask him for fairness and judiciousness. I'm sure that we will disagree on much in the future, but his actions on Thursday should give all Hoosiers hope that there is a Governor in place that will finally listen to all sides and make decisions based on what is right.