FARMERSBURG, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Election day is in less than two weeks; and while thousands of Hoosiers in the Wabash Valley have already cast their ballot, it’s not over yet. Governor candidates are still on the campaign trail hoping to gain voters’ support.
In the race is Republican incumbent Eric Holcomb, Democrat Dr. Woody Myers and Libertarian Donald Rainwater. MyWabashValley.com spoke with each of the candidates about issues concerning area voters.
COVID-19 in Indiana
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 150,000 Hoosiers have been infected, and nearly4,000 have died. In Vigo County, more than 2,600 have been infected and as of Friday, 40 have died.
Governor Holcomb recently moved the state to Stage Five of his “Back on Track Indiana” plan. While capacity limits are no longer required, he says things like masking and social distancing are still in order.
“Well there’s a COVID code as well, and it has to do with spacing and distancing properly and safely,” he said. “And that’s what we’ll continue to focus on is making sure that we’re working with our local partners–mayors, commissioners–all over the state of Indiana. here in the Wabash Valley.”
Rainwater says if it were up to him there would be no shutdowns or mask mandates.
“As far as government mandating a ‘one size fits all’ solution that is supposed to keep us all safe when we can clearly see that it’s not,” Rainwater said. “And then to try and blame people who are not wearing masks for the increase in the virus spreading. There’s no science behind that whatsoever. That’s just scare tactic.”
Myers says Indiana is on the wrong track, so he’d make adjustments.
“Parts of our state should be back at Stage 3,” Myers noted. “The parts of our state that have lower numbers could be at stage four, but we are absolutely at the wrong stage and that’s why our numbers keep going up.”
Job growth in the Wabash Valley
When it comes to keeping talent in the Wabash Valley and raising median income, Holcomb says his goal is continuing to create new jobs, noting that as of now more than 100,000 jobs are available across the state.
“What we have to continue to do is make sure that with any job that is lost that we’re replacing it with one or two or 109,000,” Holcomb said.
Myers believes expanding broadband internet access is a key to drawing in companies and keeping them here.
“It’s a big equalizer,” Myers noted. “If you have great broadband then companies don’t shun you or don’t move away or don’t not consider you because of that.”
Rainwater says maximizing on the Valley’s amentities such as distance to larger cities and access to young talent is needed.
“We need to be able to say ‘look we’re going to create an enviornment where people are going to want to come here,'” Rainwater said. “We don’t need to give them a manufactured financial incentive, especially one that is going to go away in 10 years. and then when someone offers them a new 10 year tax abatement in another state, then they leave.”
Safety on I-70
Police reform and indivual accountability
Civil unrest in many parts of the country has trickled down to Indiana and the Wabash Valley. All three candidates share their views on police reform and individual accountability.
Holcomb said the state is currently reevaluating police policies and procedures.
“Obviously these are shared responsibilities local and state,” Holcomb said. “I think we’ll be known as a state that steps forward and says ‘we’re going to–whether we need to or not–we’re going to re-evaluate. We’re going to evaluate everything that we do in terms of law enforcement. So we’ve brought on a third party, and they will evaluate our training practices of the Indiana law enforcement academy–how we conduct our affairs, how we train our officers.”
Myers wants to see changes to the policies.
“We have to put a ban on any kind of a chokehold or carotid hold that restricts the air flow to the lungs and the bloodflow to the brain,” Myers said. “Remember these are oftentimes people who have not been arrested let alone tried, convicted or sentenced. Yet some law enforcement individuals are using this awful procedure.”
Rainwater wants more individual accountability.
“We have to understand that individuals need to be held accountable and responsible for their acts of aggression,” he noted. “Their violence, they’re issues that they perpetrate and we need to stop trying to overgeneralize and say ‘well it’s this group’s fault or it’s that group’s fault or this group is the problem.’ We have to hold people accountable and we have to hold them accountable in a way that sends a message that this is not acceptable in our society.”