(Carmel, Ind.) - Democrats are accusing gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence of pushing a social agenda as part of the Republican’s latest policy announcement.
Pence released a new aspect of his “Roadmap for Indiana” during a campaign stop in Indianapolis Tuesday. The plan puts family at the center of the state’s fight against poverty.
"The family is the underpinning of a child's success in life," said Pence. "To change the sad fact that one out of every five children in Indiana lives in poverty, we have to recognize and support the role of the family. Strong families will mean a strong economy."
Pence said his proposal will make the “success equation” – which includes graduating high school, going to work or college full-time, and getting married before having children – the basis of his strategy. Indiana would be the first U.S. state to take such a step, Pence said.
Under Pence’s plan, state agencies will be required to provide a “family impact statement” on any new rules or regulations they propose, similar to a cost-benefit analysis which is currently required in state proposals.
Democrat gubernatorial candidate John Gregg’s campaign spokesperson Daniel Altman said Pence should focus on job creation, not social engineering.
"Why on earth are we talking about the state promoting marriage when unemployment is over eight percent? Hoosier families come in all shapes and sizes, and our next Governor needs to be a Governor for them all, not just those that fit in Congressman Pence's social agenda," he said.
Democrat lieutenant governor candidate State Sen. Vi Simpson called on Pence, a current Indiana 6th District U.S. Congressman, to focus on his current job. The Farm Bill expires within the next two weeks unless Congress votes to extend it.
”Instead of working to find a compromise, Congressman Pence is busy announcing new plans to force his social agenda on the rest of us,” Simpson said. “Hoosiers don’t want a government that meddles in their personal lives. They want a Governor who will focus on creating jobs and strengthening the economy and one who values our agricultural community. Most importantly, they want a Governor who does the job he was hired to do instead of one who is just trying to win the next election.”
Another aspect of Pence’s “Roadmap” plan unveiled Tuesday would seek to expand Indiana's school voucher program for adopted children and foster families.
In addition, Pence called for continuing the progress that has been made at the Indiana Department of Child Services. He would create a task force to improve inter-agency and state-local coordination of child services and to address any issues with the DCS hotline.