|Republican Mike Pence (left), Democrat John Gregg (middle), and Libertarian Rupert Boneham.|
(Zionsville, Ind.) – Indiana Democrat gubernatorial candidate John Gregg went on the offensive in the first debate among the three candidates Wednesday night.
During the event at the Zionsville Performing Arts Center, Gregg spoke about his bipartisan record as a former Speaker of the Indiana House and accused Republican Mike Pence of having a poor attendance record in Congress.
“Congressman, you missed 86 percent of the votes. You’ve never passed a piece of legislation in your 12 years in Congress, and you invoke Governor (Mitch) Daniels name… …Mitch Daniels is a friend of mine, but Mitch Daniels shows up to work every day,” Gregg said.
Pence stayed on point speaking about his record and his Road Map for Indiana Plan. The current U.S. Representative for Indiana’s 6th District did lash at Gregg for his spending habits during his time as Speaker in the Indiana House of Representatives.
“Maybe the reason why you didn’t answer the question on fiscal responsibility is because for five of the six years that you were Speaker of the House, Indiana ran deficits,” Pence claimed.
Gregg pointed out the irony in Pence’s stance that the Republican will keep the state’s budget balanced.
“That is a United States congressman talking to a state legislator about a budget being out of balance. I mean, I’m the one who is supposed to have a sense of humor. That’s funny,” said Gregg.
In a state where job growth has been faster than most others across the country, jobs continue to remain at the forefront of importance to many Hoosier voters. Pence said he will make job creation “job one.”
But, Gregg contended that Pence’s record in Congress shows he is a job killer.
“You didn’t support the auto industry. Two American companies - Chrysler and General Motors. There were 125,000 jobs at stake in the State of Indiana when it came time to loan money to the automobile industry,” Gregg said of Pence’s vote against the auto bailout.
There was a third voice heard in Wednesday’s debate. Former Survivor television show star and Libertarian candidate Rupert Boneham said if Indiana voters want real change, he is it.
“I am not the career politician. I’ve been given fame and fortune. I’m not looking for it,” Bonham said.
Boneham, who stood at the middle podium between his opponents, denounced standardized testing, saying he would do away with the long-established ISTEP test in Indiana’s public schools. The Libertarian would also work to reverse Indiana’s Right to Work Law if elected.
This was the first debate for the three gubernatorial candidates leading up to Election Day, November 6. They will meet twice more on October 17 and 25.