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[r29] Column: Session starts, civic engagement fundamental
Start Date: 1/7/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 1/7/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description
Session starts, civic engagement fundamental

The New Year is here, and with it comes many hopes, ambitions, resolutions and opportunities. It is a fresh start as we try to make 2013 even better than 2012. I am excited for what lies ahead for our community as we continue to grow and provide opportunities for our friends, neighbors and colleagues to make Hamilton County that best place to work, go to school and raise a family. These are the same ideals I bring to the Statehouse for the betterment of every county in Indiana.

Session starts on January 7, and there is a lot of work to be done over the next four months. Numerous challenges – and opportunities – face our state’s elected officials who are tasked with crafting a two-year, balanced budget for the state of Indiana. Indiana is on a solid foundation from the fiscal integrity championed by our state’s leaders, putting common sense proposals forward and ensuring financial prudence from Hoosiers’ hard-earned tax dollars. With over $2 billion in the state’s reserve, Indiana is well-positioned to continue to address priorities such as job creation and education. 

These issues are at the forefront of many Hoosiers’ minds as the nation’s economic growth remains sluggish. Indiana has been looked to as a model state for economic development; 256 major companies chose to expand in or relocate to Indiana last year creating more than 27,600 jobs. Driven by companies like Angie’s List, Sugar Creek Packing, Supreme Industries and Sweetwater Sound, Indiana welcomed commitments of $6.41 billion in capital investment. These are not minimum wage jobs as the average hourly wage for the jobs created was $21.77, above the state’s current average hourly wage of $19.74. 

All of this comes on the heels of the manufacturing industry’s expansion in Indiana. While most states continue to lose manufacturing jobs due to cheaper labor costs from overseas competitors, Indiana’s advanced manufacturing sector added over 7,000 jobs. This is still a key economic driver for our state, and from the pro-business policies put forth by the General Assembly and the continued innovation by the private sector, Indiana is happy to be the home of these employers.

We are certainly heading in the right direction, but as I highlighted in other columns, there are still areas that need more attention. Funding early education is a priority of many legislators, including myself, and has gained traction to give our students the best possible start to a successful life. An education that enables Hoosiers to have more opportunities is essential to continued progress. It can open doors that many thought were not possible for them growing up in less privileged areas.

Addressing the skills gaps will also be a major priority to ensure Hoosiers are filling job opportunities in Indiana. The manufacturing industry needs more qualified workers to fill the Baby Boomers exit from the workforce. Careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are in high demand as there are currently 2.4 STEM jobs for every unemployed person in Indiana. With unemployment hovering around 8 percent, we need to address these areas of concern by making training, certifications and advanced degrees more accessible and tailored to our state’s needs.

All of these issues will be discussed this session and have been brought forth by Hoosier business owners, homemakers, engineers, teachers, neighbors and friends. Your continued engagement in state government is fundamental to the efficiency and effectiveness of the democratic process. I have mailed a pre-session survey to residents of District 29 that highlights a lot of these major points. An online option of the pre-session survey is also available on my website – www.in.gov/h29. Please only fill out one of the survey options. I greatly valuable your input on these questions and any other issues that impact your families. 

I will be sure to keep you up-to-date on everything related to our community and the Statehouse. I am eager to start a new session and work with all our new members with their new ideas and energy.

-30-

State Representative Kathy Richardson (R-Noblesville)
Contact Information:
Name: Nicholas Goodwin
Phone: 3172329831
Email: ngoodwin@iga.in.gov
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