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Updated: Friday, 11 Jan 2013, 8:40 PM EST
Published : Friday, 11 Jan 2013, 4:52 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) - Mike Pence hasn't even taken over as governor yet, but he's already refusing to rule out a run for higher office.
The governor-elect refused to rule out running for president when given the opportunity to do so during an exclusive interview with NewsChannel 15's Mark Mellinger in Indianapolis last week. The exchange from that conversation is below:
Mark Mellinger: "A lot of people suspect that you could use this as a launch pad to run for the White House someday. Will you rule that out here and now and say 'Hey, I'm just not interested ever in running for president?'"
Mike Pence: "You know, Mark, I haven't spent one second thinking about any office other than governor of Indiana for the last year and a half."
Mark: "Yeah, but will you rule out running for president someday? That's what I'm asking."
Pence: "I'm someone who really believes that any success I've enjoyed in my life has been a product of focusing on the task at hand. And I am so intent on doing everything in my power to build a team to promote a set of ideas that are going to get this state moving again, get Hoosiers back to work, get these schools working for all of our kids, that we're just going to continue to stay focused right there and we'll let the future take care of itself."
Mark: "So you're not ruling it out right now?"
Pence: Chuckles and shrugs shoulders, refusing to say anything further.
The interview also covered a wide range of topics as the governor-elect looked forward to the year ahead. Below is a partial transcript:
Mark Mellinger: "How will you make sure Democrats' voices are heard at the Statehouse, and not trampled underfoot when you have super majority Republican status in both chambers?"
Mike Pence: "Right after I raise my right hand on the west front of the State Capitol building, I'm going to walk into my office and breathe a quick prayer for wisdom. Then I'm going to invite the leaders of both political parties into my office to sit down to hear what their priorities are, what their ideas are... My ambition is going to be to communicate to the members of the Indiana state House and state Senate that our door is open, that we think no political party has a corner on good ideas."
Mark: "In what way will your administration be most similar to that of Mitch Daniels? In what way will be it most different?"
Pence: "How it'll be most different I'll leave to people like you to assess, Mark. I'll tell you where it's going to be the same is we're going to continue this state on the pathway of fiscal responsibility, pro-growth policies, and expanding educational opportunities to underprivileged kids."
Mark: "Will that 10 percent personal income tax cut that you ran on become law this year?"
Pence: "Well, that won't be for me to decide. But we're going to carry..."
Mark: "Are you going to push it this year?"
Pence: "Oh, I promise you... The resources are there for us to let Hoosiers keep more of their hard-earned tax dollars."
"About 90 percent of our business enterprises in Indiana file their taxes under the individual income tax rate... The most effective way to cut taxes on job creators and small business owners is to lower the marginal rate on the personal income tax. And when we do that, we'll also make Indiana the lowest-taxed state in the Midwest, which is going to be one more feather in our cap to go tell the story."
Mark: "What's the boldest reform that you'll offer that will most get the attention of companies that could potentially locate in Indiana?"
Pence: "If we lower marginal income tax rates across the board by ten percent, we'll get people talking all over America about Indiana. I also believe that on my first day in office, when I sign a moratorium on any new state regulations and then initiate a full-scale evaluation of all of our red tape in Indiana, that'll send a deafening message around this country that we're going to bring common sense to our regulatory policies in this state."
Mark: "Speaking of regulations, you've said that when new regulations do come, they'll be accompanied by family impact statements. Explain what the family impact statement is and how this will work; how you will determine what factors you look at when you determine what the impact is going to be on families."
Pence: "We wouldn't want any state policy or regulation to inadvertently work against the ability of individuals to succeed in intact, two-parent families... Strong families make strong communities, and so what we want -in a very real sense- is to make sure that Indiana isn't putting any barriers in the way to more of our kids making the decision to get married, to stay married, and to wait to have kids until they get married."
Mark: "Respond to those who think that your definition of a family is too narrow."
Pence: "Let me say that my definition of a family is that families come in all shapes and sizes. My sister's a single mom. My wife was raised for a lot of
her youth by a single mom. Some of the most courageous people in our state are folks that are out there making it happen as single parents... This is really more about simply saying we want to make sure that for those who choose to be married, and to wait to have kids until they are married, we want to make sure there aren't barriers."
Mark: "And you're saying that's the success equation. That's what most people should aim for: you get your high school diploma, you either work full-time or go to college, you get married, then you have kids. That's what's best for Indiana."
Pence: "Yeah, Mark, you used the phrase 'success equation'. That's a term that was coined by a liberal think tank to describe the extraordinary reality that now is embraced by people -intellectual writers and thinkers across the political spectrum in this country- that the more young people who will graduate from high school, who will either go on to school or get a job, and who will wait to have children until after they're married is the most effective way to avoid poverty for our kids."
Pence also wants to broaden Indiana's school voucher program, which is already the country's most expansive. He wants to remove all income restrictions on vouchers for adoptive families, and he wants adopted and foster children to get the most voucher money possible.
Pence also thinks he'll be able to work with the new state superintendent, Democrat Glenda Ritz. Pence said they both share a passion for making career and vocational education a priority in every public high school.
Finally, Pence mentioned a new initiative he plans to launch in the area of higher education, saying he wants to create the Indiana Applied Research Enterprise. His goal is for the new entity to become a vehicle for attracting investment into Indiana in the life sciences industries, which includes the medical device, health, and pharmaceuticals professions.
Pence said similar approaches have been used at universities like Harvard, MIT, and Stanford. A successful enterprise in Indiana, according to Pence, could put Indiana in position to attract tens of millions of dollars to attract the next great life sciences companies.
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