By Max Bomber
Eric Holcomb was sworn in Thursday as Indiana’s new lieutenant governor.
“The responsibilities of the office I will assume today, now reach into all 92 counties and extend, in fact, far beyond our state borders and our nation’s borders,” said Holcomb during the swearing-in ceremony.
Gov. Mike Pence nominated Holcomb to become the 51st lieutenant governor of Indiana on Wednesday.
Thursday, the Senate and House voted to confirm him. The Senate passed the resolution unanimously, while the House passed the resolution 91-3.
Former Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann stepped down to pursue the chance to be the president of Ivy Tech Community College, but Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, thought Ellspermann was squeezed out for political reasons.
“We replaced her with a political operative. As far as I can tell, his job will be to get the governor re-elected and I don’t think that is the function of our lieutenant governor,” said DeLaney. “I think he is qualified for the job that he is going to preform, which is to be a political operative.”
DeLaney later said that he thinks Holcomb is “intelligent enough” for job if he applies himself.
“I believe Eric Holcomb may be the best prepared person to ever assume the duties of lieutenant governor of the state of Indiana,” said Pence during the swearing-in ceremony.
Pence has known Holcomb for more than 20 years and was his fraternity brother at Hanover College.
Holcomb is a veteran of the United States Navy. He got his start in politics managing successful races for U.S. Congressman John Hostettler and a mayoral race in Vincennes, where he lived at the time.
Holcomb has spent most of his career in public service. He has served as State Chief of Staff to U.S. Sen. Dan Coats. Prior to that role, Holcomb served as Gov. Mitch Daniels’ deputy chief of staff and managed the governor’s 2008 re-election campaign. Holcomb has also served as chairman of the Indiana Republican Party.
Pence said the variety of experience that Eric Holcomb brings to the job gives him a range that makes him unique to help the state and nation.
Under Indiana law, the lieutenant governor is the president of the Indiana Senate and Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. The lieutenant governor also manages six state agencies.
During the swearing-in ceremony Thursday, Holcomb thanked Pence and members of the General Assembly. He said the role of lieutenant governor is all about public service.
“There is no place like home. For me nothing compares to a Pokagon 30 second toboggan run or an evening stroll in New Harmony or the sight of the eighth wonder of the world in West Baden or watching another photo finish in this years 100th running of the greatest spectacle in racing,” said Holcomb.
He said he is eager to spread the word of Indiana’s accomplishments far and wide.
“When I first walked into this building over a decade ago, it was with many others who came and answered a call coupled with a clear sense of purpose. This is yet another equally important call to service,” said Holcomb. ”We were then, as we are now, people purposed and so, by a way of reminder, it’s time to get back to the people’s work.”