Former Democratic Indiana House Speaker John Gregg filed papers Monday to establish an exploratory committee for his gubernatorial campaign. Considered a "big name" for Democrats, he's generating significant buzz as next year's election pool starts to take shape — he joins Congressman Mike Pence and GOP businessman Jim Wallace.
"I hear three main things Hoosiers are interested in. They're first and foremost interested in jobs, they're secondly interested in jobs, and, thirdly, they're interested in jobs."
He runs along party lines in terms of the economy and labor issues, but has set himself apart as pro-gun and pro-life. According to a profile by The Associated Press,
"Neither the extreme left or extreme right may fall in love with me, but I think probably 65, 70, 80 percent of the people will because we're going to guide down the middle of the road, taking ideas from both sides. It's going to be people, not politics. It's going to be people, not ideology."
Taking an optimistic approach to the Republican-dominated General Assembly session this year, he thanked the Right for unifying his party — "I think there's an enthusiasm out there among Democrats," he told reporters.
Gregg served as Speaker from 1996-2002, after ten years already in the House. He's worked as a lawyer in Vincennes, Ind., since 1984, stepping into a partner position in 2005.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Mike Pence has said he'll keep on top of Gov. Daniels' agenda if elected. The Post-Tribune reported Monday that Pence wants to "build on the strong foundation" laid by Daniels and the Republicans, focusing on education and government reform:
“Indiana has come so far in the last six years,” Pence said Monday before his speech at the Porter County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day dinner at Strongbow Inn in Valparaiso.
It is the first time Pence has spoken to a gathering of Republicans since announcing his candidacy May 5 for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.
Pence touted the achievements of outgoing Gov. Mitch Daniels pointing to the fiscal responsibility that erased an $800 million deficit and transformed the state to a AAA bond rating.