UPDATE: Holcomb sworn in as Indiana's 51st governor

UPDATE: Holcomb sworn in as Indiana's 51st governor
  1. UPDATE: Holcomb sworn in as Indiana's 51st governor
    INDIANAPOLIS — Republican Eric Holcomb launched his tenure as the state's 51st governor Monday with an optimistic view of Indiana's past and a realistic assessment of its current and future c…
    Kansas (KS)

INDIANAPOLIS — Republican Eric Holcomb launched his tenure as the state's 51st governor Monday with an optimistic view of Indiana's past and a realistic assessment of its current and future challenges.

He called on Hoosiers to embrace the same pioneer spirit that flourished in its citizens when Indiana became the nation's 19th state in 1816 and continued over the decades to transform a wilderness into a leading hub for agriculture and manufacturing, whose products are today bought and sold the world over.

"What all of these pioneers have in common are the same traits that have been part of our DNA for 200 years: self-reliance, grit, a can-do attitude, a sense of fairness and a spirit of generosity," Holcomb said.

He observed that Hoosiers are inherently humble and prefer not to brag about themselves, but through hard work, utilizing their strengths, playing by the rules and getting the basics right, have built a state where the financial books not only are balanced — there's also a $2 billion surplus.

Holcomb said businesses of all kinds, from high tech to life sciences to orthopedics and hundreds more, have noticed, and Indiana no longer is just competing with its neighbors and coastal states: It's winning.

"In fact, of the 50 industries the Brookings Institute says will drive growth in the 21st century, Indiana is a player in 45 of them," he said. "They're coming to Indiana now, because our costs of living and doing business are low and the quality of our workforce is high."

At the same time, Holcomb said there still are plenty of Hoosiers who feel like they've been left behind. Instead of seeking gainful employment or a comprehensive education, many are turning to drugs to feel better about themselves.

In addition, he noted that Indiana continues losing too many students educated at its world-class universities, leaving companies struggling to find workers with the skills needed to grow their businesses in the Hoosier state.

Holcomb proclaimed that reversing those trends, by becoming the latest generation of pioneers to take Indiana "to the next level," will be his focus every day as governor:

"To make Indiana a place where people thrive. Where they can get a good, fulfilling, well-paid job and a world-class education. Where our kids are well-taken care of. Where we have growing opportunities and the freedom to take advantage of them."

The governor's 19-minute address was enthusiastically received by the estimated 2,000 Hoosiers in the Indiana Farmers Coliseum at the state fairgrounds, including U.S. Vice President-elect Mike Pence and former Govs. Mitch Daniels and Evan Bayh.

Afterward, U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said he's ready to work with Holcomb and will do everything he can to ensure Holcomb is successful as governor, because "when Indiana doe…

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