“I fundamentally believe YOU know how to spend your money better than the government.”

Indiana governor candidate Q&A: Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch on the issues

ORIGINAL ARTICLE FROM: IndyStar

By Kayla Dwyer
January 10, 2024

Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch has her eye on the seat her former running mate, Gov. Eric Holcomb, will vacate in 2025.

She announced her campaign in late 2022, just on the heels of U.S. Sen. Mike Braun. At that point, Fort Wayne businessman Eric Doden was the only other Republican candidate; since then, three more have joined the fray: former Attorney General Curtis Hill, former Commerce Secretary Brad Chambers and Indianapolis mom Jamie Reitenour. Donald Rainwater is running as a Libertarian and former schools Superintendent Jennifer McCormick as a Democrat.

Crouch has a long resume in local and state government, from Vanderburgh County auditor to state representative to state auditor before joining Holcomb’s ticket. As lieutenant governor, she also serves as president of the Senate.

In public appearances, she touts that experience and her many endorsements from public officials in those levels of government from across the state. She has also raised eyebrows, and prompted criticism from her opponents, with her proposal to get rid of the state income tax, which comprises about a third of state revenues.

IndyStar asked Crouch, as well as the seven other candidates, a set of questions about issues relevant to the 2024 race, some of which were submitted by readers. This interview is edited for length and clarity.

 

Q: What do you think sets you apart from your competition in the Republican primary?

A: You put me on a stage with the four men I’m running against, and there’s one obvious difference: I’ve got red glasses. But seriously, no party, Republican or Democrat, has held onto the governor’s office for more than 20 years since World War II. In 2024, Republicans will have had it for 20 years. So if we’re going to hold onto it, we need a different kind of candidate. And when you look at the experience at the local level as a county auditor, county commissioner, and then at the state level as state representative, auditor of state and now lieutenant governor, there’s no comparison.

 

Q: What would be your first priority as governor?

A: One, being able to put money back into Hoosiers’ pockets. I have traveled the state. They’re being crushed by the high cost of living, by inflation and Bidenomics. I was in Winamac and Madison and Valparaiso last week, and everywhere I go people are asking, “How are we going to pay our bills, how are we going to make ends meet?” Being able to look at a policy like eliminating the state income tax, which will put thousands of dollars back into Hoosiers’ pockets every year and also make Indiana more competitive with other states.

The second priority will be absolutely focused on mental illness and addiction, because of the human costs of this pandemic and how it affects families, how it affects our workforce.

That ability to be able to focus on that is extremely important to me for very personal reasons. I was raised by a very loving mother. She was very difficult, but I thought my family was normal and perfect when I was growing up because we all think our families are normal and perfect. It wasn’t until I was a young adult that I realized that my mother struggled with mental illness, that she struggled with depression and anxiety. My brother was an alcoholic and he died last year, drank himself to death. My younger sister Nancy died on her third attempt by suicide. And my husband and I have a daughter, Courtney, who is 16 years sober and bipolar. Hoosiers that have inherited genes that predispose them to these conditions deserve an opportunity to be successful, to be happy, to be healthy.

 

Q: In many ways, today’s Republican Party has factions defined by one’s posture toward Donald Trump. What’s yours?

A: I’m focused on my campaign, quite honestly. The only endorsement I’m thinking is that from Hoosiers. It’s why I’ve gotten all the local endorsements, many, many local endorsements from all over Indiana.

I would support the candidate that can best fight back against Bidenomics and lead our country forward.

 

Q: Do you believe the 2020 election was stolen?

A: In Indiana, no. I’ve run on the ballot many, many times. As a county auditor, county commissioner, state representative, auditor of state, lieutenant governor, I have never felt ― and I’ve actually worked the polls ― I’ve never felt that we’ve had unsafe elections in Indiana. And so I feel very comfortable that our votes count here in Indiana. I can’t say that I can speak to that in other states.

 

Q: Where do you stand on Indiana’s new abortion law, and what changes to it would you support?

A: My record is clear: I’m pro life. I support the bill that was passed, but I think what is extremely important is, at the same time, the General Assembly passed legislation to establish a $45 million families-first fund to be able to support women and to support children. I think it’s important that we have the baby boxes throughout the state of Indiana. It’s important that we not just protect the unborn, but that we protect those that are here and we are able to be able to give them the resources that they need, whether they’re pregnant women, or whether they’re women with children that are struggling, whether they’re women that are addicted and wanting to deliver healthy babies, we need to be there for them in whatever way we possibly can.

 

Q: Gun violence is an epidemic in today’s American society. How should Indiana respond?

A: I was a victim of sexual assault. I had a guy put a gun to my head and cock it and say “We can do this the easy way or the hard way,” when I was a Realtor. I remember I never went out and got a gun immediately because I did not want that to define my life and how I live my life. But I did ultimately, when I was a state rep, get a firearm because I was traveling to and from Indianapolis back and forth at night by myself, and sometimes you feel like you’ve rolled the dice too many times. So when 50% of women are going to be sexually assaulted at some point in time in their life, we need the right to be able to defend ourselves, and it’s why I support the constitutional right to carry.

 

Q: The 2023 legislative session dealt with culture war topics such as LGBTQ issues and school library books. Where do you stand on those issues?

A: As bills are introduced, they rarely are passed the way they’re introduced. So there’s a lot of changes that go through a bill, and it’s because the public now gets to weigh in, and they get to have their input. I think Indiana’s quite honestly not in a bad place. I think we’re in a good place. We are culturally a conservative state. And I think, if anything, we need to look at how we can push back against the woke culture that’s trying to take control and make decisions on our lives that maybe we aren’t always in agreement to and kind of pushes back against who we are as Hoosiers. The General Assembly passing the bill to allow fairness in sports and then overriding the governor’s veto was the right decision to make.

People want freedom to live their lives as they want to live them. And when we have a government and we have corporations and we have big business and other groups telling us how we can’t live our lives or how we should live our lives, I think that’s when people push back.

 

Q: Should citizens have a right to collect signatures to put questions on the ballot without legislative approval?

A: Well, it would require a constitutional change and that would be up to the General Assembly. So I trust the General Assembly to make the right decision in that.

 

Contact IndyStar state government and politics reporter Kayla Dwyer at kdwyer@indystar.com or follow her on Twitter @kayla_dwyer17.

ADDITIONAL PRESS RELEASES

Gubernatorial Candidate Suzanne Crouch Releases New Broadcast Campaign Ad: “We Fight for Them”

Crouch: Indiana Can Cut Taxes Without Revenue Loss

ORIGINAL ARTICLE FROM: 93.1FM WIBC

Dearborn County Commissioner Rick Probst Endorses Suzanne Crouch for Governor

MEDIA CONTACT Robert Vane robert@veteranstrategies.com
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