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House Dem leader: Pence squandering 'honeymoon'

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Saturday, February 2, 2013 - 6:20 am

INDIANAPOLIS — The leader of Indiana's House Democrats said Friday that Gov. Mike Pence is squandering a rare chance to get his priorities through the Legislature during the bipartisan "honeymoon" that typically exists for new governors in their first days in office.

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, said Pence needs to deliver more details about how he will run the state and do more to support jobs measures being considered in the General Assembly. He praised Pence's visions outlined in his first State of the State address but said the Republican governor's honeymoon with lawmakers from both parties is quickly slipping away.

"I know it's a challenge to put together a new administration. I know it's a challenge to come from Washington and work in the legislative branch and be pressed into an executive role," Pelath said, referring to the fact that Pence left Congress on Jan. 3. "He can still take advantage of this, he still has time, but we can't let time waste away."

A Pence spokeswoman declined to comment on Pelath's critiques.

Pence has argued since taking office that cutting the personal income tax by 10 percent is the best jobs plan available to Indiana residents. He is also traveling the state pushing for improved vocational training in Indiana schools.

The new governor has also introduced a two-year budget that includes many of his priorities but has yet to formally endorse the proposals that lawmakers say he has asked them shepherd for him. Lawmakers need to know more about exactly what Pence is seeking, Pelath said.

"When Gov. (Mitch) Daniels started, you knew which bills were his," Pelath said. "I didn't agree with a lot of those bills, but you knew which were his."