Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

State News

October 19, 2012

Candidates square off again

(Continued)

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Boneham urged the decentralization of the state government, giving more power back to county and local-level governments.

"We need to decentralize our (state) government," Boneham said. "Close those offices down in Indianapolis, put power back into the community. I want to grow the state by empowering the counties."

There was some contention during the debate when Amy Leonard, a single mother from Mishawaka, asked a question that struck a chord between Pence and Gregg. Leonard, who had some state assistance, said she lost it shortly after she reported her job to the state, though she felt she could still use the funds. She asked the candidates if they planned to create more transitional programs to make the move to financial independence easier.

While Pence was sympathetic to Leonard’s plight as a single mother, raising her children with little help while attending school and working full-time, Gregg said Pence’s policies do not benefit single parents, but rather only two-parent families.

"His family plan doesn’t consider me and my boys a family," Gregg said, citing his time spent as a single father. Gregg was referencing Pence’s "Roadmap" plan’s section on strong families and children, which talks most about families with married parents. "The way we help families is by creating better-paying jobs."

After the debate Pence said of course he considers single parents families, and called the plight "heroic."

"One of the most affective ways to reduce childhood poverty," Pence explained, "is to encourage more young people to get married, stay married and to wait to have kids until they’re married."

Retirement and senior citizen care was also a topic. South Bend resident Raynaldo Hernandez asked the candidates if they had plans to place emphasis on in-home retirement care, as opposed to sending retirees to nursing homes. The debate also spent time on the shortage with state pension funds for public retirees.

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