By Ted Land (email@example.com)
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10:31 PM EDT, October 10, 2012
Republican Mike Pence has enjoyed a commanding lead in the race to be Indiana’s next governor, but on Wednesday night, all three candidates were equals during a debate in Zionsville.
Pence, Democrat John Gregg, and Libertarian Rupert Boneham, talked education, healthcare, and of course the economy.
If you wanted drama, you had to wait for it. More than 30 minutes in to the hour-long forum, Pence and Gregg got into it over their political records.
“12 years in Congress, nothing passed, poor attendance record, and nothing but the lead warrior in the attack on women, that's all he's been about,” Gregg said of Pence.
“John, you're not sounding very much like yourself these days. I've known you for a long time. This showing up for work bit, you know, I have a 95 % attendance record in the Congress, you know I’ve been named as one of the hardest working members,” Pence responded.
Pence criticized Gregg for leading the Indiana General Assembly through years of deficits.
The debate started with social issues.
“We're one of 8 states that does nothing about pre-kindergarten and I am the only candidate running for Governor that has proposed early childhood development programs,” said Gregg.
“When we're grading our students on the performance of one test, instead of progress through the year, it's an injustice to our teachers and our students,” said Boneham.
“I think the time has come to make career and vocational education a priority in every high school in Indiana again,” said Pence.
All three candidates said they would cut taxes in one way or another.
“I'm proposing, in our roadmap for Indiana, an across the board cut in personal income tax of 10 percent,” said Pence, “that'll put hundreds of dollars in the pockets of average Hoosiers.”
“I've got a plan that'll create jobs. We do it by targeting tax cuts to Indiana businesses headquartered here, research and development, and manufacturing,” Gregg explained.
“Maybe start looking at decreasing our business taxes and creating a scenario where we are the lowest in the business taxes in the Midwest,” said Boneham.
The on-stage discussion did not shake the race, mostly stuck to the talking points, and as the first of three formal debates, it helped prepare the candidates for the next time they meet.
Pence, Gregg, and Boneham will debate again next Wednesday at 7pm at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center on the Notre Dame Campus in South Bend.
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