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‘I had a calling in my life’: Jamie Reitenour explains run for governor

Candidate Jamie Reitenour calls for requiring apprenticeships

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A Republican candidate for governor tells News 8 her campaign is an article of faith.

Jamie Reitenour is one of six Republicans running in the May 7 primary for governor and the only person in the field who has never held any form of elected or appointed public office. In an interview for Sunday’s “All INdiana Politics,” Reitenour, whose background is in real estate and ministry, says she believes she has been called to run for that office. She says she draws inspiration from the Book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament, which describes Nehemiah’s work during a 12-year stint as governor in the land of Judah. She says her campaign represents solutions that represent the people’s wishes rather than viewing problems through a politician’s lens.

Reitenour says she wants to make extensive changes to education in Indiana. She says she wants to remove technology from K-5 classrooms so students can focus on core academic skills. Students would be reintroduced to technology in sixth grade, during which time the private sector would partner with schools to help children explore how technology, including artificial intelligence, affects different jobs. Skills-oriented classes such as sewing and cooking would be offered to seventh and eighth-graders. Then, during high school, Reitenour says she would like to require every student to complete an apprenticeship before they graduate.

“The reason why we’re presenting kids with this question early is so that they can go to these apprenticeships and see if that’s actually what they want to do so they don’t graduate from high school and spend thousands of dollars in a university only to find out that’s not what they want to do in the first place,” she said.

Reitenour has called for an audit of every state agency and, in a candidate forum last month, proposed shutting down the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC). Multiple candidates have criticized the IEDC for its purchase of land in Boone County for a large high-tech research park, the LEAP District, which will include a Lilly pharmaceutical facility.

“I’m really struggling understanding the constitutionality of the IEDC,” she said. “This is, again, a corporation that’s spending billions of dollars, and so that is definitely one of the first places that we’re going to audit. We’re going to see what’s going on.”

On taxes, Reitenour has proposed either eliminating or capping property taxes rather than other proposals such as rival Suzanne Crouch’s vow to eliminate the state income tax. Reitenour says property taxes hit older Hoosiers on fixed incomes the hardest. She says one possibility would be to set a fixed tax rate based on a home’s value when someone buys it. Asked how she would make up the lost revenue, she replied the savings would come from eliminating waste, fraud and abuse through her statewide audits.

Early voting in the primary will begin Tuesday.

“All INdiana Politics” airs at 9:30 a.m. Sunday on WISH-TV.