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Gov. Holcomb talks accomplishments, challenges during 2018

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Gov. Eric Holcomb sat down with News 8’s David Williams on Friday to look back on 2018. 

He talked about what he was most proud of in 2018 and what areas weren’t the brightest for our state.

Holcomb said 2018 was a year of progress, and he’s very optimistic for 2019. He pointed to Indiana’s growing economy, tech sector and jobs coming to Indiana. While he said Indiana saw many highlights, the year was not without its difficulties along the way.

Holcomb talked about the accusations of inappropriate touching against Attorney General Curtis Hill.  Several women accused Hill of inappropriate touching at a legislative end-of-session party.

A special prosecutor later determined Hill had not committed any crimes.

Hill repeatedly denied the allegations. His accusers want Hill out of office. Holcomb and several Statehouse leaders called for Hill’s resignation.

“After reading the first investigation, then the second, then the third, I did believe that the line was crossed and that the right thing to do would be to resign,” Holcomb said. “My position has not changed one iota.”

Holcomb also talked about school safety in the wake of a Noblesville school shooting that left a student and a teacher wounded in May. 

Following that shooting, the state gave free handheld metal detectors to any school district that wanted them. In December, roughly 3 percent of school districts still had not asked for the detectors.

“If those 3 percent want to come forward, I want to help them,” Holcomb said Friday.

In August, we learned many schools were not using the wands. The big concern surrounding the metal detector wands was the time it takes to get each student through security before classes begin.

News 8 asked Holcomb whether he thought the wands were worth it or a waste of money.

“No! Absolutely not a waste of money!” Holcomb exclaimed. “It’s not just peace of mind having them I don’t want them to gather dust in a box. Parents have to know their schools in all likelihood plus 97 percent, have the means.” 

We also asked Holcomb about 2020.

“If I’m going to seek re-election?” Holcomb said. “We’re in a position to do that. Haven’t made that final decision.”

For months all through 2018, people and lawmakers kept talking about the need to increase teacher pay.

Lawmakers couldn’t agree on what to do during the last legislative session, but Holcomb said he is committed to doing something about teacher pay in 2019.

Holcomb said he would be able to provide more specifics about teacher raises later this month when the budget forecast is released Dec. 17.

Then, he said he’ll have a clearer picture of how much money can go toward teacher raises.  Holcomb said he wants to make sure there’s a solid structure in place before changes are made so that he can ensure Indiana teachers get some of the best pay in the Midwest.

“I want us to be a leader, not a lagger,” Holcomb explained. “To do that means we have to have some discussions with parents, with school corporations, with legislative leaders — all of the above. To come to a consensus that, ‘Here’s how we move forward and Indiana becomes a leader in this area as well.’” 

In terms of infrastructure, Holcomb said there’s always work to do, but state and local governments are paying for road improvement projects for years to come. 

Holcomb said the state just added $790 million to speed up projects across the region, including internet service for rural areas.

Holcomb said the state is investing in infrastructure more now than we ever have.

Below you can watch the full, unedited interview between Gov. Holcomb and David Williams.