Ag leaders enjoy early chance to get a feel for how John Gregg feels about agriculture and the future of Indiana. By Tom J. Bechman
It's not every year that you get to hear the sitting governor, then the two leading candidates for his job, talk and answer questions in front of an ag group, especially before either of the candidates have been officially selected by their party. Farmers and ethanol industry leaders who gathered for an ethanol forum recently got the unique opportunity to hear what both candidates had to say, one after the other, and to submit questions for the candidates to answer. They didn't reveal all of their strategies, but they did give insights into their beliefs and what they felt was important for Indiana to move forward.
First, farmers and leaders heard from John Gregg, Sandborn, Democrat hopeful for the gubernatorial nomination. He is former Speaker of the House, and is not in private law practice. He made a quick connection with the audience, noting that he owns a farm even though he isn't a farmer, and that his sons are growing up in rural Indiana, much like he did, participating in activities such as showing cattle.
In fact, Gregg laid claim to the fact that Don Villwock, in the audience, and Edwardsport farmer and current president of Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., was his 4-H leader when he was growing up.
Gregg quickly reassured the audience that he too, like Governor Daniels who spoke before him, understands the importance of agriculture to Indiana. He stated that it's often one of the most important industries in rural Indiana. "We are an agricultural state and a manufacturing state," Gregg says. "Those are our strengths."
Gregg is also a supporter of biofuels. He believes that one thing that needs to happen is that ethanol pumps need to be made more available across the state. Gregg went on to discuss the importance of energy in Indiana. He believes it's important to look not only at ethanol, but at other advantages Indiana has, including clean coal.
Look for more comments from the candidate next week on the Web.