Indiana Daily Student: Republican Brad Chambers offers economic-centric views in his campaign for governor

By Mia Hilkowitz
Indiana Daily Student

For Republican gubernatorial candidate Brad Chambers, Indiana’s future success relies on one thing: the economy. He said, if elected, he would run the state like a business — something he believes is necessary to improving quality of life in Indiana.

Chambers, who announced his bid for governor in August 2023, joins a crowded field of Republican candidates hoping to succeed Gov. Eric Holcomb, who cannot seek reelection due to term limits.

Chambers has more than 40 years of entrepreneurship and business experience, currently serving as the CEO of Buckingham Companies, the real estate investment company he founded as an IU student in 1984.

In 2021, Holcomb appointed Chambers to his cabinet as the state’s secretary of commerce, where he led the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, a public-private partnership charged with growing Indiana’s economy. According to his campaign announcement, the IEDC collected more than $33 billion in committed capital investments — planned capital investments that companies have committed to or plan to make in the state — while under Chamber’s leadership. He stepped down from this role last August to launch his bid for governor.

“I served for a dollar a year as commerce secretary for the state of Indiana,” Chambers said. “You don’t do that unless you care about the state, and you’re passionate about our future.”

Chambers, who has never run for a political office before, said he believes his economic-centric campaign connects with Hoosiers concerned about rising inflation and property taxes.

“I think voters want someone who’s not been inside government for decades,” Chambers said. “They want fresh views; they want urgency and aspiration and a brighter future — and that’s what I bring.”

Since announcing his campaign, Chambers released several plans outlining his priorities. His “Learn More, Earn More” plan includes proposals to promote skill-based education, address declining literacy rates and support school-choice opportunities. According to the Indiana Department of Education’s 2023 Indiana Reading Evaluation and Determination assessment results, one in five third graders in Indiana lack necessary foundational reading skills.

When asked if he would support legislation restricting the teaching of certain topics — such as HEA 1608, which prohibits teachers from teaching human sexuality to students in grades pre-kindergarten through third grade and HEA 1447, which allows community members to request books be banned from school libraries — Chambers did not explicitly state if he would support similar legislation. However, Chambers said he believed parents should be involved in and informed about their children’s education.

“I believe education should be focused on education, not things that are opinion-based,” Chambers said. “Some people use the word indoctrination. I do believe — this is a very simple concept — reading, writing, arithmetic and history, factual based education, is the best education.”

Chambers has released three additional plans, according to his campaign website. His Safe Online plan focuses on protecting children from dangers associated with social media and pornographic websites. Chambers released this plan one day after Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita sued Meta, alleging the social media company knowingly used features that harm children and teens.

In this plan Chambers advocates for requiring stricter age verification measures on social media platforms, limiting online companies’ ability to collect data on young users and designing age-appropriate education about the risks associated with online activity. He said he plans to collaborate with the Indiana legislature to increase civil and criminal penalties for companies that do not take necessary steps to prevent children from accessing pornographic content.

His “Protect and Serve” plan includes Chamber’s proposals on how to best support police officers, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel. In this plan, Chambers states he would advocate for the state to codify quality immunity for law enforcement and first responders. Quality immunity is legal immunity that protects certain government officials from lawsuits that allege they violated a plaintiff’s rights.

In addition to outlining several methods for increasing support and training for first responders, Chambers said he would create regional task forces across the state to help tackle the fentanyl epidemic.  According to the Indiana Department of Health, of the 2,588 overdose deaths reported in Indiana in 2022, 1,140 deaths were connected to fentanyl.

“These task forces will be permitted to investigate deaths attributable to synthetic opioids as homicides, enabling them to target fentanyl dealers and traffickers more efficiently and effectively,” Chamber’s campaign website states.

According to his campaign website, Chambers would lead efforts to institute mandatory minimum levels of required bail in the state’s court system.

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