By Mike Harmon
Perry County News
TELL CITY, Ind. — The Perry County Republicans filled the center room of the Pour Haus in Tell City to welcome Indiana Gubernatorial Candidate Brad Chambers.
Chambers for Indiana Communications Director Luke Thomas had the advanced planning completed with the Perry County Republicans and management of the Pour Haus to set the stage for candidate Chambers to address the crowd. Brad began by emphasizing that he is not a politician by profession. He was a teen-aged entrepreneur that was able to take advantage of the opportunities this great country provides and, with a focus on Midwestern values, create a business that covers a 40 year period and a journey that went from a single rent house in 1984 to a prosperous real estate business reflecting a real estate portfolio that exceeds $3 billion in value, and careers for 400 employees.
Brad and his family have a long history in Indiana. His grandfather came to Boone County from Texas in the early 1900’s and started a farming operation. As an uneducated man, he placed a great value on education and made sure that Brad’s father was able to attend school and actually become the first family member to graduate from college. Beyond education, Brad’s grandfather valued hard work. Brad’s dad, in turn, worked the family farm. Brad believes that he has inherited the family’s work ethic and began a lawn mowing business as a 15 year old teenager. The business experience garnered from his entrepreneurial spirit led to Brad’s being able to sell his business, pay his way trough IU, and generate enough capital and acumen to begin his venture into the professional world of real estate. By the time Brad graduated from IU, he had profitably accumulated a portfolio of 31 rental units. The college experience for Brad included managing these units which was a demanding managerial and financial obligation that, for a college student, did cut into some of the party time that was a staple of campus life for Brad’s friends. The crowd did laugh when Brad stated that he didn’t miss all the parties, just some of them.
Brad’s interest in pursuing public office comes from his service as the Secretary of Commerce for the State of Indiana over a two-year term. Brad was asked to serve in this capacity by Governor Holcomb. Brad served for a total annual compensation of $1. That is correct — $1 per year. While not originally wanting to accept this position, Brad realized that this was a way he could give back to the people and place that gave so much to him. Brad thought of this as a service job and not a career change. After completing his two year commitment in August of 2023, Brad’s plan for economic development, and the excellent team he assembled to assist him, can point to record breaking growth for the state’s economy. During his term, Brad and his team brought in over $30 billion in new investment into the state, two new industries, and wages which were recorded at 30% higher than at any time in state history.
Candidate Chambers is extremely proud of his accomplishments as Secretary of Commerce and those successes, along with the business skills he developed in the private sector, uniquely qualify him to step into the leadership position as Governor. Brad did digress for a moment in commenting on his candidacy to mention that possibly [Luke] Thomas might be the best person in the room to run for the state’s highest office. With smiling nods of agreement from the crowd, Brad thanked the “TEAMBRAD” staff that work so hard to help him run this important campaign. Brad calls sessions like this one is Tell City “listening sessions” as he has learned over his long business career that listening to constituents is only way to know what is important and how to develop plans to succeed in addressing the important issues. Brad has made many personal visits to communities in Indiana to introduce himself and state why he is willing to go outside his comfort zone as a business man to ask for our support in his efforts to lead Indiana to its greatest possible potential.
There are two metrics that Brad feels should be driving Indiana’s economy. They are GDP and wages. We should note that Indiana’s GDP growth has been underperforming the US averages more times than not over the past few decades. Our average wage is below the US average. The question is why is that the case? With capable people, great universities, favorable locations and roads, why is Indiana underperforming in average wages and economic output? Brad’s plan was a success in addressing these conditions because his plan addressed the problem, and he and his team implemented that plan. They made it happen. Again, Brad does not believe his candidacy reflects a career change, it reflects a chance to serve. Brad knows that politics is a rough game, but he has the support of his family and the experience and dedication, along with his team, to serve. Brad did mention that his wife wondered if he possibly ventured a little too far off the reservation to pursue this level of service, but she does realize how important giving back is to Brad.
Brad believes that the path which offers the highest and best results to achieving that potential are through economic growth. He believes that the number one job for the governor is to grow the economy. Only by growing the economy can education be improved, can public safety be improved, can health care issues be improved, and improve other areas that will enhance quality of life for Indiana citizens. And with a rising economy, government can be smaller. And a growing economy will help us keep our young people in Indiana. A growing economy translates into a growing workforce derived from attracting newcomers and retaining our current residents. So, Brad states that he is the candidate that is focused on growing the economy and he is the guy who developed a plan and a team that accomplished those goals as Secretary of Commerce.
True to his commitment to listen to constituents, Brad opened the floor for comments. These comments centered on desired improvements in education and the local economy. Brad thanked the crowd for their support and looks forward to continuing to serve Indiana as Governor. Everyone is encouraged to vote during the May 7 primary.