Pharos-Tribune: A CEO for Governor: A conversation with GOP candidate Brad Chambers

By Hallie Gallinat

LOGANSPORT, Ind. — The Pharos-Tribune had the opportunity to sit down and speak with GOP candidate Brad Chambers prior to the Cass County Republicans Lincoln Day dinner on Feb. 17.

Chambers, a born and raised Hoosier, is the only candidate for governor who has never run for office before. He graduated from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, which he started a business to help pay for.

He recently finished his two-year term as the Secretary of Commerce and under his leadership, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation secured nearly $51 billion of committed capital investments. This included an unprecedented $28.7 billion in 2023 and average wages 30% higher than at any point in state history, according to

While serving as Secretary of Commerce, he also created the “5E” vision plan for the state’s economic future, with five pillars centering on environment, economy of the future, entrepreneurship, energy transition and external engagement, according to Chambers also is a founding and board member of the philanthropic organization Buckingham Foundation, which focuses on making positive impacts on communities in terms of housing, community and economic development, childhood hunger and more.

How will you help smaller rural communities?

Chambers: … [I] started a company when I was a teenager. So just like, whether you’re from Logansport or you’re from any small community, I started mowing lawns and started a business when I was very young and to this day, [I] am a Hoosier-born entrepreneur. So having an understanding of how to build a life in Indiana and run a business is, I think, very important. I, brd on being able to access the American dream in Indiana, and having the state be so supportive of my entrepreneurial journey, starting a small business, I’ve just been kind of grounded in gratitude, so [I] have focused on ‘how can I give back?” And whether that’s through boards or through our foundation where we support housing causes, homelessness, or when Governor Holcomb asked me to serve as the chairman of the Indiana State Fair Commission and then on to Secretary of Commerce. And I accepted that Secretary of Commerce job for a dollar a year, giving back to the state. And it’s because I believe that economic opportunity and economic prosperity is critically important for all Hoosiers. I think it’s, when people are economically secure and they have economic optimism, their lives are better. And so, to be specific, when a governor can grow the state’s economy, make sure that the economy is dynamic, give people the opportunity to be prosperous, I think that helps every community…. So really, just creating the conditions, continuing the economic momentum. I started as Secretary of Commerce to lift people up, bring high wage jobs. Indiana’s wages are below U.S. average, and that frustrates me. It shouldn’t be. We have a great state and great people, our wages should be at or above U.S. average.

What issues have Cass County residents brought to you and how do you plan to address them?

Chambers: Well, I am on a statewide listening tour. I have been to over 300 locations since I announced I was running for governor in August. So, it’s been a busy journey. I’m getting all over the state and that listening tour, it’s an intentional name because in my business, when I listen to my customers, I know how the business is doing. So, as a governor’s candidate, I think it’s super important to listen to the customer of the state of Indiana. The customers are the voters and the taxpayers. So, I’m on a statewide listening tour, and I’m excited to be in Cass County. I’m excited to be in Logansport, and I’m going to do that. This is my first stop here today. So, I’m starting to visit with some folks and listen and that will end up in our policies, right? So, as I go around the state, we’re running a very policy-focused campaign. I believe the voters in Indiana are smart. I believe that they really want to understand who their candidate is and I believe they want to know what the candidate wants to do. And so, there’s other candidates, they’re just using media talking points and they’re not having real robust policy rollouts. I’ve started with policy. I’ve started with rolling out details of my vision for Indiana’s future. And so the best way to put together a public safety plan, or what we call our Protect and Serve plan, is by talking to police officers and prosecutors, and that’s what we’ve been doing. So inevitably, we’ll take some comments from Cass County residents, from Logansport residents, and that’ll end up in our policy plans as we go forward in this campaign.

Housing is a big issue in the county. So, what would you do to address that, not just in Cass County, but in all of Indiana?

Chambers: The good news is we have a great economy in Indiana, but it could be even better. Fundamental to continuing that economic momentum is being able to house people, right? To be able to provide quality, affordable housing in all parts of the state…. As Secretary of Commerce for my two year term, for my dollar a year, I rolled out the READI Program. And that READI program touched every county in the state and almost every community in the state. It will have ultimately a $15 billion economic impact by the time it’s been distributed throughout the state. And I believe that was a terrific model by which to go forward. We have to grow the economy, the number one job of a governor is to grow the economy, take the proceeds of a growing economy and invest in things like education, public safety, community, through the READI program, and investing in communities and housing and deal with mental health and healthcare issues. So, growing the economy, take those proceeds of that, invest back into the community, including housing. Now, specific to housing, I come from a housing background. That’s my business. I’ve been building housing and managing housing nationally. I have a national housing business, and so, I have a strong experience in the creation of housing. I think while our housing agency is good, it can be much better. And I believe by some policy changes and some certain changes in the Indiana Housing Finance Authority, we can stimulate and support the creation of more housing, both single family and multifamily.

Why should Cass County vote for you?

Chambers: Because I believe that Indiana’s better served with a business guy as its CEO. I believe that career politicians aren’t able to clearly see the problems before us…. I don’t think our founding fathers envisioned our country being run by people who’ve been in politics for five, six, seven terms. And, I’m the only person in this race that’s never been on a ballot until two weeks ago, right? And so, I’m the only guy in this race that’s started a business from nothing, cutting grass in 1982, and has built a business for 40 years now. So, and I’m the only guy, really, this is a service job for me. It’s not a career change, right? I believe in Indiana’s future, but you have to go get the future. You got to go win in the global economy, and I think I’m uniquely suited to do that as compared to the career politicians that are in this race.

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