TERRE HAUTE-- Democrat Joe Andrew pounded the podium with a determined fist as he stressed that Indiana's next governor will have to bring enthusiasm, energy and salesmanship to promoting Indiana while he spoke to a small crowd at Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field -Terre Haute Air Center Wednesday.
Creating good jobs in Indiana -- the state that leads the nation in personal bankruptcy filings, percentage of lost manufacturing jobs and home foreclosures -- is essential to Andrew.
"I will be that governor," he said, evoking applause from his supporters, many from labor unions, in the room.
Terre Haute was one of several stops the candidate was making this week after formally announcing his run for governor Monday. Andrew, the former state and Democratic national chairman, says job creation is his top priority, pointing out that will be the biggest challenge for the next governor of Indiana.
"There's nothing wrong with Indiana that can't be fixed by what's right with Indiana," he said, adding that he values the Hoosier virtues of "hard work, frugality, faith, patriotism and common sense."
He proposes making Indiana a center for the development of "next generation automobile technology." He referred to the union workers of Indiana as the "backbone of our economy and the foundation of our middle class."
Andrew, 43, grew up on a farm between Fort Wayne and Poe in northeastern Indiana. He graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in 1982. After receiving his law degree from Yale Law School in 1985, he returned to Indiana to practice law. He served as Indiana Secretary of State Joseph Hogsett's chief deputy from 1989 to 1991. In 1995, he was elected chair of the Indiana Democratic party. In 1999, he was elected chair of the Democratic National Committee and returned to practicing law in 2001. He and his wife, Anne, have two children.
State Rep.(D) Clyde Kersey is rooting for Andrew.
"I think he has a great chance of winning," Kersey said. "He supports many programs, such as bringing high-paying and high-tech jobs to the state, he supports colleges, universities and public education and a senior citizens program to bring low-income prescription drugs for Indiana Hoosiers."
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 700 representative, Sharon McMhon, of Indianapolis, said Andrew has earned that union's backing and that of several others at the polls.
"He's very labor-friendly, labor-interested," McMhon said.
State Sen. Vi Simpson, of Elletsville, also is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor. Five Republicans have announced plans to run for the office.