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Skillman discusses state's economy

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman explains the state of the Indiana economy at the monthly Clay County Chamber of Commerce meeting Tuesday. Jason Moon Photo. [Order this photo]
In Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman's mind, managing the state's economy is "not rocket science."

But a quick glance of slides from a presentation she showed to members of the Clay County Chamber of Commerce might tell a different story.

Skillman visited with chamber members Tuesday to discuss the state's economy, which, when measured against other states in the Midwest, Indiana is doing quite well.

And, according to Skillman, this is something the administration of Gov. Mitch Daniels has been working on since it took office.

"The state's finances is something we've monitored since day one," Skillman said. "We try to be self-sufficient and take care of our own."

Skillman is the state's 50th Lieutenant Governor and the first female to have the position.

On Tuesday, she said some difficult decisions had to be made in order for the state to remain financially stable, including making cuts to state school districts.

"That was something we didn't want to do," she said. "It was a very last resort.

"We can't be a state of haves and have nots. We can't have that kind of thinking in our state. We're always looking for new ways to move communities forward."

Coming from a smaller community herself, Skillman told the audience she understands how it feels sometimes in rural areas.

"I do know the challenges that our towns face," she said. "But I know the positives of living in smaller towns. There is such a reward to knowing your neighbors."

Skillman said the Daniels administration is aware of the difficulties people are facing. But cuts the state made to its current budget can only help in the future.

"We try to approach it as a recession of opportunity," she said. "I know that may be a tall order. Even we have taken many hits. This has not been an easy 18 months."

Skillman said signs are pointing in a good direction that the economy is getting better, singling out the automotive industry.

"In our state, we're seeing a lot of continue investment," she said. "There is lots of good news on the horizon."

She also said she will lead an agriculture trade mission to China next week, another positive sign for the economy.

"We have high expectations," Skillman said. "This is an area of great growth for our state."

Skillman said small business owners and their commitment to communities, saying she considered small business owners the "best hope for the future of the state."

"It they are growing ... it represents a huge leap forward for Indiana," Skillman said.

She also commended government officials in Clay County for their aggressive approach at obtaining grant money.

"Your local officials do a great job to help the communities," she said.

Skillman said even though the economy is looking like it is digging its way out of the hole it has been in, families are still coping.

"We still have families struggling," she said. "But I'm confident in the future for our state. I think all of us know that government does not create prosperity. State government is here to partner in the efforts."

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What a shame that none of our local politicians, with the exception of County Commissioner Paul Sinders, thought it was necessary to attend a meeting where the second highest political figure in the state was speaking. Does not surprise me though. And yes, they were aware of this event in advance.

-- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Wed, May 26, 2010, at 7:37 AM

She is not the first female Lt. Governor. Kathy Davis was the first. Lt. Governor Skillman is the first elected female Lt. Governor.

-- Posted by Partrosie on Wed, May 26, 2010, at 12:18 PM

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