Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Gary) officially kicked off his run for governor Tuesday after months of exploring a bid.
The Gary lawmaker launched his campaign in his hometown with a crowd of about 200 supporters.
Education was the primary focus of Melton’s campaign kickoff. His fourth grade teacher addressed supporters before his speech. The crowd was filled with people wearing "Red for Ed" t-shirts. Melton, who’s the ranking Democrat on the Senate Elections Committee, also previously served on the State Board of Education. And he was introduced at his gubernatorial campaign kickoff by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick, who is a Republican.
She says she’s worked with Melton since they both came to the Statehouse.
“He would think and then he would act," McCormick says. "And I will tell you as a mom, as an educator, as the State Superintendent and as a citizen of Indiana, I should expect nothing less. We deserve nothing less.”
McCormick traveled the state with Melton this summer during his exploratory “listening tour.” That tour, Melton says, informs his agenda, which includes teacher pay increases, ensuring every Hoosier earns a living wage, and affordable health care access.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Indiana can do much better with a leader that encourages all of us to work together and to be better together,” Melton says.
Melton also touted his bipartisanship, highlighting legislative accomplishments that passed the supermajority Republican General Assembly.
"I will be a governor that works for all Hoosiers, not just a select few," Melton says. "I will be a governor that prioritizes health care, education and making a livable wage in the state of Indiana and providing economic growth for all Hoosiers, not just a chosen few."
Superintendent McCormick's presence Tuesday fueled speculation the GOP elected official will be Melton’s running mate. Melton says it’s too soon for that.
“But I will say that Dr. McCormick is a proven leader … I think we can clearly see an opportunity to continue to work together,” Melton says.