Chambers wants to see US 30 put on fast track

Brad Chambers, the former Indiana Commerce Secretary (right) took questions from Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce CEO Rob Parker. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.
By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW — Brad Chambers, the former Indiana Commerce Secretary who is running for governor, thinks efforts are needed to speed up plans for a new US 30.

Chambers was a guest at a candidate forum hosted by Kosciusko Chamber of commerce MOnday at the Zimmer Biomet Center Lake Pavilion.

The event was hosted by the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce.

Much of Chamber’s campaign has focused on strenthening the state’s economy through economic development.

He said he thinks the stretch of highway between Fort Wayne and Warsaw has huge potential.

“That is an economic development opportunity if there ever was one, so why is it taking so long?” Chambers said. “Let’s prioritize that.”

He repeatedly mentioned the need to increase Indiana wages, which he said is 20 percent lower than the US average.

“The way to do that is through economic development projects like the recently announced facility that will help manufacture computer chips and bring 1,000 good paying jobs to West Lafayette, he said.

“That’s unacceptable to me. We’re not an average state. We’re a great state, great people, great universities, great communities … so why are we performing below US averages on wages and growth,” Chambers said.

He was asked if he supports hiking Indiana’s minimum wage, which has stood at $7.25 per hour for the past ten years.

I don’t. I want to do it using the marketplace. I think we can do it through the marketplace … I don’t think we need to legislate it.”

Chambers is one of six Republicans seeking the GOP nomination in a bid to replace Gov. Eric Holcumb who is term-limited.

He said improving education remains a key.

“It’s unbelievable to me that in 2024 in the state of Indiana, we have a literacy problem and we do,” he said. “We need to get our hands on that.”

He said he thinks the state should look at smaller class sizes that allows for more individualized attention.

He also took a shot at US Sen. Mike Braun, who by many reports is viewed as the gubernatorial frontrunner.

“We’ve got some challenges with the gas tax,” Braun said. “One of my competitors was a sponsor of the gas tax. It’s a progressive tax that goes up every year. Now that gas is peaking right now, you’re feeling it right now at the pump right now and you can thank Sen. Braun for that.”

Asked about diversity issues, Chambers said he believes in playing on a level field, but said he would close the state’s diversity, equity and inclusion office.

The Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce hosted the forum since Chambers was unavailable for an earlier gubernatorial event in Warsaw that featured four candidates.

Chamber CEO Rob Parker said he did not receive calls or criticism from other candidates about Monday’s event. He said others are welcome to visit for a similar event if time allows.

The primary is May 7.