Vi Simpson & John Gregg kickoff campaign

Unity — despite differences — was the primary theme of John Gregg & Vi Simpson’s appearance today in at the amphitheater in New Albany. Reporters from media — including TV stations — were on hand, along with local political officials, union workers, firefighters, and police. (Coming from Bloomington, it’s still strange to me to see TV folks there to cover political events.)

John Gregg was introduced by State Senator Connie Sipes, who quoted from an article on what Gregg was looking for in a running mate

, written by the Indianapolis Star‘s Mary Beth Schneider.

Gregg said he’s looking for someone who “shares the same focus I do on jobs, on jobs, on jobs.”

His wish list? Someone who shares a passion for public education and keeping college affordable, who understands local and state government and who can work across the aisle with Republicans.

What he doesn’t want, he said, is a yes-man “carbon copy” of himself.

Gregg, as he did all through the early campaigning, spoke primarily about jobs. He spoke about strengthening the middle class, and making sure we have the kinds of jobs that can actually pay the bills.

He then turned to a coal barge, slowly making its way up the Ohio river behind him. Here in Indiana, Gregg said, we have energy — we have coal. We have natural gas. We have methane. And we have wind.

The blades on the wind turbines are made in western Europe. The steel frames for the windmill towers are, again made in Europe and imported. Gregg then wound up to his applause line: If it can be manufactured in the US, we should be making it here in Indiana.

Gregg also mentioned advancements in agriculture and the life sciences industry as areas of potential job growth.

He then obliquely referenced his latest line of attack against GOP nominee Mike Pence, saying that he wanted someone who was looking after Hoosiers’ houses, not looking to make the jump to the White House. Hoosiers need someone who puts Hoosier families first — “Not somebody who’s gone Washington.”

Gregg also warned that Hoosiers don’t need a candidate who’s fought against saving the auto industry, so maybe the Democratic ticket will actually engage and challenge the Daniels/Mourdock record on Chrysler.

Finally, Gregg said that part of the reason he invited Vi Simpson to join the ticket is that he wanted someone who understood the importance of women’s access to healthcare and birth control. Despite the claims from the other side, Gregg said, this issue is not about being “prolife” or pro choice. This statement was met with boisterous applause by the crowd, as the prochoice Simpson and anti-abortion Gregg both smiled.

Gregg then introduced State Senator Vi Simpson, whom he noted was — like him — a nontraditional student. Which sounds better than saying “old” student, he laughed.

Simpson began by noting the media’s quick push to point out all the areas where she and Gregg disagree. We don’t always agree, she said, and we shouldn’t. We represent all the people of Indiana.

She said that she decided to leave behind her leadership position in the State Senate to join the gubernatorial ticket because she felt a need to help out. She wants to take her experience in the legislature, in county government, and in business, and bring it to an administration that speaks for working Hoosiers.

She closed by saying that she believes in John Gregg, and believes he will bring us together as Hoosiers.

After the applause died down, Gregg stepped back up to the microphone to relate a statement made to him earlier in the day. He said, someone told me we’re the “Dream Team”, instead of the “Extreme Team”.

“Feel free to use that one,” he said, grinning.