INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Governor Mike Pence addressed a controversial conference of lawmakers, lobbyists and corporate executives Friday afternoon.
During the 43rd annual American Legislative Exchange Council has been playing host to its annual conference in Indianapolis the past three days. Organizers say it is a great venue for exchange ideas on conversative-backed issues of limited government and free markets.
But opponents argue that ALEC is a secretive group – one that won’t disclose its members and allows business executives and lobbyists to meet behind closed doors with lawmakers and hammer out potential legislation. Model policies, ALEC officials say, that could potentially become law in the states.
Pence used the opportunity Friday to brag on Indiana, including the state’s large school voucher program, and HIP 2.0 – the state’s alternative to Medicaid expansion. He also mentioned about tax cuts brought about during his tenure in office, the state’s $2 billion budget reserves and Indiana’s AAA credit rating.
“We in Indiana – I think are a story of what common sense conservative leadership can do in a very short period of time,” Pence told the ALEC conference during a luncheon. “Ten years ago we found the condition of most Midwestern states were described as the rust belt. It seemed like our economy was struggling under heavy taxation and regulation.”
Pence said “common sense” conservative values would help “right the ship” of the nation – and he argued the Trump-Pence was the answer.
He said he watched Hillary Clinton’s speech Thursday night during the final night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
“And it’s quite a contrast to what we’ve seen at the national level. It really is incredible.
Last night, there was another speech on television. I stayed up pretty late watching it. But what we heard was more of the same,” Pence said.
The American Legislative Exchange Council conference where Pence spoke has not come without controversy, I-Team 8 found.
Lawmakers also get scholarship money form private Alec donors to attend the meeting.
Mike Pence has been a supporter of ALEC for some time. He gave a speech before an ALEC in 2013 where he talked about federalism, free markets and limited government.
Friday’s speech marked the first major speech he has given before lawmakers in Indiana since accepting GOP VP nomination.
Friday morning he also took part in a motorcycle rally that benefited the Indiana National Guard.
Pence later met in his statehouse office with members of his cabinet. It’s not clear what was discussed. The meeting was only open briefly to reporters for a photo opportunity. Pence took no questions as he left the JW Marriott nor was he made available to reporters afterwards.