Congressman Pence talks accomplishments, Indiana Lt. Gov rumors and more

U.S. Rep. Greg Pence, left, and Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers cut the ribbon for Pence’s new district office on Wednesday in Greenwood.

Noah Crenshaw | Daily Journal

GREENWOOD — U.S. Rep. Greg Pence, R-Indiana, has had a very busy summer.

Since June, Columbus-native Greg Pence has spoken at the presidential campaign launch for his brother, former Vice President Mike Pence and had three bills he’s co-sponsored pass out of the House. In the last few weeks, he’s also had his name floated as a potential candidate for Indiana lieutenant governor and opened a new district office in Greenwood.

As he returns to Washington next month, he and other members of Congress will face a possible government shutdown.

Pence sat down for an interview with the Franklin Daily Journal Wednesday following a ribbon cutting for his new district office in Greenwood. City officials, including Mayor Mark Myers, attended the ribbon cutting — with Pence and Myers cutting the ribbon.

New office

For a while, Pence and his staff have been looking at adding a district office in northern Johnson County — his fourth. Pence, who represents Indiana’s Sixth Congressional District and Johnson County, has offices in Columbus, Richmond and Greenfield.

Myers referred the congressman to the Greenwood City Center, where Pence had previously held office hours in the city council chambers.

Pence’s office is leasing a small space on the third floor of the building, which will have limited hours and part-time staffing throughout the week. Exact financial figures were not available, but the lease is not expensive, he said.

Having a presence in Johnson County and near the southside will allow Pence to let constituents know that he and his staff are there for them if they need aid, he said.

Crouch and Pence

Last week, staff members for Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, a candidate for the GOP nomination for Indiana governor, confirmed she had asked Pence to consider being her running mate as lieutenant governor.

The news was first reported in The Republic, the Daily Journal’s sister paper in Columbus. Pence did not comment for the story.

Pence, who is currently serving his third term in Congress, has not hidden his support for Crouch. He endorsed Crouch’s campaign for governor in May and made a $35,000 contribution to her campaign the following month — the largest single contribution he has given to any one candidate during his tenure in Congress, The Republic reported.

On Wednesday in Greenwood, Pence told the Daily Journal he is “probably the biggest supporter” of Crouch. He believes Crouch is the most qualified, citing her experience as an auditor and county commissioner in Vigo County, a state representative, state auditor and lieutenant governor.

“The lieutenant governor’s in the state of Indiana is much different than 90% of all other states. They have five departments, and she’s the president of the Senate,” Pence said. “That’s not the same for all, so she knows all the people in the House … all the people in the Senate.”

Crouch is not the only 2024 candidate Pence is championing. He is also supporting his brother, former Vice President Mike Pence, as he runs for the 2024 GOP nomination for president.

Greg Pence is “all in” with Crouch and hopes she wins. If Crouch does win, he doesn’t know what happens next, he said.

“I’m helping my brother and I’m helping her simultaneously and we’ll see what that brings,” Pence said.

Greg Pence did say he plans to file again for Indiana’s Sixth District and plans to continue focusing on continuing serving the people in his district.

Supporting his brother

Greg Pence is a big supporter of his brother Mike’s presidential ambitions and even gave opening remarks at his campaign announcement in Iowa. Mike Pence said this week he’s now met the polling and donor qualifications for the first Republican presidential debate later this month.

Greg Pence says his brother has the right disposition and experience to be president. Before he was vice president, Mike Pence was Indiana governor and spent 12 years representing Indiana in Congress — most of which was in Indiana’s Sixth District, now occupied by Greg Pence.

Throughout his life, Mike Pence has gotten to know world leaders and learned how both the legislative branch and the world works. He’s qualified, Greg Pence said.

“He knows how to be an executive. So I just think he’s the right guy at the right time,” Greg Pence said.

The brothers also talk at least once a day, and Greg Pence is planning to hold a fundraiser for him next week in Columbus, he said.

Sponsoring bills

While Congress is on an August recess now, Pence had some legislative accomplishments before the break began.

First, Pence’s Global Investment in American Jobs Act of 2023 bill passed the House of Representatives on a 386-22 vote in July. The bill directs the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to conduct an inter-agency review on ways to boost the global competitiveness of the United States to attract foreign direct investment and report findings to Congress.

The second bill, the Securing Semiconductor Supply Chains Act, also passed the House in July. The bi-partisan bill co-authored by Pence and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-California, is designed to strengthen federal efforts to expand domestic manufacturing of semiconductor chips.

The semiconductor bill prioritizes and stimulates countries like France, Canada and Mexico to bring manufacturing back to the U.S., he said.

“We want to bring the businesses back, Greenwood is a phenomenally growing area of Johnson County,” Greg Pence said. “It’s phenomenally growing, but some of the other counties in the district, they need businesses to come back.”

Both of the bills are focused on the reinvestment and re-shoring of companies back in the United States. They also facilitate prioritizing companies and countries that want to come here — though it does exclude companies from some countries, he said.

A third bill from Greg Pence, the Animal Drug User Fee Amendments of 2023, also passed the House in July. It would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to reauthorize user fee programs relating to new animal drugs and generic animal drugs.

Energy sources

Nuclear energy is another subject Pence, a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has spent a lot of time on this year. Earlier this week, he visited Purdue University to talk about new, smaller nuclear reactors and the growing demand for electricity, he said.

“A solution that we’d like to promote would be small nuclear reactors,” Pence said.

The power generated depends on how the reactor is made and the interaction of the uranium inside a nuclear reaction. But three small nuclear reactors could power an aircraft carrier for up to 50 years, he said.

“Let’s say down at Whiteland, they’re putting all in those new big box (warehouses) and everything,” Pence said. “So if you don’t have a lot of energy in that area, you literally could put a small nuclear reactor in that area that can facilitate the expansion and growth.”

In the fall, Pence expects there to be many hearings about the technology and its uses. Americans have a bad impression of nuclear power because of incidents at Marble Hill and Three Mile Island, where failures occurred, whereas in other countries the negative perception isn’t there, he said.

“It’s a huge opportunity,” Pence said. “Solar and wind is fine but it’s not sustainable and reliable.”

Possible shutdown

When Pence returns to Washington in September, he and the rest of Congress will be facing a possible government shutdown. Legislators have until the start of the fiscal year, Oct. 1, to act on government funding. They could agree to fund the government, or they could pass a stopgap measure until lawmakers in both chambers strike a deal, according to media reports.

If there were to be a shutdown, it would start in the House — where there is already a lot of division on what to do next, Greg Pence said. Even though lawmakers recently agreed on a debt ceiling bill, there are some in the House who think spending still needs to be lowered more, he said.

“I think they’re pretty serious about that,” Pence said. “If that’s the case, I think we’ll definitely delay, delay, delay accomplishing the schedule and that could lead to a shutdown if we don’t hit the timelines that we’re supposed to hit.”

He did vote in favor of the debt ceiling bill earlier this summer, which suspended the nation’s debt limit through 2025 to avoid a federal default while limiting government spending.

Lawmakers have to address some of the issues, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which he said are heading in a bad direction. To get people to talk about the looming shortfall in the near term, which they know is coming, forcing the conversation will be a benefit, Pence said.

The deficit is also a factor, and during the first six months of the year, the debt went up $1.7 trillion. It was projected to go up $1.2 trillion, he said.

In his eyes, there are two ways to fix the deficit. The first is to reduce spending, which a number of lawmakers are unmovable on, or to raise taxes, which many lawmakers also do not have an appetite for, he said.

“That’s where the adults have to come to the table and say, ‘You know what, we’ve got this problem. We have to fix it. We can’t just keep borrowing money,’” he said.

Rep. Greg Pence’s Greenwood District Office

Where: Suite 335, Greenwood City Center, 300 S. Madison Avenue.

Availabilty: Open during business hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

More information: Call 812-447-3647

Source: Office of Congressman Greg Pence