New legislative agenda has the solutions we need

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Lloyd Arnold
District 74
State Representative

I hope you are all keeping warm this week as the temperatures, at least as of last week, were starting to rise. The winter storm that dumped over a foot of snow in parts of Indiana, and subzero temperatures that soon followed, put a lot of strain on Hoosiers and brought schools, commerce and even the legislature to a standstill.

I want to extend a big thank you to all the plow-truck drivers, public officials or other people who kept the general public up-to-date and out of harm’s way. We’re fortunate not to have received the snow I saw on my way to Indianapolis, but now that everything is returning to normalcy, the 2014 session is underway.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Brian Bosma announced the new Republican legislative agenda, which focuses on a few key areas that will keep Indiana on the right path.
I’m excited about the tone that was set for the House this year as I know these issues are what matter most to Hoosiers and will keep our economy growing.

The top priority for me that was unveiled by the speaker as a part of our agenda is job creation and workforce development. We are focused on equipping Indiana’s workforce to have the skills to fulfill jobs currently available and in the future.

A lot of the major industries in our state, like manufacturing, logistics and engineering and computer technology are facing shortfalls of available workers that have the skills needed for the marketplace. We must deal with the growing skills gap if we hope to find a long-term solution to employment issues, and that will come through some educational partnerships that empower workers to acquire needed skills.

As we hear of new jobs in Indiana, rest assured I’m doing what I can to get them here in our district.

Having the skills and training necessary to excel professionally starts with a good academic foundation. More Hoosiers should have access to high-quality pre-school options.

Pre-schooling allows children to start their education in an encouraging, constructive environment and will improve Indiana families and communities for years into the future. Last week the House education committee passed HB 1004 that is a pilot program for pre-kindergarten. Thirdly, Indiana is the Crossroads of America, and we need to continue to bolster the state of our infrastructure so residents, tourists and businesses have more avenues for travel.

I am supportive of our caucus’ plans to increase funding for roads and bridge projects as our local and state roads could be in better shape to keep up with demand.

With over 1.7 million Indiana jobs reliant on our roads, it’s time to make them a point of pride in our state rather than an eyesore.

Finally, we are looking to limit the size and scope of government by repealing outdated and burdensome laws. Last session, we were able to cut 40 governmental boards and over 400 unnecessary appointments, but the job isn’t done. We need to continually look for ways to more effectively and efficiently provide government services with less of a tax burden placed on Hoosiers. These points provide a strong vision for this. I am looking forward to digging further into the details on these issues and making sure each law is in the best interest of our community.

As always, it is my goal to accurately represent the interests of District 74 and the state of Indiana. I look forward to keeping you up to date on my legislation as well. For more information, feel free to log onto http://iga.in.gov/.
Arnold represents Perry County in the Indiana House of Representatives.