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Schellinger woos local Democrats

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By Vince Luecke

Candidate for governor pledges to represent all Hoosiers

TELL CITY - The most common question asked of him on the campaign trail, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Jim Schellinger said Thursday, is whether he and his family will live in the official governor's mansion.

"It will be the nicest house I've lived in and I'll be proud to call it home," Schellinger said, taking a jab at Gov. Mitch Daniels' reluctance to move into the governor's official residence after he took office.

Schellinger, a native of South Bend and president of an Indianapolis architectural firm, spoke to Democrats Thursday at the Patio Steakhouse. The reception was hosted by Dean and Candy Boerste of Tell City.

Schellinger and former Congresswoman Jill Long Thompson are seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in the May 6 primary.

The winner will face Daniels in November's election.

Schellinger didn't mention his primary opponent by name but promised to represent all Hoosiers if elected governor, not just the powerful in Marion County.

"We live in the state of Indiana, not the state of Indianapolis," he said to another burst of applause.

Schellinger touched on a range of topics, but focused on how to better the lives of Hoosiers through education and employment.

"Indiana can do better," he said, pledging that if elected he will avoid the policies of Daniels that Schellinger said have hurt Hoosier workers, cut funding for education and rolled back protections for state workers.

Schellinger worked his way through college at Notre Dame, taking classes during the day and working at a tool-and-die plant at night and during summers.

"I always told myself that if given a leadership position, I would give everyone a voice," he said. Schellinger said he's done that as president of CSO Architects and will do the same as governor.

The firm was recently named one of the top five best places to work by the Indianapolis Star.

Schellinger put forth his economic-development proposals, Pickup Indiana Jobs Plan, last week. In it, he calls for the state to do more to promote work-force training and adult education. He also advocates more help for small businesses he said create two of every three new jobs in the state.

Schellinger also calls for Indiana to invest in "green-collar" jobs created by environmentally friendly businesses.

While Daniels enjoys announcing new employers who are moving to Indiana, Schellinger said, many Hoosier workers are suffering. Since Daniels was sworn in, the state has lost more than 27,000 manufacturing jobs and ranks fifth in the nation for personal bankruptcies, he told the crowd.

The state ranks 10th in the nation for the most home foreclosures, he added.

Education

Indiana needs a world-class public-education system that promotes lifelong learning. "Education can't just be K-6 or K-8 but pre-K to 80," he said.

In his opening remarks, Schellinger credited State Rep. Russ Stilwell for his hard work during the legislative session that recently ended. If elected, he also promised to issue an executive order giving state workers back the collective bargaining powers taken away by Daniels hours after he took office.

Daniels said collective bargaining for state employees would hinder making quick changes he said were needed.