An Op-Ed from Dr. Woody Myers

It’s time for accountability.  It’s time for scandal-free leadership.

In the short two months since my announcement that I’m running for Governor, Hoosiers have seen numerous scandals and missteps by our state government that have me very worried about the direction Indiana is headed.  Worried for our children, our teachers, and our state workers.

When I announced my candidacy I said, “For far too long we’ve been satisfied with ‘good enough’.”  Our political leaders have accepted the status quo when we should have been aspiring for much more.  Our strategy must change.  I believe that the “good enough” approach is simply no longer good enough for Indiana.

The most recent public scandal was the news that Governor Holcomb’s second-in-command at the Department of Child Services was caught sending inappropriate and cringe-inducing text messages to a college intern.  This man was allowed to resign despite the fact that the intern had appropriately complained to human resources.

The same thing happened at the Indiana National Guard.  Their highest-ranking commander was accused of intimidation and retaliation of a contractor who reported an alleged extramarital affair between the commander and a subordinate.  Instead of immediate termination, Governor Holcomb allowed him to resign.  He will reportedly retire with full benefits.  He should have been fired.

None of these individuals were punished by their employer, the State of Indiana, in the way their victims deserved.  Sadly, the job of uncovering the truth was left to the media and the court system.  

We face many other problems that, from a leadership perspective, are equally troubling.  

The statewide ILEARN test results have been released and the facts are disturbing. Nearly two-thirds of all Indiana students in grades 3-8 did not pass the test. At least $45 million wasted as school districts contend they cannot be sure the test is an accurate measure of anything- student, teacher or school performance. 

Additionally, at least $40 million dollars of taxpayer money was given to the online Indiana Virtual Education, Inc., a for-profit education company that is now accused of lying about school enrollment and is under federal investigation.

And let’s not forget the scandal at the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs. Money meant for those who bravely served our country and their families was allegedly misappropriated and $775,000 was reportedly spent on high-end resorts, casinos, and personal childcare.  

Where is the oversight?  Where is the leadership?  Where is the outrage from our legislature?  The politicians who are responsible for the authorization and appropriation of hard-earned Hoosier tax dollars remain silent in the face of these scandals and most still support Governor Holcomb.

This is an absolute failure of a state government that refuses to be held accountable for harmful actions.  I never thought I would long for the days when things were simply “good enough.”  One thing is clear – Indiana needs a change.

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