Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Gregg Email Sends Mixed Campaign Message CAPITOL BUREAU

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Gregg Email Sends Mixed Campaign Message CAPITOL BUREAU

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - At least in writing, high-profile politicians generally say what they mean to say. They pay people to hash out statements carefully, and then personally approve those messages before they are blasted out to the public.

That's why it was so strange that John Gregg, the former Indiana House speaker who is the Democratic candidate for governor, found himself last week in one of those forehead-slapping moments we've all had when a text message or email comes across the wrong way.

It was his statement on Indiana's new right-towork law, supported by Republicans and opposed by Democrats, that prompted two days of backtracking and explaining.

Here is what Gregg's campaign emailed to reporters Wednesday afternoon, in full: "It's time to move beyond this divisive issue. Indiana needs a governor and a Legislature that show up for work every day and works together with one focus - creating jobs, whether it's for a union or nonunion workplace.

Because in the end, it doesn't matter if you're in a union or not - if you get laid off, you're not bringing home a paycheck."

When you unpack that, brush away the fluff and focus on the context, it's easy to see why some Democrats were irritated by what they saw as a rebuke.

His comment came hours after thousands of pro-union protesters took to the streets of Indianapolis, specifically pledging that they would not "move beyond this divisive issue" and would instead stay motivated to seek retribution in November's election.

He used a phrase - "show up for work" - that has come repeatedly out of the mouth of Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma as he blasted Democrats for boycotting the House last year and this year in hopes of stalling the right to work bill.

And his comment that jobs are necessary, no matter if "it's for a union or nonunion workplace," seems to disconnect from Democrats who have said union jobs are essential to boosting the pay and benefits of all workers in Indiana. Gregg's statement read like an attempt to distance himself publicly from the right-to-work issue and the Democrats who boycotted the House because of it.

"I thought us Democrats were supposed to be on the same page for this issue? …

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