Indiana residents are hopeful that their former governor can use his new influence as vice president to help the Hoosier state — but an expert warns that could be wishful thinking.
“I sure hope he can help Indiana out, because Indiana needs some help — especially in the education department,” said Crown Point resident Andy Kapitan.
Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said he believes Pence’s presence in the White House will benefit the state.
“I know that he’ll recognize that his responsibilities are national … (But) I’m sure it’s not going to hurt to have one of our own in a position that important.”
Kevin Brinegar, the president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, said he has a personal connection to Pence that goes back to the 1980s, when his wife and Pence were friends at Hanover College in Indiana.
By the 1990s, Brinegar had become a lobbyist with the Chamber of Commerce and was a regular guest on Pence’s radio, which aired on small AM radio stations throughout Indiana.
Brinegar said he will not abuse the personal connection, but is confident Pence’s presence in the White House will help the state.
“He knows our state. He knows our industry base. He’ll look to help us when he can, but it will be in a very appropriate and ethical way,” Brinegar said.
St. Louis University law professor Joel Goldstein, an expert on the office of vice president, cautioned residents to curtail those expectations.
He said Pence’s duties may not allow him to help his home state much.
So what should Indiana’s residents expect with one of their own serving as vice president?
Goldstein said Pence could throw names into the mix for government jobs or federal appointments, like appellate court appointments.
“Typically, people who the vice president knows — maybe from their home state — end up in positions in the executive branch,” Goldstein said. “And each of those people, to the extent that they care about Indiana, will also bring certain benefits to Indiana.”
And there are some potential intellectual benefits for the state as well.
“Vice presidents have left their papers,” Goldstein said. “Biden is going to have an association with the University of Delaware. Mondale has had for many years taught at the University of Minnesota. Those are all benefits.”
Michael Puente is WBEZ’s Northwest Indiana Studio reporter. Follow him on Twitter at @MikePuenteNews.