INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Job creation is the top priority for Republican Governor-elect Mike Pence and he's changing the structure of state government to help move it along.
Governor Mitch Daniels combined the Department of Commerce with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, a public/private agency that has been criticized for a lack of transparency. Pence will keep the IEDC but will revive the Commerce Department as a stand alone agency in state government.
The governor-elect on Thursday named California executive Victor Smith to be the new Commerce Secretary. Fort Wayne businessman Eric Doden will head up the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
"These will both be cabinet level positions in my administration," said Pence.
Pence also demonstrated some sensitivity toward charges that the number of jobs created during the Daniels administration didn't match the numbers used in jobs announcements.
"We'll be seeking resources," he said, "to advance the transparency at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation."
State Senator Mike Delph (R-Carmel), who filed legislation seeking more public disclosure in economic development efforts, says it's a positive sign.
"It's good news. I'm happy for it," he said. When asked if it might eliminate the need for legislation, he said, "Perhaps."
More than anything, Pence wants people to know that there's a new approach that takes effect on his first day.
"We're going to meet with the bi-partisan leadership in both parties, talk about this session of the General Assembly," he said, "and then our other meeting of the day will be with our economic development team."
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