by Eric Doden
I am running for governor because I believe Indiana must be a state where all 92 counties thrive. To achieve this vision, we need a new approach to growing our economy that doesn’t leave our smaller, rural counties behind. Indiana invests more than $1 billion annually in economic development programs. However, we are missing a strategy that ensures adequate investment reaches communities with populations under 30,000 residents – that is 2 million Hoosiers statewide.
Instead of focusing on investing across all communities, the state of Indiana is currently pursuing an “all-in” strategy on large projects aimed at attracting Fortune 500 corporations to our largest communities. The state has launched a multi-billion-dollar project known as the “LEAP District” in Boone County. To support the project, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) has pursued a plan that requires piping millions of gallons of water a day to the Boone County LEAP Project from the greater Lafayette region.
The decision to divert natural resources from a smaller region to support a larger one demonstrates very little regard for, or belief in, our small counties and towns. This attitude is a continuation of a trend of moving resources away from our smallest communities and into larger, higher population regions. The approach to this project and the water “study” that IEDC released have lacked both independence and transparency. On a matter of such significance to the taxpayers of Indiana, I am deeply concerned.
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