Indiana Lt. Governor Ellsperman plans to resign

Published: Feb. 9, 2016 at 1:44 PM EST
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It was announced Tuesday that Indiana Lt. Governor Sue Ellsperman plans to resign in the near future.

“Well it’s unprecedented in my tenure and my knowledge of history,” said Ind. Sen. John Broden, (D) South Bend, referring to the fact that the planned departure is not related to some emergency. “We had a situation where Governor Frank O’Bannon passed away while in office and that sort of lead to obviously Lt. Governor Kernan becoming governor by constitutional direction.”

Today, there was no emergency—no tragedy—and some felt that the announcement was a bit premature.

Ellsperman has not yet resigned although she said she would. She’s quitting because she’s interested in becoming the next president of Ivy Tech College—although that’s a job she has not yet landed.

“I have since applied for the position so I’m formally in and I’m looking forward to the trustees in their time making that decision so, as we go forward, that left the need the governor has for a good Lt. Governor by his side working for all of Hoosiers.”

“I think she would make a great president of the Ivy Tech system from what I know about the Lt. Governor but it does sort of make a mockery of the search process if this is already a done deal. I don’t understand why they’re going ahead with this search if it’s a charade,” said Sen. Broden.

Governor Mike Pence today made public his pick for a replacement: former Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb.

Holcomb is a Navy veteran who attended Hanover College.

Once official, Holcomb’s nomination will have to be approved by the Indiana General Assembly. That’s another reason for the timing of today’s announcement. State lawmakers will end their 2016 session in mid-March and Pence would like to see Holcomb’s nomination approved by then.”

“It really is about making an orderly transition here; we’d like to get Eric familiar with the General Assembly. We think that’s important to be moving forward and their process will take what time it takes,” said Ellsperman.

One of the duties of the Lt. Governor is to preside over the Indiana Senate. As a former state senator, that’s something Ellsperman was familiar with, although it’s something Holcomb has not experienced.

Statement from Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann

Over the past three and one half years, I have had the special honor to serve my fellow 6.5 million Hoosiers as their Lieutenant Governor serving alongside a great Governor and friend Mike Pence. He invited me to be his partner on this journey and I am so very proud of all that we have accomplished to benefit the people of Indiana.

In each of our lives, not everything lines up in perfect timing. In my case, the unique opportunity to apply for the office of President at Ivy Tech presented itself. As previously stated, I was approached by friends of Ivy Tech about the position to which I gave thoughtful consideration. I then took this opportunity to the Governor and we agreed that this might be an even better "seat on the bus" for me as leading Ivy Tech could impact workforce development and the economic future of our state in a very significant way.

The Governor and I fully respect the careful process that the Ivy Tech Trustees are following to make this critically important decision. In the same way, I respect the needs of governing through transition, the responsibility of the Legislature, and the election process. For those reasons, I have decided that now is the appropriate time to plan my transition out of the office of Lieutenant Governor.

I am pleased that Governor Pence has selected Eric Holcomb as his recommendation to succeed me as Lieutenant Governor. Eric has had a distinguished career in public service with two of Indiana’s outstanding leaders. He understands State government from his work as Governor Daniel’s deputy chief of staff and the Federal government as Senator Coats’ state chief of staff. Further, his service in the Navy demonstrates his commitment to our nation. I look forward to working with Eric as we implement a seamless transition over the coming weeks.

I am grateful to Hoosiers and Governor Pence for entrusting me with the office of Lieutenant Governor and its statutory responsibilities. The opportunity to serve this great state of Indiana has been a true honor and one that I pass along with great pride and even higher expectations to Eric Holcomb.

From the office of Governor Mike Pence:

Indianapolis – Governor Mike Pence today announced his intention to nominate Eric Holcomb as the next lieutenant governor of Indiana, following current Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann’s announcement that she will resign to pursue the position of president at Ivy Tech Community College.

“I’m pleased to announce my intention to name Eric Holcomb as my nominee for lieutenant governor for the state of Indiana,” said Governor Pence. “I have known Eric for nearly 20 years, and his integrity, character, and experience make him uniquely qualified for this new role. He is a man of character and distinction and I am confident he will serve Hoosiers well as we continue our work to make Indiana a great place to live, work, and raise a family.

“I would like to thank Lt. Governor Ellspermann for her service and unmatched enthusiasm for our state. Sue has served Hoosiers and our administration with integrity and distinction. Throughout her tenure she steered numerous economic development initiatives including convening a Rural Broadband Working Group to pursue increasing internet connectivity throughout our state and leading an agricultural trade mission to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. She also served as Vice Chair of the Indiana Career Council.”

“Janet and I could not be more excited and grateful to Governor Pence for this opportunity that will allow me to champion the kinds of policies that continue to strengthen our great state, ” said Eric Holcomb. “As we build upon our state’s economic momentum and confront the complex challenges before us, I look forward to working alongside Governor Pence as Indiana’s lieutenant governor to craft Indiana solutions to improve the lives of Hoosiers and move our state forward.”

“It has been a special honor for me to serve alongside a great Governor and share in all that we have accomplished to benefit the people of Indiana,” said Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann. “As I look forward to other opportunities for service, I am pleased that Eric Holcomb will become the next Lt. Governor. Eric has a distinguished record of service to his nation and his State. He understands State government from his work as Governor Daniels’ Deputy Chief of Staff and is ready to be a valuable partner with Governor Pence leading our State to even greater months and years ahead.”

Under Indiana law, the lieutenant governor serves as President of the Indiana Senate and Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. The lieutenant governor also manages six state agencies including the State Department of Agriculture, Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Office of Tourism Development, Office of Defense Development, Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. Additionally, the lieutenant governor chairs the Indiana Counter Terrorism and Security Council.

The Governor’s nomination must be approved by majority votes in the House and Senate.

Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today released the following statement regarding the announcement by Indiana Governor Mike Pence that he has selected Eric Holcomb to serve as Indiana’s next lieutenant governor:

“Governor Pence’s selection of Eric Holcomb to serve as Indiana’s next lieutenant governor is a brilliant choice.

“Eric is a solid conservative, who brings a wealth of experience gained through his decade of service to Governor Daniels, his leadership of the Indiana Republican Party and as my state chief of staff. Eric is known and respected by Hoosiers throughout our state, and he is dedicated to working with Governor Pence to continue the progress Indiana has made over the last decade and to making our state a better place.”

Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) made the following statement today regarding the announced changes in the Office of Lieutenant Governor:

“It’s been a pleasure working with Sue Ellspermann over the past several years. As Lieutenant Governor, she plays a constitutional role in presiding over session in the Indiana Senate, and she has always carried out this duty with great integrity and grace. She is an intelligent, capable and effective public servant and I wish her well in her new endeavors.

“Though I will miss working with Sue, the Governor has made an excellent choice in naming Eric Holcomb as his choice to assume the office of Lieutenant Governor. Eric is a highly competent and effective leader. He is a man of character, and I have a great amount of respect for him and his ability to get things done. I’m confident he will serve Hoosiers well.”

In reaction to Governor Mike Pence replacing Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann with Eric Holcomb, today Gregg for Governor Campaign spokesman Jeff Harris released the following statement:

“This is a direct reflection of the governor’s judgment and priorities. Mike Pence is shoving aside an accomplished businesswoman, who hasn’t always agreed with his radical ideology, in favor of a longtime political operative who will be in lock-step with him. As Hoosiers learned a few years ago with the untimely passing of a sitting governor, a lieutenant governor must be ready on day one. And while Mr. Holcomb’s qualifications are unclear, what is crystal clear is that Mike Pence has once again put politics ahead of the best interests of Indiana.”