Candidates for Indiana governor set for 2nd debate

Local high school students got the opportunity to ask the candidates for governor questions Tuesday, September 27, 2016. (WISH photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP/WLFI) — Democrat John Gregg is expected to call for extending state civil rights protections to LGBT people, while Republican Eric Holcomb is likely to promote longstanding GOP fiscal policies when the candidates for governor square off Monday night in their second debate.

Libertarian Rex Bell was to join Gregg and Holcomb in a debate focusing on jobs and the economy. The hourlong meeting at the University of Indianapolis is expected to be televised to a statewide audience.

Gregg, who released his economic plan over the summer, has said he would work to repeal the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed into law last year, maintaining it is still hurting the state’s economy. The former Indiana House speaker also has said he would also update the state’s civil rights code to include protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Hoosiers.

But Holcomb, the current lieutenant governor who released his economic plan two weeks ago, has said he would not push for expanding the state civil rights laws.

Holcomb, whom Pence appointed as lieutenant governor in March, has said the state’s balanced budgets and strong reserves help attract business investment to Indiana. He touted those policies for helping drop the state’s unemployment rate to 4.5 percent in August, below the national mark of 4.9 percent.

Holcomb and Gregg did not confront each other much during an initial debate last week on education issues before an Indianapolis audience consisting mostly of high school students.

The meeting Monday night is sponsored by the Indiana Debate Commission and to be moderated by John Ketzenberger, president of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute. The commission said it would select some questions from submissions by members of the public.

The candidates have one more debate scheduled, on health and social issues. It will take place Oct. 25 at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville.

WLFI will live-stream the debate on