A Current Q&A with gubernatorial candidate Brad Chambers


Brad Chambers, a Republican candidate for Indiana governor, stopped by Current Publishing recently for a discussion about what led him to run for office. Formerly a two-year appointee as state secretary of commerce and a longtime entrepreneur, Chambers said he has “an ambitious vision” for Indiana, but also recognizes he’s a political outsider. He is running in the May 7 primary election against experienced Republican politicians Mike Braun, Suzanne Crouch, Eric Doden, Curtis Hill and Jamie Reitenour.

During his two-year term as secretary of commerce, Chambers said he helped the Indiana Economic Development Corp. secure more than $33 billion in committed capital investments.

Prior to his political career, Chambers founded and served as president and CEO of Indianapolis-based Buckingham Companies. He has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

Chambers and his wife, Carol, are parents to a son, Nick.

Chambers answered the following questions from Current during his visit.

Question: What led you to formally declare your candidacy for governor?

Answer: “I believe in the potential of our state, and I’m comfortable being uncomfortable, getting outside (my) comfort zone. I believe, as a Hoosier entrepreneur, the state has been good to me and I believe in its potential, so I’m willing to step outside my business arena and into the political arena, and I aspire to lead the state into a more dynamic economic future.”

Q: What is a key issue you’ll focus on during your campaign and if you become elected?

A: “Financial security and financial opportunity are fundamental to every family … being able to build a good quality of life for every family is, too. … Indiana is great, but it can be even better, so that’s important.”

Q: What’s the biggest issue not being discussed thus far?

A: “It’s ever more important to protect Indiana from being infiltrated by (Washington) D.C. Indiana is great and it can be better, but it’s gotta continue to function based on Hoosier values. Protecting Indiana from D.C., politics is really important. (That means) we need to grow the economy, and then we can fix education. Our educational system is back-looking, not forward-looking.”

Q: What about the Indiana economy?

A: “During my commerce term, I brought in two industries that were never here, because I cold called them. … Go get what is good for Hoosiers, and that’s high-wage jobs in the (electric vehicle) business and in semiconductors. (They are) two new industries that pay really good wages, and they’re going to keep our college kids here. … It’s really incumbent on state leadership to do that. It grows our population, which grows our workforce, which continues to grow our economy. So, take the proceeds of a growing economy (and then) we’ve got to fix education. Our third-graders are not reading. Our literacy rate is going down. I’m not going to use the word crisis, but our growing economy … starts in third grade, and so I believe it’s highly urgent, bordering on a crisis, but highly urgent. … We’ve got more dollars coming in, but not the right amount of dollars going to educators. … Legislators are working hard on it, but there is no excuse. We’ve just got to deal with it.”

Q: What sets you apart from others running?

A: “The political arena is new to me. They’re career politicians. When you’re in the political system and you are political by nature … decision making is on the political clock, not on the strategic clock. I make decisions for the long-term success of ‘X’, and in this case, that would be the business of Indiana.”

Q: What is your policy on public safety?

A: “We have increasing crime rates. There needs to be greater regional collaboration (in) law enforcement. We need to support police officers. (Policing) is a hard job. Those guys rely on qualified immunity. You don’t put your name in the hat to become a police officer – a tough job to begin with — if you don’t think you have immunity from prosecution. And so, for someone to suggest that immunity should be revisited … it’s already affecting recruiting and it affects the ability of a cop to be offensive versus defensive … I’d like to codify it in state law. Also, there’s too much discretion on bail. …Then we have to deal with fentanyl, too. Fentanyl is the scourge of our country. … I have no optimism that the senators and congressmen can do anything bipartisan to fix it. We’re stuck with it for awhile until they do their job.”

Q: Should you win, what becomes of your company?

A: “It’s in good hands. I put a lot in place, and it was a really good exercise while I was commerce secretary, and they didn’t ‘crash the car.’ The campaign is a full-time job. Governor with a $30 billion budget is a full-time job.”

For more on Chambers, visit chambersforindiana.com.