Powering Tomorrow: How Indiana’s Shift to Advanced Manufacturing and Clean Energy is Revolutionizing the Economy

James Dozier and Lori Weigel

Investments in advanced energy manufacturing and infrastructure continue to play an important role in Indiana’s economy. Recent events and survey research indicate that Governor Eric Holcomb recent actions send a message to the nation and the world that Indiana is open for business.

Last year, Governor Holcomb made his case to the 35,000 attendees of the COP 27 climate talks in Egypt. His attendance was not political, but practical. In a time of great demand for manufacturing and innovation to solve our climate challenges, the Governor is leveraging Indiana’s unique advantages to secure new investments that are creating jobs and securing the state’s economic future.

Historically, the Holcomb Family’s roots run deep in Indiana. The governor’s great-grandfather was a blacksmith for nearly six decades, from the 1880s until the Second World War. It was a time when horses began ceding the roads to cars and trucks as a primary means of transport. Soon after, Indiana emerged as a national leader in automobile manufacturing.

Three generations later, Eric Holcomb became governor, receiving the most votes of any statewide official in Indiana history. Less than one year into being reelected, 47 foreign-owned businesses committed to relocating or growing in Indiana. That same year, private sector companies committed a record-breaking $22.2 billion in capital investment and Forbes ranked Indiana the best state in the country to start a business.

A central component of attracting international investment and boosting regional competitiveness has been Gov. Holcomb’s commitment to showcasing Indiana as the “Crossroads of America” with smart investments in modern infrastructure. Twice in the last four years, CNBC ranked Indiana number one in the nation for infrastructure. Egypt was one of 14 international trips Holcomb has made as governor. All told, he’s visited more than 20 nations to date as a means of actively seeking to build global relationships and attract investments in economic growth.

While at COP 27, Gov. Holcomb met with General Motors Co. and agricultural companies such as Corteva AgriScience. He even delivered the opening address for a plenary session focused on fuel cell technology and electric vehicles, highlighting Indiana’s investments from companies in this field such as Stellantis NV, Samsung SDI Co., Cummins Inc., and Toyota Motor Corp. Holcomb has noted that the old dichotomy Republicans have had on climate change as an either-or proposition on economic growth is false. Following the conference, he said, “It’s not either [choosing] the economy or the environment. It can be both.”

The Governor’s perspective is grounded in good policy that is getting results for Hoosier families and workers. What’s equally notable is that his policy agenda also illustrates a firm grasp on public attitudes in Indiana. A June survey commissioned by Centerline Liberties found that 84 percent of registered voters in Indiana say they support the state government taking action to reduce the carbon pollution that contributes to climate change. Nearly two-thirds of Indiana voters (63%) believe Congress should continue to fund recent laws to improve America’s energy future and upgrade our electric grid, including a majority of Independents (65%) and a plurality of Republicans (41%). A majority of Indiana voters (59%) also say they are supportive of the Governor taking continued action to reduce carbon pollution.

Effective state policymaking is predicated on navigating competition with regional neighbors and also national economies worldwide. Engaging key audiences of world business and government leaders is an opportunity to cultivate new investments that will help sustain economic growth. By maintaining Indiana’s national and international stature as a leader in energy infrastructure investments and carbon reduction, Governor Holcomb is proving that economic prosperity and competitiveness go hand-in-hand with a cleaner environment.

Lori Weigel is the Principal of New Bridge Strategy, a Republican polling and research firm. James Dozier is the Founder & Board President of Centerline Liberties.