Vice President Mike Pence's fellow Republicans took a number of steps Thursday to undo his policies, just weeks after the former governor left Indiana for the White House.
His handpicked successor and former lieutenant governor, Gov. Eric Holcomb, began the day with a news conference where he announced that he was canceling contract negotiations to lease state-owned cellphone towers to an Ohio company. The Pence administration had struck a tentative deal with the company and promised it would cover the cost of more than $50 million in bicentennial construction projects he initiated.
Holcomb also pardoned Keith Cooper, who was wrongfully convicted of robbery nearly 20 years ago, and declared a disaster emergency for an East Chicago neighborhood where residents have been forced to relocate because of lead contamination.
Pence had declined to pardon Cooper before leaving office, insisting that he exhaust his legal options despite resounding evidence of his innocence. Pence's refusal to exonerate the 49-year-old Chicago man came despite a pardon recommendation from the Indiana Parole Board and an online petition urging Pence to clear Cooper's name that had collected more than 100,000 signatures.
Pence also had rejected a request for a state disaster emergency declaration from the city of East Chicago in December. His office said at the time a declaration wasn’t needed because federal and state agencies were already addressing the situation.
Holcomb's decision to change directions on those issues are the latest indication that his approach to governing may be more pragmatic and less ideological than that of his predecessor.
You can read the rest at the Indianapolis Star.