Ritz Vows to Fight For LGBT Rights in Announcement Speech

INDIANAPOLIS (WOWO): Education will be her main platform, but state Superintendent Glenda Ritz touched on other issues during her official entry into the 2016 governor‘s race. 

Ritz is the third Democrat in the race, and her announcement outside the Career Center at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis was brief – less than five minutes. 

In addition to another criticism of the now-defunct Center for Education and Career Innovation (CECI), the agency Ritz claims was used by Governor Pence to usurp her power as superintendent, Ritz said she would work for what she called real jobs in the state, “support essential industries and encourage technological innovation that will drive economic growth for years to come,” Ritz said. “Under my leadership, the state will work with all facets of business and industry, union and non-union…to act on this shared vision.” 

Her most specific policy statement touched on the legislative fight over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which critics saw as an effort to allow businesses to claim the use of religious beliefs while discriminating against the LGBT community. Ritz called the fight “a disaster.” “We must respect the personal and civil rights of all of Indiana‘s citizens and bring forward legislation that respects the rights of all Hoosiers,” Ritz said. 

Ritz had previously said she was considering a run because of actions from Pence and the legislature during this year‘s session. Until then, she had insisted she would run for re-election as state superintendent. Whoever wins the superintendent‘s race in 2016 will no longer be the automatic chair of the State Board of Education thanks to the new law that reconstituted the board, leading to the appointment of five new members. Ritz said her election to the governor‘s office would lead to “leadership that listens to all sides and respects the diversity of our great state.” 

Republicans wasted no time in taking on Ritz. “Glenda Ritz does not have a successful track record of leading those in her own department, let alone managing contracts or implementing effective policies,” said Jeff Cardwell, chairman of the Indiana Republican Party. “Hoosiers have time to decide who will be Indiana’s next leader, and I’m confident they will vote to keep our state on the right track of growth, opportunity and fiscal health.” 

Pence will officially announce his re-election bid later this month at the GOP‘s spring dinner. Joining Ritz in the campaign for the Democratic nomination are 2012 nominee John Gregg and state Senator Karen Tallian.