For on his fifth day as Indiana's 50th governor, Mike Pence came to the Putnam County seat to lead a jobs roundtable Friday afternoon at Crown Equipment Co. on State Road 240.

"This is really my first day on the road (as governor)," the 53-year-old Pence noted as he joined Crown Plant Manager Scott Spear for a quick tour of the recently expanded forklift manufacturing plant the governor called a "spectacular facility" on the city's East Side.

Greencastle was also privy to Pence's very first campaign stop, back on a warm Saturday morning in June 2011, when he greeted a breakfast crowd at Putnam Inn after announcing his intention to run for governor only a day earlier in his Columbus hometown.

"It's wonderful to come to a community like Greencastle and feel the excitement," the governor told the Banner Graphic. "And I appreciate being able to hear about it from the local business leaders themselves.

"I felt very strongly that before departing for the inauguration activities in Washington, that I take the opportunity to come out and spend time with the people that are making it happen."

The apparent affinity for Greencastle and Putnam County wasn't lost on Pence aide Chris Crabtree.

"And when we campaigned for Republican legislators back in 2010," Crabtree said, adding to the firsts for the local community, "our first stop was in Greencastle for (District 44 State Rep.) Jim Baird."

Pence's message has changed little from the start of the campaign trail to his first week in office. He still believes Indiana is on the verge of an era of virtually unprecedented growth and opportunity and is excited to be a part of it.

"Frankly, what I heard here today," the governor said, "is that while Indiana is poised for significant growth, we still have work to do."

Pence took note that some local company officials cited issues with government intrusion and red tape.

"We have to maintain a pro-business environment," Pence said, telling the Banner Graphic that when he delivers his initial State of the State address on Tuesday night, he'll call his first budget "a jobs budget."

He also pointed out that the first two orders he signed as governor were to create ethics officers for all agencies and to impose a moratorium on new regulations with a goal of "clearing out some of the redundancies of workplace safety and the environment."

Pence enumerated the six goals comprising his Roadmap for Indiana he has laid out for his cabinet as:

-- Increasing private sector employment.
-- Attracting new investment in Indiana with emphasis on manufacturing, agriculture, life sciences and logistics.
-- Improving math and reading skills of elementary students.
-- Increasing graduation rates.
-- Improving the quality of the Hoosier workforce.
-- Improving the health, safety and well-being of Hoosier families, especially children.
Attracting new investment, Pence noted, is something the Putnam County industries represented in the Crown Equipment Co. conference room have excelled at recently.

"As we have seen here at Crown and with some of the other business represented here, that's an important issue," he said. "Indiana is manufacturing. Indiana is agriculture," he said, stressing a return to those age-old economic ideals upon which the Hoosier State was built and once prospered. "I've always been a believer in 'you oughta dance with who brung ya,'" he said. "This is no ordinary time in our state," Pence assured. "We have no choice but to remain bold and be innovative."

One of those innovations, he suggested, could be restoring technical and vocational career training in "every Hoosier high school."

"With a few happy exceptions," the governor added, "most of our communities have backed away from what we used to call 'industrial arts.' Now, by and large, we just don't have it (in our schools.)"

Complimenting Mayor Sue Murray and the business leaders present Friday on creating a productive climate for job creation and economic growth locally, Pence called the one-hour visit "most invigorating."

"You are all part of a real success story here in the Hoosier State," the governor praised. "Greencastle is a place people are talking about."

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