EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb spoke at the Southwest Indiana Chamber's luncheon.
The Governor answered questions and spoke about upcoming state projects and plans including the I-69 corridor project, how to incorporate convicts back into society, and the opioid epidemic.
The meeting brought together leaders from all over southwest Indiana to hear what the governor had to say, as well as voice their own concerns about projects facing their local communities.
"This is a really great opportunity again for us to relay the issues that we have that we're trying to advocate for to make southwest Indiana the best part of the state that we can make it," said Justin Groenert the Director of Public Policy for the Southwest Indiana Chamber. "Again to hear directly from the governor is a great opportunity for both sides to kind of work together and hear how we can be helpful for each other."
Two of the major projects the governor spoke on were incorporating convicts back into society, by using their time in prison to train them for jobs once they are granted their release. The governor says that so far the results he's seen have all been positive.
"If you're an offender, incarcerated, and we get you connected with a training program whether it be welding or soon to be coding, we're getting 100% placement," said Governor Holcomb.
The governor says that the impact this kind of training could have is not limited to just the family, it could span generations of family members and create better futures.
"That's generational impact, and when you have personal conversations with them and they say I'm not going to let my children fall into the same situation that I found myself in because now I have a lot more than hope. I have a secure future," said Holcomb.
The second major project the governor hit on was the I-69 corridor, referring to it as a "crown jewel project that's about to become a reality."
The governor and local officials say that the section of I-69 between Bloomington and Martinsville could be completed as early as August. Following that, the emphasis will shift to finishing off section six of the project and working on the bridge between Kentucky and Indiana.
Holcomb said that this project is bigger than just connecting a couple of states or connecting Evansville to Indianapolis. He said when the project is complete, it will connect countries not just cities.
"This project is bigger than just connecting the capital city to Evansville, it's really connecting three countries with one another that share important import-export relationships," said Governor Holcomb. "I've always said that I-69 will not just make this quadrant the crossroads of America, it's going to make it the crossroads of the western hemisphere."
Saturday, Governor Holcomb is expected to speak at the GOP convention that's being held at the Ford Center.