Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg announced State Senator Vi Simpson as his choice for lieutenant governor Tuesday.
The Ellettsville senator has served in the General Assembly for 28 years and has been the Senate Minority Leader since 2008. She also spent time as the Monroe County Auditor.
The Bloomington-area native briefly ran for governor in 2004 and again flirted with running last year. A pro-choice, pro-same sex marriage Democrat, Simpson differs on key issues with John Gregg, but that’s something she says strengthens them.
“John Gregg’s made it very clear to me he does not want a yes man and he knows I will not be,” Simpson says. “I have a voting record, you can all look it up, you know where I stand on these things. He didn’t want someone who was just like him.”
Simpson says she and Gregg appeal to different constituencies, and Gregg says that gives them a better chance at victory in November.
“There are so many Republicans that do not like the TEA party, that no longer feel that they belong to the Republican Party, that the Republican Party has left them,” she says. “And they’re going to come to us because we are in the middle and we welcome them.”
Gregg says Simpson is a person that had a passion for jobs and schools and working across the aisle like he did. He also says the state’s focus should be on creation of jobs in life science.
Bloomington Representative Matt Pierce says Simpson’s experience is what sets her apart from GOP candidate Mike Pence’s choice for a running mate.
“Senator Simpson better understands the mechanics of state government, has this institutional memory of what’s gone on with all these issues over the past years, and I think this gives her a much better handle on the issues and will make her a much more effective lieutenant governor,” Pierce says.
The Republican pick, Representative Sue Ellspermann, has served just one term in the Indiana House.
Because Simpson was up for reelection this year in the Senate, the party will select another Democrat to replace her on the November ballot.