Thursday, September 05, 2013

More Than Three Dozen Join Gov. Mike Pence On Trade Mission To Japan

Gov. Mike Pence is leaving today on a 9-day trade mission to Japan accompanied by more than three dozen government and business leaders. The purpose of the trip, according to the governor's office, is to bring jobs and investments to Indiana. Yet Indiana taxpayers aren't paying for this so-called official trip. Instead, the trip will be paid through private donations to the Indiana Economic Development Foundation. The governor's office emphasizes that no tax dollars are being utilized. Pence's wife, Karen, and his daughter, Charlotte, are traveling with the 40-person delegation. According to the governor's office, Pence will personally pay for the travel expenses of his daughter. There are also three members of Gov. Pence's security detail that are accompanying the governor on the trip, whose expenses will presumably be paid by taxpayers.

Because none of the media reports are bothering to share with the public the names of those accompanying the governor on this trip, I'm providing the full list below. As I have persistently complained about Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard's privately-financed trips overseas, I'm highly critical of private businesses and individuals paying for our public officials' overseas travel. If the trip is for official government purposes, then taxpaying funding of the trip should be justified; otherwise, there is an appearance that persons can buy private access and opportunities with our elected officials by paying for these overseas excursions. We find the list includes the usual suspects of attorneys from big law firms which have incestuous relationships with state and local governments, along with representatives of: state-regulated public utility companies; banks; businesses that have been the recipients of state economic development grants and tax breaks; and state contractors. I will say that Gov. Pence's trip appears to have a well-defined mission, unlike Mayor Ballard's trips, which are quite obviously nothing more than junkets for him and his wife. Ballard had the opportunity to travel extensively when he was in the U.S. Marines but earned a very modest income that did not permit him and his wife to travel like he did when he was in the Marines after leaving military service. This became his number one priority to resume extensive travel overseas regardless of any value those trips provide to the public he is elected to serve after his election as mayor.

See the names of the delegation and schedule after the jump by clicking here.

Governor Mike Pence
First Lady Karen Pence
Charlotte Pence
Victor Smith, Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC)
Anthony Aaron, Ice Miller LLP
Steve Akard, IEDC
Kent Anderson, IEDC
Ron Arnold, Mayor, City of Elwood
Donald Babcock, NIPSCO
Bart Beal, Duke Energy
Robert Blough, Interactive Intelligence Group
Kumiko Brunson, Pioneer Realty
Kai Chuk, IEDC
Robert Cleveland, Indiana Michigan Power
Kathryn Ertel, Jennings County Economic Development Commission
Teddy Franklin, Mayor, City of Logansport
Brian Gildea, Indy Chamber
Jody Hamilton, Greater Lafayette Commerce
Katelyn Hancock, IEDC
Rebecca Helmke, IEDC
Jason Hester, Columbus Economic Development Board
Larry Ingraham, Ingraham & Associates, Inc
Michael Kern, Gaylor Inc.
Lawrence Keyler, McGladrey LLP
Jeffrey Knight, Old National Bank
Theresa Kulczak, Japan-America Society of Indiana
Lori Luther, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital
Cynthia Madrick, Cornerstone Environmental, Health and Safety, Inc.
Mark Miller, Cornerstone Environmental, Health and Safety, Inc.
Peter Morse, Barnes & Thornburg
Todd Mosby, Gibson County Economic Development Corporation
Jennifer Pavlik, Office of the Governor
Rick Pease, Independent Consultant
Melissa Reese, Ice Miller LLP
Roger Reeves, Interactive Intelligence
James Schellinger, CSO Architects, Inc.
Mark Sebree, Vectren Corporation
Michael Sheek, American Structurepoint, Inc.
Jeffrey Terp, Ivy Tech Community College
Greg Wathen, Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana

Here's the agenda for the trade mission:

Saturday, September 7

Governor Mike Pence and First Lady Karen Pence will travel by train to Tochigi Prefecture, Indiana’s sister state in Japan, where he will meet with Tochigi Governor Tomikazu Fukuda and commemorate the sister-state relationship. 

Sunday, September 8

The governor will attend the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference Executive Meeting and welcome reception in Tokyo. Pence is one of five Midwest governors scheduled to attend the conference.  

Monday, September 9

Governor Pence will address attendees at the opening ceremony of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference and meet with representatives from NSK Ltd. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. 

In the evening, the governor and first lady will attend the conference’s annual dinner. 

Tuesday, September 10

The governor and IEDC officials will conduct business meetings with prospective companies as well as companies that currently have operations in Indiana, including Mitsui & Co. Ltd., Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co., Ltd., Sony Corp. Mitsubishi Corp and Keihin Corp.                              

The first lady will tour Vera Bradley’s stores in Tokyo. Fort Wayne, Ind.-headquartered Vera Bradley is currently featured in 14 department stores across Japan. 

In the evening, the governor and first lady will host a Friends of Indiana reception. 

Wednesday, September 11

The governor, first lady and delegation will travel by train to Ota City. There, the governor will join leaders from Subaru to tour its campus and attend a luncheon hosted by the company. In the afternoon, the governor will meet with executives from Tao Industries and Shigeru Co., Ltd. 

The first lady will visit elementary and high school students in Ota City, the Japanese sister city of Lafayette, Ind. Prior to the trip, Mrs. Pence asked Lafayette third graders to draw self-portraits based on the theme, “Me Seeing My Favorite Things.” At Ota Elementary School in Japan, she will share the Lafayette students’ artwork and ask the Ota third graders to also create art based on the project’s theme. She will then bring back the artwork to the Lafayette students to complete the art exchange. 

Thursday, September 12

The governor will begin the day in Tokyo meeting separately with Mr. Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, president and chief executive officer of Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd., and Mr. Takanobu Ito, president and chief executive officer of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. The governor, first lady and delegation will then travel by train to Nagoya to meet with leaders from Toyota Tsusho Corp., Sugiura Seisakusho Co., Ltd. and a company currently considering investment in the Hoosier State. 

In the evening, the governor and first lady will host a reception in Nagoya for Japanese business leaders to learn more about Indiana. 

Friday, September 13

The governor will meet with leaders from Toyota Group companies including Toyota Boshoku Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and Toyota Industries Corp., Tsuda Industries Co., Ltd. and Aisin Seiki. 

Saturday, September 14

The governor, first lady and members of the delegation will return to Indiana from Nagoya.


Anonymous said...

Why does a hospital administrator from Muncie need to accompany the governor on this trip?

Lori Luther, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital

Wonder what she has up her sleeve.

Flogger said...

I read today in The Star where IEDC will provide United Airlines with minimum revenue guarantee during one year agreement. This has to do with non-stop flights between INDY and SF. IEDC placed $1.5M in a reserve fund. No payments will be made if the revenue from flights meets or exceeds minimum revenue guarantee. I did not find in the article what minimum revenue guarantee is.

The article is total BS about the essential need for a Non-Stop INDY to SF Flight. You might think if an Airline detected a need for Non-Stop flight it would have happened by now.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The SF daily flight deal was another handout out to ExactTarget, the spam e-mail business built on a questionable business model that is already collecting millions of dollars in public handouts. These clowns here in Indy actually tout a spam e-mail business as a sign of high tech growth in Indianapolis. We're the laughing stock of the high tech world.