INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said the cure for the country's ills are more likely to come from state capitals than Washington, D.C., delivering an uncompromising defense of states' rights in his speech Friday at the NRA lobbying arm's leadership forum.
He thanked the organization for choosing to hold their annual meetings in Indianapolis this year.
"Indiana's always a good decision, because Indiana's a state that works," he told the crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium, noting its balanced budgets, fast-growing labor force and school choice program and recent moves to cut taxes.
"The preservation of our freedoms is on the march because of freedom-loving Americans like you," he said. "We're preserving our freedoms in this state and in this nation, and I commend you for your stand."
Mr. Pence asked attendees to consider "state-based reform and federalism in our effort to renew our land" in a speech that included quotes from Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and Thomas Paine.
The former congressman said that if he only had 12 years left to live, he'd want to live it as a member of Congress "because that was the longest 12 years of my life."
"But the truth is while Indiana and many other Republican-led states are working, Washington, D.C.'s not only broke — it's broken," he said. "The longer I serve as governor of this great state, the more convinced I am that the cure for what ails this country will come more from our nation's state capitals than it ever will from our nation's capital."
He said that efforts to reform government in D.C. should not end, but encouraged a redoubling of efforts to advance freedom in "every state in the land."
"Despite what some might think in Washington, D.C., our state governments are not territorial outposts of the national government," he said. "The states are the wellspring of the American Experiment."
"Defending freedom in our states, our schools, our homes, our businesses, is never easy," he said. "To every freedom-loving American in this place, and all the card-carrying members of the NRA across this land, we say stay in the fight. Hold the banner of freedom high, just like we do here in Indiana."
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