- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Incoming Gov. Eric Holcomb said he is “laser focused” on taking Indiana to the “next level,” but the Republican has yet to offer much more than platitudes about improving the economy, infrastructure and education while also combating the state’s addiction crisis.

That didn’t change Wednesday when Holcomb, who is Indiana’s current lieutenant governor, delivered his first major speech since November’s election victory over Democratic former Statehouse Speaker John Gregg.

“We have a lot of good things going for us, but we can’t take our foot off the gas. We have to put the pedal to the metal,” Holcomb said after the speech when reporters pressed him for specifics.

Holcomb said more details are coming after the start of the legislative session in January and he’s focused on “getting it right” before unveiling his agenda.

But GOP lawmakers are already talking about the necessity of crafting an austere two-year budget and have floated the possibility of raising taxes to pay for improvements to the state’s crumbling infrastructure. One lead Republican budget writer has raised doubts about expanding a low-income preschool program that is currently offered in five counties - jeopardizing an expansion Holcomb has supported.

Gregg tried to make the lack of clear policy details a campaign issue, though Holcomb said he’s “not losing any sleep” over it and noted that “the campaign trail turned out OK” for him.

One area Holcomb has offered limited specifics on is infrastructure, though he backs ideas that were already proposed or underway.

Holcomb said he would like to see U.S. 31, running north from Indianapolis to South Bend, built to the point where it is like an interstate. He would also like to see the state add another port in Lawrenceburg, a proposal first made by outgoing governor and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. He has also expressed support for completing construction of Interstate 69, a project that is currently underway. And he has reiterated a call from GOP leaders to develop and infrastructure funding plan that could cover the next 20 years.

“I’m chomping at the bit to get going,” Holcomb said. “I’m optimistic about taking these issues on.”

When asked if he was moving slower to roll out his agenda and make appointments than his predecessor, Holcomb said: “I don’t measure the past. I measure what we have instore for the future.”

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