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Politics & Government

Lt. Governor candidates square off at State Fair

Lt. Governor Debate
Brandon Smith
Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana's drought and the ethanol industry took center stage as the running mates in this year’s gubernatorial race took shared their views Wednesday at the Indiana State Fair in their only scheduled debate.  

As severe drought impacts most of Indiana, a debate over where the corn that does survive should go exists not just in the state but across the country.  And the ethanol industry is a major part of that debate.  Up to 40 percent of U-S corn crops could be needed to fulfill the federal government’s mandate for ethanol usage.  

Libertarian Party candidate Brad Klopfenstein says despite ethanol’s significance in the state, that level should fluctuate when corn production drops – and prices skyrocket.  

GOP candidate Sue Ellspermann says a Pence-Ellspermann administration recognizes the important role ethanol plays in Indiana’s economy.

“There’s a balance that we can achieve in using biofuels,” Ellspermann said, “as well as being able to keep up with foods and feed and all the other needs that are out there.”

Democratic candidate Vi Simpson says improving distribution and expanding markets for ethanol is a key to the industry and says she and running mate John Gregg are ready to stand up to oil companies to accomplish that.