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Indiana Commemorates Bicentennial Statehood Day

Brandon Smith
Indiana Public Broadcasting

2016’s Statehood Day celebration looked a lot like those in years past: there was the choir singing “Back Home Again in Indiana,” an actor playing President Benjamin Harrison, and a student reading her winning submission from the annual essay contest.

This time, it was Jillian Stemler of New Albany, for her entry “Bicentennial Travels.”

“It was fun to celebrate Indiana’s birthday by traveling," Stemler says. "In the future, there might be a new state park to explore or maybe Indiana’s first female governor – me.”

This year’s celebration, the Bicentennial, was different, too. For one thing, the governor presiding over it, Mike Pence, is also the Vice President-elect.

“But let me say, my favorite title will always be husband, father and Hoosier – and that will never change," Pence says.

And addressing the crowd of students from around the state, Pence implored them to study hard and reach for their dreams, promising them Indiana’s next milestone will belong to them.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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