Analyst: Move To Ivy Tech Would Be Smart Political Move For LG Ellspermann
The top job at Ivy Tech is open and Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann has emerged as a candidate. Governor Mike Pence is encouraging her to seek the position, a shift that would have notable effects less than a year before the gubernatorial election.
Sue Ellspermann has almost an ideal resume to lead Ivy Tech. She has a doctorate in industrial engineering and a corporate background in the private sector. She’s led a research center at the University of Southern Indiana and has half a decade’s worth of government experience. And as political analyst Ed Feigenbaum notes, the Ivy Tech presidency could be a good spot from which to run for higher statewide office a few years down the road.
“This certainly would allow her to get around the state, build relationships with folks in the business and academic community, build her name ID among younger voters and among those who are just entering the workforce,” he says.
The State Democratic Party suggests the governor is pushing out his second in command because he and Ellspermann disagree about the religious freedom legislation. But both Pence and Ellspermann’s offices deny such a rift. And Feigenbaum says the LG’s departure could create a beneficial opportunity for Pence and “give him the opportunity to add someone to the ticket who could patch up his political problems with constituencies which he needs to regain.”
Feigenbaum says the best timing for Pence would be if Ellspermann leaves before the state party convention in June, allowing the governor to name a replacement without a convention fight.