GREENFIELD — Brad Chambers, a businessman running for Governor in 2024, recently shared on Nov. 15 his protect and serve plan for the state if elected governor.
Chambers said this plan is to make Indiana a safer place to live by focusing on pillars such as instituting mandatory minimum bail for violent and repeat offenders, enhancing and strengthening qualified immunity, and creating regional, mutli-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional task forces to tackle the fentanyl epidemic and more.
“How do we get our arms around the needs of our law enforcement community and our first responders? How do we get them the tools they need to protect the public? And that’s what the focus is today,” Chambers said. “These are hard jobs, and they are important jobs to our quality of life, and it is incumbent upon us to make sure they understand that we understand they are hard jobs.”
This plan also looks to focus on mental health and expand behavioral health centers, much like the state legislature worked on this past year with House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1006.
Chambers said he was happy to see HEA 1006 because, everywhere he’s been traveling, he is hearing about mental health challenges and how it is also a challenge on the frontlines of public safety.
With HEA 1006 approving free mental health facilities, Chambers said they now want to help fund those facilities, evaluate and expand even more.
Chambers said that something that is hitting everywhere including Hancock County is opioid deaths, specifically from fentanyl. According to a report done by the Daily Reporter in March 2023, “nationally and in Indiana, over 70% of the deaths were caused by fentanyl and other synthetic opioids” and that “statistics from the IDOH say 15 people died in Hancock County due to any type of drug overdose in 2022.”
Chambers said that D.C. politics is not addressing the borders and is creating pressure on states individually, like Indiana.
“We have to now spend state resources to protect our borders and protect our citizens from things like fentanyl and opioid death, so that’s why I think it’s important to have a multi-disciplinary, multi-jurisdictional regional approach,” Chambers said.
Chambers also said that these overdoses should be treated as homicides and root out who’s behind the distribution of the drugs.
Another plan that Chambers introduced approximately a month ago is the safe online plan, which consists of tactics and tools to protect Hoosier children from online danger and ensure age-appropriate education online.
Key factors Chambers wants to focus on include requiring stricter age verification, enhance and expand online data protections for children, enforce penalties on online companies that fail to prevent Hoosier children from accessing pornographic material and ensuring age-appropriate education about online dangers.
Chambers said he released the online safety plan first because “there is nothing more important than our children.”
“We have an increasing percentage of kids that are progressing … The online plan is just an element of the overall environment for a child’s ability to learn,” Chamber said.
In the online safety plan, it states that along with age restrictions, profiles of youth also be required to set their profile pages to “private” which is “aimed at preventing cyberstalkers and cyberbullies from using information on a child’s social media account to potentially locate, insult, harass, bully or otherwise harm the child.”
To follow up on the enforcement of the new regulations, a part of the safe online plan would be to enforce penalties to online companies that do not restrict specifically pornographic material from Hoosier children.
Chambers addressed that with the safe online plan, he realizes that it is more than just a one-man job. Chambers said that he would have a team of people to work together, legislature and more, to enforce these new policies.
Chambers plans to release more policy strategies, roughly about every three to four weeks. Some of those policy plans include topics such as economic development and education.
Chambers said that so far traveling around the state has been going well and that the policies he is creating are in response to the many things he sees as he travels.
“What you’re seeing in our policy rollouts is really reflective of the sentiment out here as I drive around the state and listen to Hoosiers and their concerns,” Chambers said.
Chambers is running for Indiana governor against seven candidates as of Nov. 16 — five Republicans, one Democrat and one Libertarian.
For more information on Chambers’ serve and protect plan and safe online plan, visit chambersforindiana.com.