WARSAW – A military veteran from Westfield is seeking to get his name on the ballot in hopes of challenging fellow Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb in next year’s gubernatorial race.
Brian Roth says he’s offering a different approach and is committing to serving only one term if elected. He’s also offering to donate his salary, if elected, to charity.
He is currently focusing on gathering the 500 signatures from registered voters from each of the nine congressional districts by Feb. 4 required to get his name on the ballot.
At the same time, Roth and his wife, Sharice, are crisscrossing the state, meeting with Republican leaders in hopes of drumming up support. On Tuesday, he visited with some party officials at the Latte Lounge in Warsaw. He’ll be back in Kosciusko County at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, for a campaign event at the Silver Lake Community Building.
During an interview on Tuesday, Dec. 3, Roth focused on more philosophical and leadership approaches rather than pitching specific proposals or criticizing Holcomb.
“We’re running more against the system than we are the governor. He just happens to be a product of the system,” Roth said.
Roth, 53, has 22 years of service in the Navy and the reserves. He and his family have lived in many places outside of Indiana over those years, but returned to central Indiana about four years ago.
The Roths own and operate a leadership consulting business, Employment 2 Deployment, which provides training and development.
He said he decided to run in August of 2015 – when Mike Pence was governor – assuming Pence would be re-elected in 2016 before stepping aside in 2020 and that the 2020 race would be wide open. But Pence withdrew his plans to run for governor when Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump selected him as his running mate.
Holcomb won election and is now seeking a second term.
Roth admits his future opponent is popular and that his race would be an uphill battle.
“But we still think that regardless of how popular you are that voters ought to have a choice and right now, they don’t,” Roth said.
Asked if he has any leading proposals, Roth mentioned the Indiana Department of Child Services, which has faced criticisms for failure to adequately provide services for children in its care.
Roth is not an advocate for pouring more money into the department.
Making changes at DCS is more of a role of the executive branch than the legislature, he said.
“It’s not necessarily legislation that’s preventing DCS from, in my opinion, supporting families and kids – it’s just the DCS,” Roth said. “It’s the way they function and maybe the lack of leadership.”
He said he believes families are the cornerstone of society.
“If society has problems, the root of that is we need to do better supporting the family. That’s not saying we believe more government involvement is good. We actually believe less government involvement is going to help families. There’s a lot of great organizations out there that support families and kids today. The challenge is, the government keeps getting in the way.”
Roth said he supports “in general” more pay for teachers.
“I would like to see the legislature not tell districts how to spend their money and let the districts figure out how to spend their money,” he said.