Gov. Mike Pence spent an autumn afternoon with a Warren County REMC board member, leading a town hall meeting and operating a combine — experiencing a short time in the boots of an Indiana farmer.
Pence held the community meeting in Fowler, Indiana, at the family farm of Bruce Buchanan, secretary-treasurer of Warren County REMC’s board.
Buchanan, who is heavily involved in politics in Benton County, said he met the governor at a state dinner. When an employee from Pence’s office called Buchanan saying Pence would like to host a town hall meeting in a rural setting, Buchanan offered his family’s farm.
At the community meeting, Pence sought harvest updates in addition to questions, comments and suggestions “to build on momentum in the state.” Benton County residents were eager to ask Pence about rural broadband access, teacher shortages, education policies and property tax rates in rural Indiana.
“There’s really no substitute for being out on the farm,” Pence said. “I just made a habit of … coming out in the harvest to get input from farmers and to see where we are.”
While Buchanan was expecting approximately 50 people, more than 125 people — including community members, FFA students, chamber of commerce leaders and more — checked in for the Oct. 23 meeting.
As a former congressman and now governor, Pence has held many town hall meetings, but he said he was overwhelmed by the turnout at the Buchanan farm.
“To have more than 125 people out, I think it reflects the commitment to the community and to the state of Indiana,” Pence said. “And I was very moved by that.”
Pence said he aims to have a town hall meeting once a month, but typically, only a couple dozen local residents attend.
After meeting with Benton County residents, answering questions and posing for photos, Pence joined Buchanan on the field.
The governor, originally from Columbus, Indiana, operated a combine on the cornfields with help from Buchanan. Pence harvested approximately five acres in the satellite-run combine and unloaded the grain on the combine into a cart.
Buchanan described the day as “neat experience.” He said spending the afternoon with the governor showed Pence’s true character.
Ellie Price is a communications specialist with Electric Consumer.