Brandon Smith

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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Politics & Government
3:30 pm
Fri July 31, 2015

State Clears Planned Parenthood in Investigation

Governor Mike Pence says the state’s investigation of Planned Parenthood was important in the wake of what he calls appalling remarks by senior officials of the national health care provider.

Pence ordered the State Health Department to investigate the abortion provider two weeks ago in the wake of videos allegedly showing national Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of aborted fetal tissue, which is against the law in Indiana. 

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Politics & Government
5:08 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

Pence Names a New Head of IEDC

Gov. Mike Pence (left) introduced CSO Artchitects CEO Jim Schellinger (center) as the new head of the IEDC Wednesday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence is reaching across party lines to fill an open seat in his administration.  Pence announced on Wednesday Democrat Jim Schellinger will head the state’s economic development agency.

Schellinger, who’s served on the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s Board of Directors since Pence took office, will take a leave of absence from his role as CEO of the Indianapolis company CSO Architects.  The Hoosier Democrat ran for governor in 2008, losing in the primary.

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Economy
2:37 pm
Wed July 22, 2015

State Unemployment Rate Falls to Seven-Year Low

Indiana’s unemployment rate is at its lowest level in more than seven years, falling below five percent in June.

The Hoosier State’s unemployment rate decreased to 4.9 percent last month, the first time it’s been below five percent since February of 2008.  June marks the fifth consecutive month the rate has declined, and since January of 2013, only one other state – Rhode Island – has decreased its unemployment rate more than Indiana. 

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Kids Count
3:56 pm
Tue July 21, 2015

State Falls in Child Well-Being Rankings, But Data Still Show Improvement

The annual Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation was released Monday.
Credit Annie E. Casey Foundation

Indiana is losing ground compared to other states when it comes to children’s overall well-being.  That’s according to new data from the Annie E Casey’s Foundation’s Kids Count report.  But the Indiana Youth Institute says the drop in rankings isn’t as bad as it sounds.

In the 2014 edition of Kids Count, Indiana ranked 27th in children’s overall well-being.  This year, that dropped to 32nd. 

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Election 2016
6:18 pm
Mon July 20, 2015

Attorney General Zoeller to Run for Congress

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced Monday he's running for the U.S. House seat being vacated by Rep. Todd Young.
Credit Lauren Clark / WFIU News

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is making his first bid for federal office, announcing Monday he will join a crowded field seeking to replace 9th District Congressman Todd Young.

Zoeller says, as Attorney General, he’s repeatedly battled what he sees as overreach by the federal government, defending Indiana’s right to make its own decisions on everything from EPA regulations to the Affordable Care Act. 

The southern Indiana native says he’s running for Congress to continue that battle.

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Military
7:28 am
Mon July 20, 2015

Pence Allows Indiana Guardsmen to be Armed

Gov. Mike Pence (center) and Indiana Adjutant General Courtney Carr (far right) announced the decision to arm Indiana National Guard members Sunday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence says he wants all Hoosiers to know that, beginning Monday morning, members of the National Guard will be armed and able to defend themselves.

Governor Pence says the attack on a military installation in Tennessee that left four Marines and a Navy sailor dead made the Indiana National Guard’s new policy necessary and appropriate. 

He says soldiers and airmen with handgun permits can carry their personal guns at all National Guard facilities around the state.

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Courts
3:08 pm
Fri July 17, 2015

Pence Makes First Nomination to Indiana Court of Appeals

Gov. Mike Pence (left) named Marion County Judge Robert Altice (far right) to the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday.
Credit Flickr / Mike Pence

Governor Mike Pence has made his pick to fill a vacancy on the Indiana Court of Appeals – the first such appointment Pence has made in his two and a half years in office.  His selection, announced Friday, is Marion County Judge Robert Altice.

Altice has been through this process before – three times he’s been nominated to fill an Appeals Court vacancy.  And as Altice put it, the third time was the charm. 

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Politics & Government
5:07 pm
Thu July 16, 2015

State Eclipses $2.1 Billion in Budget Reserves

Gov. Mike Pence and State Auditor Suzanne Crouch closed out Indiana's 2015 fiscal year Thursday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence Thursday proudly touted Indiana’s continued fiscal strength as he closed the books on the fiscal year.  But that strength has Democrats wondering why Pence continues to order state agencies to cut their budgets.

Indiana finished its 2015 fiscal year with a $210 million surplus, helping increase budget reserves to more than $2.1 billion.  But state agencies reverted $133 million, meaning if the governor hadn’t required agencies to send any money back, the state still would’ve had a surplus. 

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Iran Nuclear Deal
5:42 pm
Tue July 14, 2015

Iran Deal Gets Mixed Reaction from Hoosier Lawmakers

U.S. Sen. Dan Coats says President Obama's announcement Tuesday morning did not reassure him that the agreement reached with Iran was a good one.
Credit Courtesy / Dan Coats' Office

Indiana Senator Dan Coats says he’s “profoundly skeptical” of the nuclear agreement announced Tuesday between Iran and a group of nations led by the U.S. It’s an agreement on which Congress will have a say.

Coats, who serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, says he will carefully review the details of the deal before rendering a final opinion.  But he says he’s harkening back to a deal President Clinton made with North Korea – an agreement which ultimately resulted in that country obtaining nuclear weapons.

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Politics & Government
5:09 pm
Tue July 14, 2015

Employee Sues DCS Over High Caseload

Credit Courtesy / State of Indiana

A Department of Child Services case manager say she’s handling way too many cases, putting children’s lives at risk, because the agency won’t hire enough people.  Now, the ACLU is taking the state to court over the issue.

Indiana law mandates that DCS must have enough caseworkers so that one employee doesn’t supervise more than 17 children at a time.  Case manager Mary Price says her caseload is 43 children – too many, she says, to effectively handle. 

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