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.

Chris Light at English Wikipedia

Advocates of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is set to expire in a month, admit it’s a federal program most people have never even heard of. But its expiration could have significant effects on conservation in Indiana.

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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.