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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News
5:54 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Healthy Indiana Plan Renewed

Credit www.in.gov

Governor Mike Pence announced Monday that the current version of the Healthy Indiana Plan will live  on for another year. The state still awaits word  on its proposed healthcare expansion plan known as HIP 2.0.

The Healthy Indiana Plan, the state’s health insurance program for low income Hoosiers, serves about  60,000 people. The federal government renewed HIP for another year late last week. 

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News
12:27 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Program Incentivizes Pregnant Women to Quit Smoking

Credit babyandmetobaccofree.org

Indiana is trying to reduce infant deaths by offering financial incentives to help pregnant women stop  smoking. The efforts are to lower the state’s infant  mortality rate, which one of the worst in the country.

Indiana’s infant mortality rate fell below seven deaths per 1,000 infants in 2012 for only the second time in the state’s history, and internal state Department of Health data shows it rising back above that rate last year.

Department of Health Commissioner Jerome Adams says addressing the  problem is complex.

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Veterans
3:34 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Organization Works to Reduce High Veteran Unemployment

The National Organization on Disability has put together several guides for businesses on hiring and retaining veterans.
Credit Courtesy / NOD

Nearly half of all military veterans returning to the workforce leave their jobs in the first year. But one organization, the National Organization on Disability, is helping employers focus on retaining, not just recruiting, veterans to the workforce.

The unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans in Indiana is more than double the state average. Nationally, the turnover rate for veterans returning to the workforce is about 50 percent in the first year, and about 75 percent within two years. 

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Politics & Government
5:18 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Coats Optimistic About GOP Senate Majority

Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana.

Republican U.S. Senator Dan Coats says the GOP’s capture of the Senate will make all the difference for his party. That is, if lawmakers handle their new leadership the right way.

Coats says Republicans have been incredibly frustrated the last few years as bills sent from the GOP-controlled House were blocked by a Democratic majority in the Senate, often without debate. 

The Hoosier Senator says the victories won in this month’s election can allow the GOP to advance its alternatives to President Obama’s proposals.

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Election 2014
4:34 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Despite Losses, Pelath Optimistic About Dems' Future

Indiana House Minority Leader Scott Pelath spoke to reporters Thursday about the future of the Democratic party.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says his caucus took a step back in 2014 after losing two seats but promises 2016 will be a very different election.

House Republicans grew their supermajority from 69 to 71 Tuesday.  Minority Leader Scott Pelath says while he wasn’t expecting huge gains, he had hoped to chip away at the GOP’s lead.  And he says responsibility for those losses rests with him.

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Politics & Government
4:26 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

House Republicans Choose Leadership for 2015

Indiana House Republicans have a new member in their leadership for the first time in 12 years. The GOP voted on party leadership Wednesday.

Cicero Republican Eric Turner is set to vacate the House seat he won in Tuesday’s election.  Turner had been Speaker Pro Tem since Brian Bosma became Speaker of the House. 

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Election 2014
2:10 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

GOP Sweeps Statewide Offices with All-Female Ticket

Secretary of State Connie Lawson was reelected Tuesday night in what became a GOP sweep of Indiana's statewide offices.
Credit Courtesy / State of Indiana

State Republican Party Chair Tim Berry called Tuesday’s election “Ladies Night” as all three female GOP statewide candidates earned emphatic victories.

A little after 9:00 p.m. Tuesday, Governor Mike Pence took to the stage at state Republican Party headquarters in downtown Indianapolis.  Speaking to a crowd already buzzing with positivity on a day that was shaping up to be big for the GOP, Pence told them it was a historic night.

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Election 2014
3:43 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Low Turnout Expected at Hoosier Precincts Today

Less than a third of the number of Hoosiers who voted early in 2012 have turned out ahead of Election Day this year, but experts say the potential impact of expected low voter turnout is unclear.

Only about four percent of Hoosiers cast an early ballot by Friday – that’s compared to 22 percent in 2012, and 14 percent in 2010.  Voting in the May primary was at an historic low. 

But political analyst Ed Feigenbaum says low turnout doesn’t necessarily help either Republicans or Democrats.

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Election 2014
4:56 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Party Leaders Differ on What Will Drive Hoosiers to the Polls

With the fall election coming Tuesday, Indiana’s Democratic and Republican Parties are working hard on direct voter contact in an effort to get people to the polls.  But party leaders have different ideas about what issues they think should be at the forefront of voters’ minds.

Indiana’s 2014 general election lacks a big ticket race – such as president or governor – and arguably lacks a marquee issue, after the proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage failed to make its way onto the ballot. 

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Politics & Government
5:18 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Legislators Push for Action in Reducing Teen Pregnancy

Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

Lawmakers are urging the General Assembly to act soon to help reduce teen pregnancy in Indiana, as the state’s teen birth rate is higher than the national average.

Teen birth rate is the number of live births per one thousand teens age 15 to 19.  Indiana’s rate is about 33 per 1,000 teens, with the national rate at about 29.  That’s compared to the teen pregnancy rate, which measures the number of pregnancies per one thousand teens, which includes births, abortions, still births and miscarriages. 

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