Former Indiana agency head announces bid for Congress
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A former Indiana lawmaker and state agency head is announcing a campaign for Congress, billing himself as a “conservative business leader.”
Steve Braun, who led Indiana’s Department of Workforce Development until last month, filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Aug. 31, establishing his campaign committee. The Zionsville Republican is seeking the seat being vacated by current GOP Rep. Todd Rokita, who is running for the Senate.
“It’s been an honor working with Gov. Eric Holcomb and Gov. Mike Pence to improve career outcomes through workforce initiatives that create jobs and increase wages,” Braun said in a statement to The Associated Press. “As a conservative, I want to continue to use my experience creating thousands of private sector jobs to serve my community and country.”
A formal campaign announcement is expected soon. But by filing paperwork with the FEC, Braun can begin putting together a campaign and raising money.
With ties to both Pence and Holcomb, Braun could have formidable support from state party leaders. Diego Morales, a former gubernatorial aide to Pence, has also announced he is seeking the seat.
Braun, a Harvard graduate, has five adult children with his wife, Jennifer and has lived in Boone County for the last 20 years, according to his campaign. For most of his career, he was a business consultant who created his own firm. Braun was elected to the Indiana House in 2012, where he served two sessions until he was appointed to lead Workforce Development in 2014 by then-Gov. Pence, who is now the vice president.
While in the Legislature, Braun was among roughly two dozen Republicans who joined Democrats and voted to strip language from a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex civil unions and gay marriage.
That effectively killed the effort at the time, which was a key priority of social conservatives including Pence. That’s because state law requires the Legislature to vote for an identical measure during two separate legislative sessions before it can be forwarded to voters for final approval on the ballot. By voting to change the measure, Braun and others altered the language of the proposal, which was previously approved during a different session. He also voted against a final version of the measure.
Braun’s brother, Mike Braun, a current state representative is also running for a federal office. He announced his entry last month in the GOP primary for Senate, a field that also includes Rokita and fellow Rep. Luke Messer.
Steve Braun founded Braun Technology Group, later Braun Consulting, in 1990. The company developed data warehouse and business intelligence solutions for Fortune 1000 companies. At its height in 2001, Braun Consulting employed more than 700 employees in 13 offices across the U.S. The company was acquired by Fair Isaac Group in 2004.