United States Senator and gubernatorial candidate Mike Braun visited Brown County last week as part of his pledge to visit every county in the state.

Braun told the Democrat on Wednesday that he made a promise when he was first elected senator to visit every one of the 92 counties in Indiana every year. This is currently his sixth year fulfilling that promise.

“It’s important that I take time to listen and learn from Hoosiers across the state, so I can take their concerns with me when I fight for them in Washington,” Braun said. “This week, I’ve visited 19 counties and one of the topics I’ve heard about the most is the workforce, especially in rural counties. It’s been great to learn about the entrepreneurial solutions counties are taking, especially at the high school level to engage and retain local talent. Expanding access to workforce development is critical right now to address the nationwide skills shortage and fill American jobs. That’s why I introduced the bipartisan JOBS Act in the Senate, which would allow Americans to access federal Pell Grants for shorter-term job training programs, closing the skills gap and providing job training for careers in high-demand fields.”

Braun met with a dozen or so community members and leaders, including Republican Party Chair Mark Bowman, State Rep. Dave Hall and County Surveyor Tim Allen at Brown County Sugar Shack Coffee Café in Nashville to learn more about the county and discuss the future of his candidacy.

“We’re blessed to be in Indiana and on the side of the aisle I’m on now, we’ve got a golden opportunity,” Braun said. “It’s hard to see what happens on the federal side but here, there’s so much we can get done that will never get done and paid for at the federal level so it was a big moment of opportunity.”

Braun touched on a few of the larger issues he is prioritizing, including law enforcement, public safety, education, high healthcare costs, childcare, affordable housing and making high-speed internet accessible in rural areas.

“There has not been a dull moment in the five and a half years I’ve been in the Senate,” Braun said. “I’m coming back as an entrepreneur, I’ve had enough tutorial terms of legislation. Three years in the state house and probably six years at the big house. There are a lot of things we can do to make our state be a leader in solving a lot of these issues and I’m really looking forward to that.”

Wednesday, Braun also visited Bartholomew, Owen, Clay and Greene counties.

The Brown County Democrat asked local community members after the meeting about their overall impressions on Mike Braun as a gubernatorial candidate, here is what they had to say:

Mark Bowman, Republican Party Chair

“I love him as a gubernatorial candidate. He’s a businessman and a humanitarian. He’s very understanding of what he is dealing with and he has our best interest at heart.”

Duane Parsons, Jackson Township Precinct 3 Committeeman and Alcohol, Beverage and Tobacco Commission President

“I think he is down to earth. We’re human and he seems like one of the rest of us. He came up through the ranks, didn’t have it handed to him, he worked for it. He has our best interest at heart and best interest of the state versus himself. I think he’ll make a good governor.”

Kevin Allen, senior designer for water resources at Egis Group

“I’m very supportive of him. To have someone who signed the front of a paycheck to understand the business side of things. Having engagement in the rural part of the state is something really lacking.”