The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, September 17, 2019 2:00 pm

Gay business exec running for governor

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Josh Owens of Indianapolis has become Indiana's first openly gay candidate for governor.

Owens, 34, announced Monday that he will seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2020. He is the chief executive officer of SupplyKick, a company that develops digital advertising, marketing and distribution strategies for retailers.

He is the second announced candidate for the Democratic nomination, joining former state health commissioner Woody Myers. State Sen. Eddie Melton of Gary is considering running.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb plans to seek a second consecutive term next year.

Owens is a native of Shelbyville and a graduate of Wabash College and the London School of Economics. He is a member of the boards of the Orr Fellowship, the Indy Chamber and TechPoint Indiana and is a former chairman of the Indiana Charter School Board.

Owens said in an online campaign video: "I'm running for governor now because I believe in an Indiana where teachers are paid what they deserve, where health care is affordable for all Indiana families, where the economy works for all of us, where Hoosiers feel safe no matter where they are. And I believe in an Indiana where all are welcomed, respected and protected."

His candidacy statement said his priorities include increasing teacher pay, eliminating textbook fees for public school students, increasing the smoking age, decriminalizing marijuana, strengthening background checks for public and private gun purchases and extending protections against discrimination in housing and the workplace to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Owens is married to Andy Owens. Josh Owens' candidacy statement said he is the state's first openly gay candidate for governor, "but he hopes the campaign will be issues-based."

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said in a statement: "Josh Owens is a new voice as the process to select the Party's nominee for governor continues to play out. Hoosier Democrats look forward to learning more about Owens' campaign and plans for our state."

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