Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers speaks at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s quarterly meeting on June 28, 2023. (Photo from Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Flickr)
Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers announced Monday that he’s stepping down from his post, fueling speculation that he will enter the governor’s race.
Chambers will leave the job effective Aug. 6, at the conclusion of his two-year term.
“The last two years as Indiana’s secretary of commerce have been an incredible journey and even more rewarding than I could’ve imagined,” he said in a statement. “I am thankful for the opportunity to work alongside the amazing team at the IEDC and Governor (Eric) Holcomb in our determined efforts to grow the Hoosier economy.”
Chambers signed a two-year contract with the state when he accepted the cabinet-level position in June 2021. A longtime real estate developer, Chambers was appointed secretary of commerce by Holcomb following the resignation of Jim Schellinger.
His departure hints at a possible run for governor in 2024. Should he make a bid, Chambers joins an increasingly crowded Republican field that already has five announced candidates.
That includes U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and Fort Wayne businessman Eric Doden — all of whom have a head start on fundraising. Former Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill officially entered the race last week, too. Jamie Reitenour also has set up a campaign finance account.
Chambers did not specify Monday whether a gubernatorial run is his plan, however.
“As my two-year commitment comes to a close, I believe we all can say we are proud of what we’ve accomplished these last 24 months,” Chambers said.
Chambers and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation pointed to “historic results” under his leadership, as well as “unprecedented statewide distribution of capital investment” to the tune of more than $30 billion in committed capital expenditures from companies looking to expand or move their operations to Indiana.
He also oversaw the initial developments of the LEAP Innovation District — Indiana’s attempt to compete with the North Carolina Research Triangle, deliberately crafting a “high-tech” corridor along I-65 in Boone County, roughly halfway between Indianapolis and Purdue University.
“While there is more work yet to do, I am proud to depart this chapter of public service, leaving behind an overflowing pipeline of future-focused, high-wage industries exceeding $100 billion in potential capital investments, and I’m confident that after my August 6 departure, the team at the IEDC can and will continue the progress of the last two years unabated,” Chambers continued.
Holcomb said in a statement Monday that he will decide on the next leader of the IEDC “sometime” after Chambers steps down.
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