September 17, 2019 at 11:54 am EDT | by Chris Johnson
Tech entrepreneur seeks to become Indiana’s first out governor
Josh Owens seeks to become Indiana’s first openly gay governor. (Photo courtesy of the Josh Owens Campaign)

Pete Buttigieg isn’t the only out gay person from Indiana with lofty political ambitions.

Josh Owens, a tech entrepreneur who leads one of Indiana’s fastest growing companies where employees earn a minimum of $50,000, has launched a bid to become his state’s first openly gay governor. His campaign website is here.

A Democrat who’s CEO of SupplyKick, Owens filed paperwork for Indians’s 2020 gubernatorial race on Monday.

“I’m running for governor now because I believe in an Indiana where teachers are paid what they deserve and where all are welcomed, respected and protected,” Owens said in a statement. “We need a leader who will ensure our state budget, policies and laws reflect a bold and inclusive vision for collective Hoosier success.”

Key components of Owens’ platform include increasing teacher salaries and eliminating textbook fees for public school students; increasing the smoking age and decriminalizing marijuana; enacting statewide LGBT protections into law; and strengthening background checks for gun purchases.

Owens is 34, but wouldn’t be Indiana’s youngest elected governor. Evan Bayh was 32 when elected in 1988 and James Ray was 30.

In addition to being CEO of SupplyKick, Owens serves on the boards of TechPoint Indiana, Indy Chamber, the Orr Fellowship and previously chaired the Indiana Charter School Board.

Owens has competitors for the Democratic nomination. Woody Myers, a black millionaire venture capitalist and former Indiana health commissioner who gained notoriety defending AIDS patient Ryan White, announced his candidacy in July. Other Democrats considering a run include State Sen. Eddie Melton and State Rep. Karlee Macer, according to the Indianapolis Star.

The filing deadline in Indiana is Feb. 7, 2020. Whomever obtains the Democratic nomination will face off in the general election against Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb — who’ll be difficult to unseat as a Republican incumbent in a “red” state.

A lifelong Indiana resident, Owens grew up in Shelbyville where his parents and family still live. Owens graduated from Wabash College in Crawfordsville and later earned his master’s degree in economic history at the London School of Economics. Josh and his husband Andy live in Indianapolis.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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