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EXCHANGE: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence in Alabama discussing opting out of Common Core (Video)

While Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was in Birmingham to speak at the Alabama Republican Party summer dinner, he sat down with Yellowhammer News CEO Cliff Sims to film an episode of The Exchange, Yellowhammer’s weekly interview feature.

Rather than releasing the entire interview at once, Yellowhammer will be rolling it out in pieces over the course of the next week, an approach we will be trying out with future Exchange interviews as well.

Sims pointed out that since becoming governor in 2013, Pence has implemented several reforms similar to those that Alabama’s new Republican leadership has pushed through, including expanding school choice and cutting taxes. But Sims also said that Pence has led Indiana to approach some issues differently than the Yellowhammer State, most notably Common Core and Medicaid expansion.

“You were the first governor in America to opt your state out of Common Core,” Sims said. “Why did you feel like that was important?”

“Before I was elected governor I served in the Congress for 12 years and one of the first bills that I opposed was No Child Left Behind,” Pence explained. “It represented the largest expansion of the federal government’s role in education since Jimmy Carter created the Federal Department of Education… I did that then, and I took the action in Indiana on Common Core that I took, because I believe education is a state and local function. I believe there’s nothing that ails education in my state that can’t be fixed if we give parents more choices and teachers more freedom to teach. So we withdrew from the Common Core National Standards… Now we have standards that are written by Hoosiers for Hoosiers, and as I like to say, they’re uncommonly high.”

Sims followed up by pointing out that Common Core proponents argue that Common Core was created by the National Governors Association and is not a Federal Program, and asked Pence if he really believes Common Core is “a Federal encroachment on a state issue — education standards.”

“I understand the genesis of the Common Core and the sincerity of the people who created it, I just really feel that a government that governs least governs best,” Pence said. “And when it comes down to those aspects of government that touch most closely on our families and on the future of our communities, education being chief among them, it’s just best that those policies — whether they’re standards, whether they’re curriculum, whether they’re textbooks — it’s best that those decisions and policies are established at the state and the local level.”

Check back throughout the week to hear Gov. Pence’s thoughts on Medicaid Expansion, whether or not he’s going to run for President in 2016, and more.

For more episodes of The Exchange, check out Yellowhammer TV.