Political Notebook

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Democrat tapped for state education board

Gov. Mike Pence appointed a Democrat to the State Board of Education Wednesday -- eliminating a possible violation of state law.

According to Indiana Code, no more than six of the 10 members on the governor-appointed board may be from the same political party. Pence said six Republicans, two Democrats and two independents serve on the panel.

But a review by The Times found that Daniel Elsener, one of the claimed independents, is likely a Republican.

Voting records show Elsener cast a ballot in Republican primary elections nine out of 10 times since 1994. He voted in the 2000 Democratic primary. He also has donated thousands to Republican candidates and business groups.

Pence's office on Wednesday confirmed that Republican member David Shane resigned his seat on the board to serve as chair of the Indiana Region 5 Works Council.

The governor appointed Democrat Gordon Hendry to take his place.

Hendry is First Vice President of CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc., where he serves as the Midwest regional leader of the company's Public Institutions and Education Solutions Group.

Prior to joining CBRE, Hendry led Indy Partnership -- an organization focused on economic development in 10 regional counties in central Indiana.

Hendry also served as the Director of Economic Development under Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, a Democrat, focusing on workforce and business development in Indianapolis, and, earlier, as an attorney at Ice Miller.

"I am pleased Gordon Hendry has agreed to serve on the State Board of Education," Pence said. "His leadership experience, commitment to public service, and work with both education and economic groups will be a critical asset to the State Board of Education in the years ahead."

To contact Niki Kelly email her at nkelly@jg.net or follow her on Twitter @nkellyatJG.

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