1 This will be your last legislative session. What do you anticipate for 2022?
I anticipate this to be a fast-paced short session. There will be a limited number of bills passed. I foresee less than previous short sessions. I have filed nine bills for my last session, so I am hoping one of them passes.
2 What are the high-lights of your time in Indianapolis?
I am thankful to have been in a position where I could make a positive impact on Hoosiers' lives.
I have always been a strong proponent of school choice, and I am grateful to have carried many bills that support a family's ability to choose where their children go to school.
I also have always advocated for protecting religious freedom, and sponsored a law that protects a student's right to voluntarily pray in schools and authored laws that allow students to receive academic credit for religious instruction and gives parents more oversight on what their children are taught.
With that said, I was grateful to have earned the National Charter School Award for making Indiana the best state for charter schools. I was also named the Most Influential in State and Local Government by the National Afterschool Association for creating the After School Network Program Fund, and the Legislator of the Year by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
3 A Gallup survey released this fall showed that 56% of Americans either have “a great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in their state governments. However, that's down from 63% three years ago and considerably lower than the 80% from 1998. Is it that people have developed a deep distrust of elected officials and agencies? Can this course be reversed?
National issues create a negative impact in Indiana, which ultimately affects citizens trusting our state government. If the federal government acted like the Indiana General Assembly, we would have more trust in state government throughout our state and most likely the country.
4 Redistricting is a contentious issue. Why not take it out of the hands of politicians and allow a bipartisan commission to decide?
Whatever type of commission you would implement, each member would have their own partisan opinion. No one is immune to partisanship. Legislators are elected and reflect the values of the voters, and if voters are unhappy with the job legislators do on redistricting, they can always vote them out of office.
5 What advice would you give to your successor, or to anyone who seeks to serve in the legislature?
There are many important aspects of being a public servant. You must have a service heart and do away with pride. Take time to get educated on key issues and try to get along with the opposition party, even with policy differences. Remember to be a better listener than a talker, and help cultivate strong constituent services. Lastly, if you serve Senate District 14, give priority to local activities over those elsewhere in the state and capital.