Indiana House Democrats Seek New Role With GOP Supermajority

House Republicans picked up nine seats in the 2012 elections, putting them over the 67 needed to secure a quorum-proof majority.

Statehouse

Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU News

House democrats will have to rely on bipartisanship to move any of their agenda through the legislature.

Indiana House Democrats will face an uphill battle in the coming two years, as they face a Republican super majority for the first time in 40 years.

House Republicans picked up nine seats in the 2012 elections, putting them over the 67 needed to secure a quorum-proof majority. Michigan City Democrat Scott Pelath, who Thursday was voted his caucus’ leader, says House Democrats need to get back to basics.

“The role of the minority is to help when it’s for the good of the state,” he says. “The second role is to critique the business that the majority party is putting forward and the third thing is to articulate alternatives.”

Nearly a fifth of his caucus will be new to the Indiana House and Pelath says the freshman lawmakers will have to take on bigger roles than usual.

“Given some of the recent electoral changes, we simply just need to get better at what we do and we have people that are really committed to making sure that we’re effective at articulating our alternatives to the people of Indiana,” he says.

Pelath dismisses the notion that his caucus is now irrelevant, noting the Republican caucus, as large as it is, will now likely have divisions, making bipartisanship more important.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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