Lawmakers Ready For Meet-and-Greet, Start of Session

For some, the start of the Indiana General Assembly’s 2011 session is a time to meet new faces. For others, it’s a continuation of work already being done.

Peggy Welch and Eric Turner

Photo: Bill Shaw/WFIU-WTIU

Peggy Welch (D-Bloomington) talks on the House floor with Eric Turner (R-Marion).

For some veteran lawmakers, the start of the Indiana General Assembly’s 2011 session is a time to meet new faces.  For others, it’s a continuation of work already being done.  When the 2011 session gavels in on Wednesday afternoon, it’ll be a largely ceremonial happening for Columbus State Representative Milo Smith, who’s already working to change state calendars as a way to save money.

“Why do we have to have a city election that isn’t on every other year when we’re electing members of Congress?  So I’m proposing that we move those city elections to the same time we hold the congressional elections, which is also county government,” he said.

Smith’s plan would create a one-time three-year mayoral term for those city leaders who win this November’s elections, so that the next elections take place in 2014.  Smith’s fellow Ways and Means Committee member, Peggy Welch of Bloomington, said she wants to take time to learn more about her new, mostly Republican, House colleagues.  Even though she once worried about House Democrats being marginalized as they fell out of the majority, Welch says she’s been encouraged by bipartisan actions on the part of incoming Speaker Brian Bosma.  Still, she said she’ll keep a watchful eye on the new GOP leadership.

“One of the things that I will be watching closely – and I would hope that citizens will be watching – is that as there is new leadership that they will be willing to govern and not just be ideologues,” Welch said.

Welch points to Bosma naming Democrats to head two committees as an act of good faith on the part of the Republicans.  Wednesday is the first official meeting day of the 2011 session and new members will be sworn in by Governor Daniels on Thursday.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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