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Longest-Serving Female Representative In Indiana Dies

  • Indiana House of Representatives

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    Photo: Indiana House of Representatives

    Rep. Phyllis Pond sits in the Indiana House of Representatives.

  • Phyllis Pond

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    Photo: Indiana House of Representatives

    Rep. Phyllis Pond entered the state legislature in 1978.

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    Photo: House of Representatives

    State Rep. Phyllis Pond, R-New Haven, served 35 years in the Indiana House of Representatives.

Rep. Phyllis Pond, R-New Haven, has died Sunday evening after being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

Pond, 82, was elected to the state legislature in 1978 and planned to serve until Oct. 15, when her resignation announced earlier this month was set to take effect.

She has already decided not to run for re-election. As WANE-TV reported in August, Pond regretted not being able to run for a 19th term.

“I hate to give it up, but I knew I had to do it sometime,” Pond, the Republican representative for the 85th House District, said.

In the last six months, Pond said she’s developed some lung problems and now uses oxygen. At her doctor’s recommendations, she won’t run for what would have been her 19th term.

“Probably better not to be down there with all the germs and shaking hands with people and breathing that air at the Statehouse,” Pond said.

Pond’s more than three decades in the legislature makes her the longest-serving female representative in Indiana’s history.

“Phyllis was a revered colleague, a strong voice for her district and a compassionate conservative who always stood by her principles,” House Speaker Brian C. Bosma said in a statement after learning of her death.

Pond was a retired school teacher and made education one of her main focuses in the legislature, authoring bills such as the Primetime Education Bill, which capped kindergarten through third grade classroom sizes at 18 unless a part or full time teacher’s aide is provided.

The GOP has called a caucus for Oct. 8 to fill Pond’s seat.

Details on the representative’s funeral and memorial services have not been announced.

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