Indiana state Sen. Ryan Mishler has been named the new chairman of the powerful Senate Committee on Appropriations.
GOP Senate leader David Long announced Monday that the Bremen Republican will take over for longtime chairman Luke Kenley, who is stepping down.
Mishler has been a ranking member of the committee for five years. He also chairs a school funding subcommittee.
Political analyst Ed Feigenbaum says the appointment of Mishler is a nod to geographic diversity – the last two committee chairs have come from the Indianapolis area.
“And it also sends a message to others within the caucus that there is a path to leadership through the ranks,” Feigenbaum says.
Political analyst John Ketzenberger says Misher will learn on the job the next couple of years – which potentially shifts some power to the House, whose budget architect Tim Brown has been in that position for years. But Ketzenberger says one of Mishler’s current roles, as Senate GOP caucus whip, will be a boost.
“In that role, he has to know what’s going on in the caucus. He has to know what the various members of that caucus are interested in, what they want,” he says. “And I think that’s important information for somebody who’s the head of Appropriations.”
Kenley had served as appropriations chairman since 2009 and was re-elected to a new term in November. He abruptly announced his retirement from the Legislature this month. It takes effect at the end of September.
Long says Mishler’s work developing the state’s school funding formula has demonstrated he has “the acumen, skills and temperament” needed to take on the difficult position.
Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith contributed to this report.