A new session of the Indiana General Assembly began this month. The House Republicans have identified a productive agenda for 2015 focusing on accountability to all Hoosiers and improving Indiana in four major areas: passing a balanced budget, strengthening education, increasing transparency and supporting public safety initiatives.
Indiana operates on a biennial budget that is passed during odd-numbered years. The budget impacts nearly every aspect of the state, which means we will be spending much of our time focused on passing an honestly balanced budget that is fiscally responsible. My goal is to work with my colleagues to help pass a budget that maintains sufficient reserves and a healthy surplus without raising taxes on hardworking Hoosiers. Indiana has a proven track record of fiscal integrity, and I will work hard to continue that tradition this session.
In addition to the budget, I will continue to make education a top priority this session. Almost two-thirds of Indiana’s budget is devoted to funding pre-K, K-12 and higher education. Last year, the General Assembly passed legislation to establish a preschool pilot program for low-income families. This year, our goal is to address the inequities of the funding formula and find innovative solutions to provide the highest quality education system for all Hoosier children.
Strengthening government transparency is another priority this session. As your representatives, we are accountable to you, and we feel the weight of your trust. This year we will build on past initiatives, such as live-streaming session and committee meetings online. The public’s trust is essential to democracy, and it is our goal to safeguard it.
Our final agenda priority is public safety. Indiana is ranked 45th in the nation for our infant mortality rate. In addition, over 1,500 domestic violence victims in Indiana could not find shelter last year because of overcapacity. As a former Blackford County Sheriff, I have seen firsthand the consequences of domestic violence in our community. It is important that we keep our community safe, and I am committed to working toward that goal. During this session, we will work to provide resources and solutions that support new and expectant mothers and victims of domestic violence.
Governor Pence recently delivered the State of the State address. He encouraged us all to continue working toward the goals I just mentioned, and he reminded us of the strength of Indiana. He also reminded us that Indiana has never been stronger, not because of our government in Indianapolis, but because of people like you. You are the reason Indiana is succeeding, and I look forward to serving you this session.
I am honored to be your representative in Indianapolis, and I encourage you to get involved this session. A great way for students to get involved with the legislative process is through the page program. Every year, the Indiana House offers this opportunity, which allows students to see firsthand how the legislative process works and get personally involved. I highly encourage any student ages 13-18 to take advantage of this program. More information can be found on our website, www.indianahouserepublicans.com, which the House Republicans recently launched. On the website you can also track legislation, watch session online and access constituent resources. It is our hope that this website will allow you to become more engaged in the legislative process.
I encourage you to contact me with any questions or concerns. You can reach me at 317-232-9509 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rep. Mahan represents portions of Blackford, Delaware, Grant and Wells counties. He serves as Chairman of the Government and Regulatory Reform Committee. He also serves on the Family, Children and Human Affairs; and Insurance Committees.