Area legislators spearheading new law to spur regional growth

Area legislators spearheading new law to spur regional growth

Posted by: Jake Thompson  | Monday, April 5, 2021

STATEHOUSE (April 1, 2021) – A bill that would spur growth in Northeastern Indiana is headed to the governor where it could soon be law, according to local lawmakers championing the legislation.

Lead author State Rep. Dave Heine (R-Fort Wayne) said House Enrolled Act 1238 would establish a Northeast Indiana Strategic Development Commission with the objective of attracting talent and skilling-up Hoosiers to meet the needs of area employers.  

"This commission will focus on driving dollars to the area to educate our workforce, promote regional job growth and entice more businesses to locate to Northeast Indiana," Heine said. "We are going to make sure our communities take full advantage of effective programs and additional funding so we prosper."

Senate sponsor State Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) said the newly formed 11-member commission would work together to develop and implement plans and policies driving up personal income and population growth in Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties.  

"Approaching this from a regional standpoint will benefit the area as a whole," Holdman said. "Our corner of the state is strategically positioned and ripe for growth, and our coordinated efforts will strengthen local economies and drive development."

The commission would include three members appointed by the governor, one Republican and one Democrat member from the Indiana House of Representatives, one Republican and one Democrat member from the Indiana State Senate, and two members selected by the Mayors and Commissioners Caucus of Northeast Indiana. The chief executive officer of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and president of the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana would serve as nonvoting members.

According to co-author State Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne), they will work together to secure and disburse grant funding, loans and other forms of financial assistance to meet the needs of area businesses, and increase postsecondary education and credentials for working Hoosiers in the 11-county area.  

"The state offers free training programs so Hoosiers can skill up and earn credentials for in-demand, high-paying jobs," Lehman said. "Those living in Northeast Indiana need to be taking advantage of these opportunities, and employers need to know that there are hardworking Hoosiers in our communities who are ready and able to fill open positions."

State Sen. Liz Brown (R- Fort Wayne), sponsor of the bill, said forming a regional development commission would make Northeast Indiana stand out among other areas of the state competing for growth.

House Enrolled Act 1238 is now eligible to be signed into law by the governor. If enacted, the commission's first strategic plan would be completed by Sept. 30, 2021. For more information, visit iga.in.gov.

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State Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne) represents Senate District 15,

which includes a portion of Allen County.

Click here for a high-resolution photo of Brown.

 

State Rep. Dave Heine (R-Fort Wayne) represents House District 85,
which includes a portion of Allen County.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

 

State Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) represents Senate District 19,

which includes all or portions of Adams, Blackford, Grant, Huntington, Jay and Wells counties.

Click here for a high-resolution photo of Holdman.

 

State Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne) represents House District 79,

which includes all of Adams County and portions of Allen and Wells counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

CAPTION: State Rep. Dave Heine (R-Fort Wayne) explains to the Indiana House of Representatives how his legislation would drive local economic growth by establishing a Northeast Indiana Strategic Development Commission Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, in the House Chamber in Indiana Government Center South in Indianapolis. The bill is now eligible to be signed into law by the governor.