As a lifelong resident of southern Indiana and father of four, I understand the importance that public safety has in our community. While Indiana continues to be a leader economically, we also need to focus our attention on areas of the state that we need to improve, like public safety.
I was heartbroken to learn that our state ranks 4th in the nation for most officers killed in the line of duty, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Indiana State Police claimed that, last year, Indiana had the highest number of meth labs seized which, unfortunately, is a growing concern for parts of southern Indiana. Hoosiers families deserve to feel safe in their homes, at public parks and in their communities which is why I am pleased that the House Republicans will work to address these and other public safety issues next session.
One of our solutions is to provide more resources to local governments so that they can better address the concerns specific to their area. For southern Indiana, that might mean more resources to address the high infant mortality rate.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana is 45th in the country for having the highest infant mortality rate (IMR). Shockingly, we learned that one baby dies every 13 hours in our state. In Perry County alone, over 30 percent of mothers reported smoking during their pregnancy; 34 percent in Crawford County. These statistics are appalling and unacceptable –all life is precious and worth protecting, especially new born babies.
The health of an infant is directly affected by the environment in which they live, including the care provided by the parents. Their health correlates with their caregiver’s overall health during pregnancy as well as their access to quality healthcare services. The leading cause of infant death stems from disorders related to shortened pregnancy, low birth weight, smoking, diabetes and addiction.
Part of our agenda is to address the issue of infant mortality by providing more support to new and expecting mothers. One of our solutions is to find ways to get at-risk new and expectant mothers in- touch with a doctor at the beginning of their pregnancy.
These are just a couple of public safety concerns that we plan to address next session, which will safeguard families and ensure safer communities are and families. For more information on the 2015 House Republican Legislative Agenda, please visit http://www.iga.in.gov.
As a father and a state representative, I know that these are pressing matters, and I look forward to working on legislation to combat these issues, making Indiana a better place to live, work and raise a family.