New Year’s is a wonderful time of year. This past holiday season as I watched my grandchildren open gifts I found myself thinking that it seems like just yesterday that my children were that age. The older I get the more I appreciate every year that passes. This past year was very busy, not only for me - but for Indiana as well.
Over the past year our state was ranked as a top five state for doing business and one of nine states to retain AAA credit score from all the major credit rating agencies. I am proud of all of these accomplishments, and I remain humbled to help in the process of moving the Hoosier state forward.
Major steps were taken this year in regards to education. We were able to invest in early education and designated $2 million to fund a preschool matching grant program that will make scholarships available for low-income Hoosier families. Also, $300 million in funds were set aside in the Tuition Reserve Fund to protect schools in case the economy slows.
At the higher education level, Indiana lowered college cost for veterans and made tuition at state colleges and universities more affordable by granting in-state tuition rates to honorably discharged veterans and Indiana National Guard members. The Indiana Career Council was created in a bipartisan effort to coordinate participants in the state’s educational, job skills and career training systems to address the “skills gap.”
This past session, I had an opportunity to author, co-author and co-sponsor a total of 13 bills that became law. One of them dealt with resident tuition rates. The bill grandfathered students who were already enrolled in the state’s public colleges to continue receiving in-state tuition. It did not extend eligibility forward to new students.
Our goal is to make success possible for everyone, and it starts with having a great education. We will continue to work to align our education system and job skill development with available jobs so that Hoosiers can overcome any obstacle life throws at them as we work towards building a brighter future.
The New Year will bring new opportunities and challenges. I look forward to facing them both head on with the mindset that Indiana can accomplish anything if we work together. As always, I am interested in hearing your thoughts, questions or concerns. I firmly believe that an engaged citizenry creates better public policy and a stronger democratic system, so please visitwww.in.gov/legislative, or feel free to email me atH22@iga.in.gov or call 317-232-9619.